Mobile devices are, of course, portable, and there are different situations in which customers will use it to access your website. This is the context.
There are also different reasons why they might want to use it, the intention.
The more a retailer knows about a visitor’s intention and the context of their visit, the better they are able to offer the most relevant content, offers and services to meet their goals.
According to Ronan Cremin of DeviceAtlas, very few sites ‘do anything meaningful with mobile contextual information’:
“Apart from the really obvious one (location) there are other possibilities like detecting if a user is literally on the move or not (accelerometer), is the battery low etc. etc.
One important point about all of these contextual cues is to use them as hints rather than hard deciding factors because the cost of getting things wrong based on an incorrect assumption is high.”
5. Reducing friction
Mobile usability can be a challenge with a smaller screen, variable mobile internet speeds and forms to complete.
Making the process as smooth as possible has to be the goal for retailers.
Typical friction points are product searches, form filling and payment entry, and delivery selection.
The answer, as is so often the case, is to learn from user behaviour and to test and improve the site on a continuous basis.
6. Anticipate customer desires and concerns
Entering into a new financial relationship is always going to involve a degree of unease for the customer, particularly so when this occurs remotely.
Making a purchase from a vendor you haven’t dealt with before (on this platform) necessarily involves an element of form-filling, which is an inconvenience at any time, but can be particularly tedious on a mobile device.
One of the most important roles of the web designer and UX designer is to make the purchase/form-filling process as easy, carefree and frictionless as possible.
This is done by minimising what is required of the customer, while justifying what is necessary. Get it right and you stand to win a loyal customer, get it wrong and you could lose the sale and the customer.
7. Cross- platform brand and identity
Brand identity is important. It can be what makes people recognise, identify with, be loyal to, trust and shop from your store.
In a homogenous digital space, there is a huge opportunity to differentiate from the masses based on real- world credibility. Independents can’t compete with the big boys on price, but they can compete on identity and service. This should resonate through the design of the both PC and mobile web presence.
8. Express your physical- world expertise online
Let’s use the example of Piccadilly Records here, an independent retailer whose expertise sets it apart from bigger rivals.
This is demonstrated by features such as staff picks. As report author Andy Favell says:
“The noteworthy aspect to the site is the Staff Picks recommendations. The beauty of the independent record store is that they are staffed by music obsessives, who love to give advice to lesser mortals. Piccadilly has successfully migrated this expertise from the physical to the digital world.”
9. Multichannel convenience
A mobile presence shouldn’t be a silo. Customers expect the same products, service and prices whatever the channel.
There is a lot of behind the scenes integration required to make this happen, but the reward are there if retailers can offer a true multichannel service.
One such offering is click and collect, which joins up online and offline channels, and provides a convenient option for customers.
Walmart is great here, displaying its collect in store services prominently on its mobile site.
It also offers convenient returns, meaning customers can return items purchased online to a local store if they prefer.
10. Cross- platform conversion
Customers will regularly switch between mobile, online and physical locations during the product research and buying process.
This causes issues for both the customer – who has to recall the products of interest – and the retailer, who a) doesn’t wish to lose the sale to a rival, or b) wants to understand which channels contributed to the purchase.
Some on-site features can help to achieve this link between channels. These include:
- Click and collect.
- In-store ordering for home delivery.
- Saving items for later.
The customer doesn’t distinguish between a retailer’s various digital platforms, or physical stores, if available. The customer journey is proven to be highly fragmented, with customers often interacting and engaging on multiple channels before a purchase is made.
Retailers need to stop trying to account for each channel separately and instead look to support the user as they move between channels.
Here’s an example from Very. Mobile users can save an item for later, and then pick up where they left of on desktop, or vice versa.
11. Usability and mobile-friendliness
An m-commerce site is there to sell products and, while conversion rates may often be lower than on desktop, a well-designed site should perform well.
There are two aspects to this:
- How easy it is to use the website or web app on a mobile device?
- How easy it is for the mobile user to complete their task?
The answer, as before, is to comprehensively test mobile usability and to continuously look to improve.
The size of mobile pages and the speed at which they download is arguably as important to mobile users as mobile-friendliness.
The new report, DNA of a Great M-Commerce Site Part 2: The 12 Pillars of Mobile Design, looks at each of this pillars in great detail, containing tips for improvement, and contributions from Home Depot, Somo and more.
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Author: Graham Charlton