It is now widely accepted that for any business to forge a well-rounded mCommerce strategy it must have a website that is compatible for mobile browsing. We have previously looked at how mCommerce can attract customers either as its own entity or as part of a wider consumer journey. As the role of mobile expands, it is now clear that businesses need to move on from the idea of making websites that will ‘make do’ for mobile browsing and look to create sites that are specifically designed around the UX needs of mobile users.
The amount of time mobile users spend online using a browser app has increased from 14 minutes in 2011 to 25 minute as of this year, and is predicted to rise again in 2017. Although it is still worth noting that time spent online using apps was a far superior 1 hour and 49 minutes this year, the reason that mobile users utilise apps is very different.
Only 3% of the time mobile users spend using apps is related to retail, which means that any retailers looking to take advantage in the sharp rise in mCommerce should be wary of creating an app. Just three of the most downloaded apps in the UK in 2016 are mCommerce sites (Wish, Amazon and Uber) and this highlights that consumers are generally more interested in apps that offer games or social media.
App development can also be very costly and doesn’t offer users the immediacy of a website due to download time, not to mention that the app will be competing for storage space on the device. For this reason it makes more sense to direct mCommerce efforts toward a website, and it is therefore crucial that mCommerce sites are properly designed and optimised.
How Can You Optimise A Mobile Site?
Getting a clear understanding of purchase intent is important when optimising a website for mobile browsing, and the crux is creating a distinction from the desktop site. This is why cross-device tracking and attribution is so important as it will allow a better understanding of what consumers are using a website for. A user that apparently abandons a cart on a mobile site may have actually used the site to research a product before completing the purchase on another device later, and therefore it is essential that the complete purchase journey is accounted for.
Despite the fact that an average of 170 minutes are spent using a mobile device every day only 39% of purchases are completed on mobile devices. This indicates that while many users may visit sites on their mobile, many purchases are completed at another point on a tablet or desktop.
What Are The Different Means Of Optimising A Mobile Site?
A good example of a website embracing this functionality is Rightmove. The mobile-optimised version of its website has some similar features to the desktop site but importantly has a lot of the extra detail stripped away, placing the needs of mobile users at its forefront. When searching for a property, the exact details of listing are hidden – unlike on the desktop site – and users are instead given prompts to either contact the letter or save the property to their profile. This move recognises that visitors to the website are unlikely to make a decision on a property while browsing on a mobile but allows the user to continue the session on a different device.
Other mobile sites look to go the opposite way and streamline the purchase journey for customers looking to buy very quickly. The mobile site for National Rail Enquiries removes its additional offers and blog content from the desktop site to focus on ticket purchasing. Some mobile websites split the difference and recognise that their customers may use the website for a variety of reasons. Etsy and Amazon have mobile sites that allow users to make quick purchases or browse products to view later, and this dual-function is part of the reason for the success of both mobile sites. However, it is worth considering that perfecting this type of mobile site is tricky and requires extensive layering of information that will inevitably require a large investment of time and resources.
All of these approaches have merit and it should be stressed that when creating a mobile site it is easy to get dragged into the overly-technical functions of the site. Whilst adhering to some guidelines such as optimised site speed and load time, it is important to consider what function the site will serve for consumers. Creating the mobile site should fall under the remit of marketing strategy rather than marketing tactics and consequently it doesn’t have to be the point of purchase to play a valuable role in the purchase journey.
When creating a mobile-optimised website, the most salient point to consider is that it is a fundamentally different medium from its desktop counterpart. Formatting the elements of a page to appear on a mobile screen is only half of the journey towards fully optimising for the platform and any businesses serious about mCommerce will need to be aware of this difference. Developing an understanding of why a consumer has looked for a particular product in a given moment may take time but will ultimately bestow an invaluable picture of purchase journey nexus.
Do you have a mobile-optimised website? Which strategy have you employed? Let us know in the comments section or get in touch with us on social media.