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October 28th, 2013

6 tips to succeed in Mobile Commerce

Mobile commerce is growing at a rate surpassing almost every forecast over the past 2 years and we are confident this will continue for the foreseeable future. So far customers have been willing to go through a lot of trouble to purchase goods and services through the mobile since choice was limited. This is changing however and the winners in mobile commerce will be those who provide the best user experience. Here are our top 6 tips to succeed in mobile commerce whether you are starting today or want to enhance your existing mobile commerce approach.

1. Mobile web or App?
Knife or fork? The simple answer is that most brands benefit from having both although step 1 should always be to get a mobile website in place. All leading commerce players including Amazon, eBay, Fab.com, Wallmart, Net-a-porter and so on combine mobile web and mobile apps to provide the best user experience. Most of them also make a huge effort to promote their apps through all channels. The reason for this is simply that the app users in average generate considerably higher revenue thanks to frequency of use.

2. Think Mobile First
DON’t even consider using your existing mobile commerce website as the starting point for mobile. Always start by putting the mobile users first. Who are they? How will they enter the service? Where will they be at the time? When and how will they shop? What do they usually want? Identify the limitations as well as the opportunities. Then design the user experience and system architecture with mobile first in mind. Ideally utilise a User Centred design process. In most cases this will also end up improving your desktop web experience as well.

3. Simplify but don’t limit
This is one of the greatest challenges with mobile commerce design. Mobile services shall be designed with simplicity and performance in mind while at the same time customers expect the same functionality as on the desktop. Focus on simplifying the user experience for the use cases that are most common but make sure all additional functionality that customers would expect on the web are also available. Many mobile commerce sites are so limited that customers prefer to use the desktop version even if it’s much slower and more cumbersome.

4. Reducing the payment barrier
Many mobile commerce sites have made a great effort presenting the products and services and making it simple to add a product to the basket but when you go to check-out it all breaks down. Use a Payment Service Provider (or several) that allows you to reduce the barriers for mobile. Use social login to capture user data, enable the payment process to work with sketchy network coverage, make it easy to save user data for future use and to recover a lost user name or password. Look at companies powered by Braintree and Paypal (recently acquired Braintree) for a best practice user experience.

5. Analytics
To be able to improve the service we need understand how customers are using the service today. Look at the top user flows through the website or app, click-through rates and fall-off rates between pages, understand behaviour differences between web and mobile or mobile web and app and more. The key to analytics is to plan for logging and reporting to be implemented from the start.

6. Improve, improve and improve
You will never get everything right from the start so plan for a roadmap with ongoing improvements. Perform customer testing if you didn’t have time during development. Use analytics to understand usage behaviour and deficiencies. If you are uncertain about an improvement then utilise AB-testing to find out what works best. Listen, improve and evaluate.

This is by no means the only things you need to do to succeed with your mobile commerce strategy. Other key tips that we describe further in future blogs include delivering a personalised user experience, weekly/monthly customer engagement through alerts and newsletters, provide help to users where needed, etc. But first start by getting the basics right and grow your mobile commerce strategy.

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