12 min. read
Online shopping is on the road to triumph over offline shopping as more people reach for their mobile devices to make a purchase.
It doesn't even show any signs of slowing down.
Here are some statistics to support these claims
In 2016, mobile commerce sales reached $1 trillion. By 2021, that number is predicted to reach $3.56 trillion.
In 2019, the number of mobile users reached 5.1 billion, and this number will only grow.
Apart from mobile users, the total time spent on mobile devices has also been on the rise. In 2019, the average US adult spent 3 hours and 43 minutes every day on a mobile device, compared to watching TV, which came in at 3 hours and 35 minutes.
Some predictions say that 73% of eCommerce sales will be made on mobile devices by the end of 2021.
Businesses worldwide have been tuning in to these statistics. They have been following the growing trend of mobile usage and have made the mobile experience one of their top customer engagement priorities.
In this post, we'll dive into the topic of m-commerce, and look at its biggest benefits and some of its downfalls. You'll learn the importance of speed for mobile commerce and discover a few tips for improving the mobile experience.
Let's jump right into it.
Mobile commerce, or m-commerce, refers to the selling and purchasing of products and services using devices such as smartphones and tablets.
M-commerce gives customers access to online shopping platforms without the need for a laptop or desktop computer. Whether you're commuting to work or relaxing on your sofa, you can easily make an e-commerce purchase with just a few clicks on your phone.
Some examples of m-commerce include:
virtual marketplace apps like the Amazon mobile app
digital wallets like Android Pay and Apple Pay
eCommerce and m-commerce are similar and different at the same time.
As we said earlier, m-commerce is the purchasing and selling of products and services using wireless handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets. eCommerce, on the other hand, is a business model in which commercial transactions happen online.
In a nutshell, m-commerce is a part of eCommerce.
eCommerce is used to explain any type of online commerce, including using laptops, mobile phones, and tablets.
M-commerce, on the other hand, indicates making transactions using a mobile device.
In other words, eCommerce covers m-commerce, with the addition of laptop or desktop transactions
Seduced by the wide range of benefits, millions of businesses have been perfecting their m-commerce strategies.
Let's take a look at some of the most notable advantages of m-commerce that have attracted businesses:
A 2019 RetailMeNot study found that more customers engage with their mobile devices in-store than they approach retail associates. Around 58% of customers are using their mobile devices to look for similar products they're thinking about buying, and 55% are looking up product specifications.
Instead of retailers seeing this as a menace, they should use the opportunity to ensure their mobile websites and apps are expertly built to provide maximum convenience and usability for in-store and online customers.
A powerful mobile site or app can bring multiple benefits to a business, as 62% of shoppers are less likely to make a purchase from a brand in the future if they have had a negative mobile experience.
Providing consumers with a positive experience, whether they're shopping online or offline, can lead to more satisfied customers and higher conversion rates.
Roughly 66% of people say they use shopping apps on their mobile devices.
And with the COVID-19 pandemic now keeping millions of people at home, the time spent on mobile devices has considerably increased.
Experts believe that the long-lasting COVID-19 lockdowns worldwide will have a profound impact on people's digital habits. In fact, 36% of people have been spending more time on mobile apps.
Online shopping brings a great commodity and convenience. With the rising popularity of eCommerce apps and online shopping solutions, in addition to a greater number of mobile device users, many shoppers consider the lack of mobile shopping to be a dealbreaker.
In fact, 59% of shoppers think that mobile shopping is important when deciding which brand or retailer to buy from.
To attract more customers and avoid getting "stomped" by the competition, you should make sure you provide a seamless mobile shopping experience for your customers.
This means creating a mobile website or a mobile native app, ensuring that the platform you build has fast load times, offers a smooth checkout process, and allows multiple payment options.
Rarely anyone shops solely through one single medium. Consumers across all generations buy from physical stores, mobile apps, and marketplaces.
According to a survey by Harvard Business Review, out of 46,000 shoppers:
7% were web-only shoppers
20% were store-only shoppers
73% used multiple channels during their customer journey
A multi-channel shopping experience means offering a seamless customer experience, whether a customer is shopping from a mobile device, a laptop, or a brick-and-mortar store.
As Millennials and Gen Z become more and more comfortable with eCommerce, the most successful retailers have both a physical and digital presence.
The newer generations, mainly, are accustomed to speed, convenience, and a personalized online experience. In other words, if you want to reach the newer generations and convert them to paying customers, you'll have to give them the convenience of being able to shop from wherever they are, rapidly and with ease.
M-commerce lets retailers do just that. Thanks to m-commerce, retailers can now sell through a web store, a mobile app, marketplaces, or on social media.
Your physical store should also be optimized with mobile in mind. Make offline shopping more convenient for your customers by accepting mobile “contactless” payments like Apple Pay and Android Pay.
Regardless of where your customers are spending their time, shopping for your brand will be convenient, fast, and omnichannel, and with that, you'll manage to nurture more sales and engagement.
Mobile shopping has made comparing prices so much easier. Instead of going from store to store to check prices, now customers can get to this information with just a click of a button.
But this benefit can also be a disadvantage.
Armed with a mobile device, a customer can rapidly compare the prices and the shipping fees for a wide range of stores before finding the one that offers the most value. In other words, they may find a store that offers more affordable shipping costs and go there.
The best way to avoid losing customers due to comparing prices is to keep up with your competitors. If your competitors have an online store and sell vintage T-shirts for $30 apiece while you sell them for $45 apiece, consider price matching.
You can even go one step further and offer student discounts, free shipping, or complementary items to attract more customers.
How many times have you been online shopping only to get distracted by a Facebook notification or a message from a friend?
Mobile users often shop online while commuting to and from work or while talking on a phone.
With so many things happening in this fast-paced technology-driven world, people can get distracted very easily.
However, there are some ways to capture your customers' attention, even if they get an Instagram notification. For instance, you can:
Make your mobile site or app easy to use.
Surprise users with a discount.
Offer fast loading time.
Keep your app simple and clean.
Add attractive visual elements.
Use push notifications in a smart way.
Mobile shopping requires customers to give their sensitive information to the company they're purchasing from. In return, many people may feel skeptical about buying things online due to media stories, bad experiences with hackers and cyber attacks, or sheer paranoia.
You can convince customers to purchase from your site by:
Designing a website or app that instills credibility.
Displaying customer reviews.
Creating a recognized secure checkout such as McAfee, TrustE, or COMODO.
Google has always considered the speed of desktop versions of websites as a ranking factor. However, in 2018, it also started using a mobile-first index. That means that the ranking algorithm prefers mobile-friendly websites.
But how your site ranks in Google is not the only reason you should care about mobile page speed.
47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less.
40% will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
A 1s delay in mobile load times can impact mobile conversions by up to 20%.
In other words, people's expectations have also changed with the times. Whether a person is researching the best hiking boots or trying to find a great deal for a weekend getaway, faster and better digital experiences are deciding factors.
Despite these statistics, the average mobile webpage takes 15.3 seconds to load. For the modern consumer, that can feel like an eternity.
Let's imagine that you have an online market service. Your customers expect your mobile pages to load in less than three seconds (even faster if they're hungry). If your mobile pages are slow to load, they will abandon the site out of frustration with the risk of never coming back. In fact, if people have a negative experience on their mobile devices, they're 62% less likely to purchase from you in the future.
The lesson here is that speed matters, whether you have a mobile-friendly website or a mobile app.
You may be convinced that your mobile site loads just fine, but you may be wrong. You may be using a high-end smartphone on a WiFi connection, and a user may be accessing your site from a lower-quality device on a 3G connection. That's why you need to test your site speed first before moving on with anything else.
There are several tools you can use to test your site speed, including:
PageSpeedInsights: a Google tool that gives you a site speed grade and offers improvement suggestions for mobile and desktop speed. It also assesses your page to see if it follows any common performance best practices.
Pingdom: another tool that checks your page speed and provides suggestions on how to improve page performance. It's good to note that the free test doesn’t include an option for mobile-only.
Test My Site: this is another Google tool that tests mobile page speed. It shows you how long the page takes to load, how many visitors you can lose with that specific loading time, etc. If you feel comfortable leaving your details, you can get a more detailed report through an email.
Things change quite fast in today's world. Only a few years ago, the popular approach was that a site should have two versions, one for mobile and one for desktop.
However, today, responsive sites are preferred. When your site has responsive design, all of its pages can adapt to the screen of the user, whether they're logging in from their laptops, tablets, or mobile phones.
Even Google recommends responsive web design saying, "it's the easiest design pattern to implement and maintain."
On the plus side, by using a responsive design, you'll gain a massive SEO advantage as responsive designs load faster than mobile-only sites.
There's a popular saying that goes, less is more.
In the design realm, that saying holds true.
Maybe a decade ago, complex designs were trendy. Today, it's the opposite.
The overwhelming designs of the past have been replaced with minimalist designs - especially for mobile sites.
As mobiles have smaller screens, things can get crowded quickly, and users may find it challenging to navigate the site.
So, it would be best if you kept your pages nice and clean.
One way of doing so is by optimizing and reducing your images.
Did you know that images make up around 63% of a page’s "weight?"
If you have a large volume of unoptimized images, your website may, in return, slow down and frustrate your visitors.
There are two ways how you can fix this issue.
Reduce the number of images on each page.
Compress your images to reduce their size.
Minification is another great technique for improving mobile loading time.
In a nutshell, minification means removing any unnecessary code and leaving you only with the code that the site needs to operate.
Here's another fun fact: redirects slow down your site.
When you click on a normal link, the server immediately provides the document that's on that link.
But when there's a redirect, the server doesn't find a document at that link. It has to go to the page where the document lives and retrieve it.
By the time the server finds the document, your visitors may be long gone, probably to your competitor's site.
Both a mobile app and a mobile website come with a set of benefits.
A mobile app may seem like the logical option as it can lead to:
Higher customer engagement.
Streamlined sales process.
Personalized user experience.
On the other hand, a mobile website comes with an equal number of benefits, including:
Broader user reach.
Can’t be deleted from user devices.
So, is a mobile app or a mobile website the right choice for you?
The answer depends on your business objectives.
For example, if you're offering fitness classes, a mobile app seems a more suitable solution. If you want to provide mobile-friendly content to a broad audience, then a mobile website is better.
In other words, if you want to reach a new audience, go with a mobile website. If you want to strengthen the relationship with your existing customers, go with a mobile app. And if you want to do both, then create both an app and a mobile site.
There's a third option: Progressive Web Apps(PWAs). PWAs are a relatively new technology that has been adopted by big brands in recent years. Businesses like Pinterest, Starbucks, and The Financial Times have all built PWAs and experienced a significant increase in user engagement.
To put it in layman's terms, PWAs are the combination of mobile apps and websites that offer the best of two worlds.
Here are some of the reasons why many businesses feel tempted to go with this approach:
They work with every browser and on any device.
They can work both offline and on low-quality networks.
They can update themselves automatically.
They can be developed and deployed faster and for a lower price than regular mobile apps.
They support app-like features such as push notifications, background syncing, and being "added" to the home screen.
Again, whether PWAs are the right choice for your business will depend on your business objectives, not because everyone else is doing it. If you see value in developing a PWA for your business and your customers, then surely go for it.
Maybe it'll be a mobile app. Or perhaps you'll stick to a mobile website. Some of you may even go for a PWA.
Whichever form you choose, incorporating mobile commerce into your online sales strategy must happen if you want your business to survive.
We've said it before, and we'll say it again: if you don't do it, your competitors will.
Hopefully, this detailed post gave an idea of how vital m-commerce is for the business of the 21st century and its major benefits. Once you create your mobile site or app, don't forget to improve the mobile experience and ultimately impress your customers and search engines
As seen in