Written by Kristen Gramigna of BluePay
In order to dominate mobile ecommerce you must know what your customers want.
Fast and easy are two staples of any online experience, but smartphones and tablets are much different than desktops and laptops. The popularity of mobile ecommerce is growing and the transition is already taking place. For example, the technology and research firm comScore reported $5.8 billion in mobile commerce in Q3 2013—up 26 percent from Q3 2012.
The statistics for mobile ecommerce should be all the evidence you need to hop on this swelling wave of the future. Mobile is rising, and unless you start now, the surge may come crashing down on your business while your competition coasts to record-setting sales.
Here are five best practices for mobile ecommerce:
Switch to Responsive Design
Nobody likes pinching and spreading their smartphone or tablet screens to focus in and out. Trying to view an image or click a tiny link can become infuriating and ultimately lead to abandonment. Responsive design is the perfect antidote for these problems because it optimizes your site for whatever device the user is visiting on; thus ending the squinting and pinching days of old.
The importance of responsive design has been discussed at length with the future of mobile spending at the forefront. All signs point to a huge increase in smartphone and tablet ecommerce by 2015. Start looking for vendors and design companies today and see who can overhaul your existing site into a responsive platform.
Make Search Easy
When a customer enters your website you want them to find their product as painlessly as possible. The search bar is the primary tool to accomplish this and should always be prominently fixed atop the page. The decision to place text in the box such as “Enter Keyword” or “Search” is up to you, as is offsetting the color to stand out against the overall theme of the website.
Site-wide navigation is also important and can be used in conjunction with search. If you need to sacrifice the search bar for the customer cart or menu options, simply use the universal magnifying glass icon to guide the user to the search option. Another helpful search feature is suggested search results, which display potential matches after only typing in a few characters.
Make Forms Easier
When it comes to mobile ecommerce forms, “less is more” could not be more appropriate. Unlike desktops or laptops with mice and keyboards, forms are a daunting task for mobile customers. The only way to reduce the chore of typing on a smartphone or tablet is to only require the bare essentials.
Name, email, phone number, shipping information and payment information is all you need to complete the transaction. Eliminate any requests for retyping and unnecessary personal information such as day and evening phone numbers. Large buttons will help users easily move onto the next stage of the form.
Offer Payment Options
Some mobile customers remain leery about entering debit or credit card information, so you should offer options to complete the sale. Trusted and recognizable services like PayPal and Google Wallet give your customer the choice to log in and use their previously saved card or bank account information. This will also allow them to track their spending more easily.
There are top-notch ecommerce credit card processing companies who can provide integrated and customizable solutions for your business. Secure ecommerce payment gateways are a necessity as well as full PCI data security compliance. Be sure to research processing companies with low rates and fast account verification.
Display Checkout Progress
Once your customer begins to enter their personal payment and shipping information, you must clearly display where they are in the process. A simple and effective way to do this is to place a progress bar across the top of the checkout pages. As the customer goes along each individual page, it will let them know they have progressed to Billing, Shipping, Review Order and Receipt, for example.
A smooth checkout is the easiest way to guarantee—or lose—a sale. The customer has already decided to give you their money, so the process should be fast and easy. If they become confused and start hitting the Back button, they may have to reenter information into a long form and, out of frustration, choose to abandon the sale. The number of checkout pages and steps will depend on your business, but every customer-oriented ecommerce company should offer a checkout progress bar.
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a provider of ecommerce payment processing. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to the company and also serves on its Board of Directors. You can follow BluePay on Twitter.