By Shaun White, Senior Product Manager
As mobile devices continue to rise, they play a key role in customer interactions, specifically within commerce. According to Juniper Research, mobile retail sales are expected to exceed $700 billion annually by 2018. While the user experience and customer-facing tools, such as responsive websites, have evolved as a direct result of the increased transactions within mobile, consumers still have concerns with mobile commerce especially as it relates to safety and security, connectivity and experience.
Consumers continue to look for visually appealing online shopping experiences. Here are a few ideas retailers should consider when creating a mobile shopping experience:
- Think Mobile First – Most consumers quickly scan through the elements on a retailer’s home page to get an idea of what is offered, making it critical to keep the mobile user in mind when designing the site, rather than try to fit all of the information from the desktop experience into the mobile experience. Pay close attention to outdated items such as automatic carousels and focus on having a static image with a clear action plan for the purchaser.
- Customize UI Drop-Down Menus for Better Navigation – Make navigation easy for the purchaser to focus on their options, especially if there are a significant amount of product categories. As an example, Best Buy previously showcased a native UI drop-down menu on its mobile site. Most consumers likely found it difficult to scroll through, scan and compare the available options, because only half of the screen was used to display the available navigation options. The current Best Buy mobile website employs a custom UI drop-down to provide consumers a better overview of their options. For example, when a consumer clicks on a particular category, say ‘Deal of the Day, it loads a new page, instead of displaying it in a small dialog box.
- Make the UI Intuitive – A mobile device presents retailers with less real estate on a screen, making navigating and clicking on the appropriate elements tricky. Focus on making the experience touch-friendly, by ensuring there is sufficient space between the various touch elements. Mobile platforms provide guidelines on the size of touch targets to be used, so retailers should spend time referencing these guidelines when making design decisions.
- Keep Pages Short and Sweet – Aim to keep the content on the page short and set a large font size to help purchasers better consume your content, making the scanning of pages much simpler. Mobile browsers will not load the web pages as fast as a desktop browser, so optimizing the content and the website for high speed content loading is a must.
- Consider a Responsive Experience –A responsive design is all about creating similar experience for the purchaser regardless of the device screen size. A site that has been implemented utilizing responsive design will respond to the purchaser’s screen resolution. As an example, imagine you are browsing a website on your Mac and decide to run an errand. You know decide to pick up where you left off browsing on your smartphone; the website will now respond to your smartphone and show content formatted for the smaller screen size. Want to see this in action? Check out some of these sites on your desktop, smartphone and tablet.
Mobile commerce brings along numerous opportunities for retailers, but also presents challenges, as consumers demand a seamless experience. In fact, a recent report shows that 57 percent of site visitors will abandon a Web page after just three seconds if they’re unable to interact with the key content.
As retailers think through the shopper’s digital purchase path, digital gift cards should be top of mind. According to RSR’s most recent Digital Gifting Benchmark Study, retailers need to deliver consistent experiences – from desktop to mobile – as consumers look for integration across channels and mobile-optimized purchases on both mobile Web and within mobile apps. By ensuring a positive and frictionless experiences on mobile, retailers have the chance to distinguish themselves from their competitors and grab a share of this billion dollar market.