Mobile has become one of the most important channels in retail. 30% of US ecommerce transactions are done on a mobile. For many consumers, mobile devices are their main tool for discovering, browsing, purchasing, and engaging with brands.
The challenge for SMBs is that leveraging mobile can be quite costly. There is a range of marketing and ecommerce tools that any online retailer would kill to have – but not everyone has the marketing budget.
Broadly speaking there are two main avenues SMBs can take when it comes to mobile: an app or a mobile website. There are advantages and disadvantages to both methods, and the ideal approach largely depends on your particular business.
Here’s our guide for SMBs on how to get the most out of the mobile channel without exhausting your resources in the process.
Mobile apps can have a number of potential benefits for SMBs; they can help to increase sales, improve customer service and experience, and get a leg up on the competition. Perhaps that’s why 81% of small business owners say they’re planning on spending more on technology in 2016.
There are a number of pros to a mobile app. For instance, apps can be integrated with loyalty programs and coupons. This is a win-win because customers can take advantage of discounts and promotions while retailers drive more sales. Apps also provide retailers with access to some hugely valuable customer information such as their profile and transaction history. Additionally, retail apps allow users to store their information in their smartphone and checkout faster on repeat purchases.
Retailers can look into creating their own apps (without the need for technical knowledge) with the help of sites such as Bizness Apps.
Mobile Web Platform
Your website should be mobile responsive at a minimum, but retailers can go a step further and use a mobile web platform to create fully tailored and mobile-optimized shopping experience. Mobile web platforms are a collection of technologies that allow retailers to build an experience specifically for mobile browsers – not mobile applications or desktop browsers. Two popular mobile web platform providers today include Mobify and Moovweb.
The benefit of a mobile web platform is that it is optimized for mobile devices with a streamlined and customer friendly user experience. From product discovery to checkout, the entire process is optimized for the particular mobile device being used. A convenient aspect of mobile web platforms is that they don’t require retailers to make changes to their desktop site in order to have a mobile-optimized experience.
Providing customers with promotions via push notification and SMS messages is one of the biggest advantages of mobile. That’s because retailers can use data from mobile devices to offer personalized and contextually relevant promotions and purchasing opportunities that help to drive sales and engagement. In fact, click through rates for push notifications have been shown to reach up to 40%. Two solutions that are appropriate for SMBs include 3seventy and Roost.
While push notifications are normally delivered through a mobile app, retailers without an app can use website push notifications as an effective substitute. Website push notifications work just like app notifications and can be sent both while the user is on-site as well as when they are off-site.
Mobile Friendly Payments
You work hard to get browsers to become buyers, so make sure you’re converting as many mobile shoppers as possible. The payment process is often under appreciated for its impact on the mobile shopping experience, but it’s the last barrier keeping shoppers from becoming your happy customers and a major source of checkout friction.
One way retailers can overcome this issue is by offering a mobile friendly payment method that cuts down on the amount customers have to type in order to complete a purchase.
P.S. Enjoy this post? You’ll love Ecommerce Trends to Watch in 2016 and Are Wearables the Key to Unlocking Mobile Payments?