The emergence of smartphones completely changed the world of ecommerce. Suddenly people had the power of the internet at their fingertips; they could shop from anywhere, faster than ever before. Ecommerce had to reinvent itself, and mobile commerce is growing.
So too is the technology driving that growth. Apps are more advanced than ever, and machine learning is delivering personalized shopping experiences that would have been impossible a decade ago. Years of technology advances have been experienced in mere months, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated the next big step. A revolution in mobile technology among retailers is within sight.
To be ready for what comes next, online retailers can take a page from those that adapted and grew with the initial shift to a mobile-friendly shopping world. Creating a shopping platform that engages with mobile shoppers, delivers an efficient and optimized experience and puts mobile shoppers at the forefront of design decisions will be essential as the world of ecommerce continues to evolve.
However, simply shifting online shops to a mobile-friendly focus will not be enough. Mobile design, attention-span considerations, ease of use, machine learning advances and new technologies will challenge the complacent. Early adopters of mobile design thinking and convenient and emerging technologies like 1-click shopping will be among those best prepared for the next major transformation in online shopping.
An Optimized Shop is a Successful Shop
If we learned anything from the pandemic in the ecommerce space, it’s that mobile KPIs are performing significantly worse than desktop KPIs. Right now, most online shopping experiences are designed for desktop shoppers. In a world gone mobile, with everyone addicted to their smartphones, this ignores a potentially broad audience of shoppers. At the very least, it makes it harder for customers to engage with a brand and creates a frustrating shopping experience.
To close the KPI gap, merchants must forget the idea that a mobile shop is just a smaller version of the desktop shop. Mobile commerce is made up of an entirely new kind of customer who should be marketed to accordingly. These customers have different expectations when it comes to their shopping experience compared to desktop users. The mobile shopping experience needs to be customized, with more emphasis on developing a mobile functionality that directly responds to shoppers and personalizes the experience.
As mobile commerce has evolved, we have seen many larger retailers successfully embrace mobile shopping as a standalone focus compared to traditional online retail. Amazon, a pioneer in the space, has presented fantastic examples of how mobile shopping should be fully embraced. That said, mobile shopping best practices are far from established. Merchants need to be prepared to experiment with their mobile platforms as new technologies and new information becomes available.
When Shopping on the Go, Attention is Everything
On average, mobile shopping session lengths are 50% shorter than on a desktop. As a result, mobile revenues are lower when compared to desktop. There is less time to engage with customers and less time to grab their attention. This trend can be combatted through developing mobile-focused platforms, but merchants also have to be ready to cope with shrinking attention spans as part of this new normal.
With shorter attention spans come smaller windows of opportunity. We are quickly approaching a point where traditional marketing tactics and design choices will not be enough. Online merchants cannot afford to waste a single second of the shopping session, and will need to employ every tool available to streamline the shopping experience and drive customers to the products they want.
Fortunately, machine learning offers tools to deliver customized shopping experiences to mobile shoppers. Product recommendation functionalities for each point in the online shopping experience, not just checkout, and customer data collection are becoming must-haves for online shopping. The sooner merchants adopt these tools the faster they will see their Revenue Per Visitor (RVP) rise.
Mobile Devices are Personal — Shopping Should Be Too
With machine learning and the growing accessibility of data, treating every customer the same is a mistake. More than ever, marketers can deliver relevant offers to customers based on a specific shopper’s preferences, location and needs. Unfortunately, less than 10% of all sites are using any kind of personalization solution.
The next mobile revolution will be a personal one. Customers will have a shopping experience that is unique to them. Eventually this experience will grow into an expectation, and any online shop not delivering on that expectation will risk being viewed as impersonal and disconnected from the needs of the modern shopper.
There is a positive that comes with this growing demand for personalization. By keeping personalized shopping experiences as a top priority, merchants can develop a perception of being efficient, optimized and committed to their customers. This is similar to the traditional perception of a salesperson adding a personal touch to shopping, only now it is powered by AI and machine learning. By adopting these tools, merchants will be viewed as a resource for mobile shoppers, while simultaneously catering their platform to the needs of their customers. A win-win.
Don’t Forget Checkout
When designing an online shop ready for the next mobile revolution, a focus on mobile will need to extend beyond the store page. Customers want to pay for their products quickly, efficiently and securely. Today, wallet payment options like Apple Pay, Google Wallet and PayPal are streamlining the buying process, and there is little reason to not adopt similar tools to streamline checkout.
Right now, roughly 20% of online shops use some form of wallet payment. That means 80% still require customers to enter their payment information at checkout; a tedious process for anyone shopping on the go. With a wallet payment option, merchants not only guide customers around this unpleasant part of the shopping experience, they also speed up the buying process, thus remaining within their customer’s ever-shrinking window of attention.
While we can’t be sure of every change that will come with the next mobile revolution, we can be sure it is coming, and soon. Embracing new technologies to improve the mobile shopping experience and keeping mobile shoppers at the forefront of our strategies will ensure merchants are ready for that revolution when it comes.
Zee Aganovic is CEO of HiConversion, an eCommerce Intelligence™ provider that uses AI to personalize and grow eCommerce businesses. A serial technology entrepreneur, Aganovic thrives on solving onerous real-life problems through innovative technology.