Tuesday, April 3, 2012

10 Reasons a Mobile Commerce Strategy is a must in 2012

For your eCommerce business, you are always looking for more sales.  It's like an easter egg hunt.  You pick through this bush, poke through that pine straw, continually foraging for an incremental conversion.  "OH! Look, there's 3 hiding in here!  Oh sweet! I found another."  It never stops.  It doesn't matter the amount of new business that comes from a new channel, if it adds even one, you do it. 

So it comes as a surprise to me that so many eCommerce companies haven't already jumped on the mobile bandwagon.  According to Nielson, 66% of Americans ages 24-35 own a smartphone.  Does that age range sound like your target market?  It shouldn't shock you either that people are using these mobile computers to make shopping decisions, look for coupons, visit their favorite sites and even make purchases.  

Now it's up to you whether you want a mobile commerce website or a full blown native ecommerce mobile application.  However, I will say that ideally you would have both and your app would simply be a native wrapper to your mobile site.  This will keep your cost lower and your maintenance easier.  

Still not convinced? Here are the top 10 reasons you should at least have a mobile shopping website, if not a full blown mobile shopping application, in your plans for 2012: 

  1. When your ecommerce site looks horrible on a mobile device, you look horrible.  Users hate broken things, it makes them feel like you don't care about their experience or want to put in the effort to win their business.  And there are people out there who are already doing it and doing it right, you're falling behind. 
  2. People are starting to use their phone to do searches they used to do on their computers.  Why?  Many people use their work computers as their only computer and don't want their IT departments snooping through their searches.  If your site isn't optimized for mobile, it's unlikely to show up. 
  3. Applications to purchase goods online that are "scanned" or found by a smartphone user are already on the market and will continue to eat into retailer's sales until they are countered. (Only applies to brick and mortars)
  4. Smartphone apps and websites are not a fad, they're here to stay.  Similar to how the original web ousted desktop applications for the mindshare of users daily computing, the mobile web and mobile applications are doing the same thing to the original web.  Think about it, are you going to run home and get on your computer to figure out if that dress was $60 or $70 at your favorite store or are you going to look it up on your phone?  Convenience trumps functionality, always. 
  5. Phone conversions are not the same sales.  You're going to capture new customers that you otherwise would have lost because they aren't searching for you on their computer. 
  6. You look more cutting edge, giving you a psychological advantage over your competitors.  They may not buy on the mobile, but the fact they were able to quickly check a product from their phone on your site will not leave them and will influence future purchasing decisions. 
  7. Mobile devices add a new dimension to the game, location.  Now, especially if you are brick and mortar, can target users based on their proximity to your services, or to establishments that are target rich for your types of customers.  This leads to higher conversion rates. 
  8. Consumers are using their phones to search for coupons while in a store.  They are primed to buy, otherwise they wouldn't be in a store.  But awesomely, they are looking on their phone for better deals.  If you aren't in position to be presented to this customer, you don't have any chance at these incremental sales. 
  9. It's and under-served market!  You could very well be the first one in your niche on the mobile web!  That's huge!  The first one to a market is typically going to have an advantage.  If you could reset the clock and be the first on google in your space (assuming you weren't), wouldn't that turn the tides a bit for you?
  10. It's easy.  It's a small screen and plenty of tools exist to put your content at the hands of mobile users. 
So good luck in your 2012 push to glory.  When in doubt about mobile, I would side with doing something. It's better than having nothing and looking lazy to your consumers.  

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