You browse it. You buy it. Hardly. In fact, most people use their smartphones to research or browse products and services before buying something online through a vendor’s website, or at physical stores. Meanwhile, over half of all online retail traffic in Q4 2016 came from mobile consumers. So, why is compelling mobile consumers to complete purchases so elusive for retailers?
I believe it stems from a common failure to incorporate seamless checkout events into mobile commerce platforms that boost conversions and increase sales to make up the distance. I’d go as far as saying that most brands do not fully capitalize on available payment technology – some haven’t capitalized at all. The remedy: merchants in pursuit of getting consumers to a buying decision need to integrate technology and processes that make checkouts simple, contextual, secure and nearly omnipresent on mobile platforms. And they need to accomplish this without turning consumers off.
Moving Mobile Shoppers from Browse to Buy
So, what does this look like? A Deloitte study from November put the number of consumers who use their phones to browse at 60%, but only 40% surveyed stay on mobile to complete a purchase. The question, then, is how can merchants of all sizes – especially those with smaller budgets than global leaders like Amazon – make necessary changes to retain consumers and convert their mobile or online activity into more sales? Well, they can start by learning from three key strategy shifts Amazon made to vault ahead of ecommerce competitors years ago – which have since been adopted or adapted by leaders across industries, including Walmart, Coca-Cola and Warby Parker:
- · Move away from merchant-led online retail experiences – famous for requiring data entry across multiple windows and potential loading errors – to consumer-led interfaces that prioritize simplicity.
- · Understand that consumers now expect speed and quality from online transactions. Amazon effectively benchmarked two-day shipping, a communicative shopping cart and instant feedback.
- · Most importantly, make the purchasing process less cumbersome for consumers (read: fewer click-throughs and pop-ups) while simultaneously ensuring data security.
Amazon successfully took on tedious logistics and subtly put customers in charge of everything else. Customers happily took the reins. Recently, those customers turned their attention toward mobile in search of new retail experiences – opening the door for the rest of us looking to multichannel retail solutions for differentiation.
Reduce payments friction, increase happiness — and mobile sales
Analyst firm Gartner projects that mobile will account for 50% of all U.S. retail sales by the end of this year. eMarketer predicts the value of those mobile transactions will reach $61.8 billion – more than double last year’s total. That’s billions of dollars in annual revenue up for grabs that ecommerce companies, multichannel merchants and traditional retailers want to capture. Payments hold the key.
In practice, the first step for retailers is to build an optimized mobile payment experience into their natural product lifecycles. Next, they should explore and demo trusted mobile-first payment methods, such as ApplePay, PayPal’s One Touch and others. Simultaneously, entrepreneurs and merchants need to examine their current purchase processes and mobile commerce platforms to look for natural opportunities to incorporate more purchase moments into the current user experience. They need to remove checkout barriers and make buying so simple that casual browsers become returning buyers.
Mobile commerce offers merchants a clean slate to successfully launch with smooth payment technology and processes. After all, consumers rarely remember isolated payment experiences unless they were bad or riddled with complications. To avoid negative customer experiences, merchants need to put themselves into the mindset of a mobile consumer. They need to study a diverse set of mobile user habits to understand how consumers use their phones to shop and facilitate seamless buying opportunities to match.
Most importantly, a merchant should personally go through the checkout process on their own site using a mobile device. If retailers have any problems during the exercise, then their customers are definitely having problems. The ultimate goal: to implement nearly invisible purchasing opportunities for smartphone-toting consumers that increase sales and keep them coming back.
Andy Barker is the Senior Director of Strategy and Growth, Global Payments at Magento.