If the 2017 holiday season taught us anything, it’s that mobile is the new normal for online shopping. On Black Friday alone, over 60% of retail website visits happened on mobile devices, driving more than 46% of all purchases.
So why are we all still talking about mobile as if it’s tomorrow’s problem? Part of the challenge is that consumer behaviors are changing much faster than retailers can adapt. By the time you mobilize your team, draft a new strategy and put the wheels of change into motion, new trends have already surfaced to make your golden plan obsolete.
The key to solving for mobile is to focus not on emerging fads and technology, but rather to understand the context of the mobile shopper. You have to look further than “what’s happening” and try to understand why, where, when and how your customers are shopping. Here are three tips that can help to kickstart the process.
Step 1: Walk a Mile in Their Shoes
Imagine a customer shopping for new sneakers online. In a pre-mobile world, the options were pretty limited. Most customers were either sitting at home on their laptop or sneaking in a break at work to research, compare and shop. But with connected mobile devices, the context can change drastically. Is the customer in a store pulling up prices? Inspired by the Jordan’s they saw while riding the subway? Frantically searching for a nearby store in a far-away city? Context is queen here, and retailers need to capitalize on it if they want to drive more mobile revenue.
The first step to optimizing for mobile is to clearly understand the context in which your customers are searching for your products. Look for clues on tools like Google Analytics, CRM or Search Console to identify trends. Some examples of markers include:
- “Near me” queries
- Free delivery
- Fast shipping
- Device types
- Time of day spikes
- Sessions per user
- Referral sources
- Past shopping behavior
Step 2: Stitch Together Popular Journeys
Now for the fun part. Once the data points have been collected and mobile trends are beginning to be identified, the different data points need to be weaved into cohesive customer journeys. A customer journey map tries to predict purchase behavior for specific shopping segments, allowing messages to be optimized along the way.
When building customer journey maps, the most important segments should be prioritized to keep efforts focused. For example, segments like high value customers, repeat purchasers, fast converters, low cost customers, etc. These may vary from business to business. Combining the most valuable segments with touchpoints and context from step one will tie it all together.
Step 3: Optimize Mobile Experiences for Customer Journeys
The last piece of this puzzle is to coordinate mobile website experience with the different customer journey segments. For example, let’s say you want to take advantage of “near me” searchers who typically convert with a “pick up in store” option. To engage this audience better, try feeding different physical locations into your Google search ads within a 10-mile radius of each store, and dynamically displaying these to nearby local searchers. This way, when similar customers begin their search, they have a timely and relevant reason to shop with you.
Another example might revolve around customers who tend to buy a lot at once. To capitalize on this group, ensure that your mobile store has a strong recommendation engine that makes it easy to browse and add multiple items to the cart without clicking back and forth, which makes it simpler to complete larger purchases on a smaller screen.
And of course, never stop testing. You might not get things right the first time around, but building the three steps above into your ongoing workflow will ensure you build an engaging (and profitable) mobile experience for years to come.
Stephen Murphy is Director of Marketing for NetElixir