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Mcommerce growth: How to prepare your online store for mobile users

You’ve no doubt heard that smartphones seem to be everywhere these days, and that the gadgets are finding their way into new owners’ hands faster than ever before. All the new cell phones and other mobile devices mean more selling opportunities for you; mcommerce growth is in full swing. In fact, according to Forrester Research, mobile commerce sales are set to reach $114 billion by the end of 2014.

That also means it’s time to get to work optimizing your business for mobile foot traffic. In order to provide customers with the best possible mobile experience, two main principles should govern your work: Make the user experience simple, and be thoughtful about engagement. Here are a few tips how.

1. Streamline the buying process
This might smack of self-interest, but streamlining the path to purchase is important not only for mcommerce, but for your ecommerce store, too. The easier it is for a shopper to purchase something online, the happier they tend to be about the experience. First and foremost, shoppers buying through their phones want convenience. Too many touch events tend to act like barriers, frustrating shoppers who might decide to abandon their cart altogether.

You can optimize your mobile site by doing away with unnecessary steps. To examine your conversion process, take a look at your mobile site holistically. Scrub your pages like the landing, product and cart to make sure they look great on little devices, and make sure that your search functions, shopping process and checkout are simple and speedy.

2. Embrace a need for speed
The beauty of the cell phone is that it contains enough distractions to delight short attention spans – which means you need to work to hold your user’s mind.

There’s something about being on-the-go that tests a mobile user’s patience—a fact over which some mobile commerce providers suffer. You can thank ever-improving technologies for raising the bar higher still, but the statistics on mobile shopping speeds are stark, with abandonment after mere seconds. And experts say consumers’ demands for speed are getting even greater.

You can optimize for speed in a number of ways:

  • Create page elements like buttons—which you should make large and simple—in CSS.
  • Limit the images you use, because they just bog down loading times. And when images are essential, fit images to the exact width you need rather than resizing them
  • Compile multiple scripts that are used together & minify them
  • Minimize the number of redirects on your site
  • Get rid of needless hidden elements

3. Make it easy to find your products
You already know search engine optimization is important for people to find your company. But you also need optimize your internal search functions so they can find the products they seek once they’ve found you. Mobile consumers aren’t just window shopping; instead, they’re fairly deliberate about their shopping intentions. In addition to providing a well-laid out products lineup, you should also display the search function prominently. Make it easy to search for products by auto-correcting common typos and directing consumers to the intended product. Moreover, you should keep improving the process. Leverage insights from analytics to understand how customers use search phrases—and how you can get in front of them.

4. Be present – but not a pest
There are a lot of ways to mess up the push notification process, but don’t let that stop you from working to perfect it. With the right process, it can perform like e-mail retargeting, allowing you to recover up to 16 percent of abandoned carts. Personalize pushes by luring buyers back with special offers, reminding them that the goods are still available—and that if they act now, you’ll give them free shipping, too.

Tapping into the vast potential of the mcommerce channel requires allowing potential consumers to tap and zoom and click their way through your mobile site to research and buy the products they want and need. To deliver that kind of experience, it all comes down to recognizing the value of the mobile platform—and prioritizing it on a level equal to your ecommerce efforts with a few strategic tweaks.

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