Only 16% of mobile shopping carts lead to a successful order. Retailers can take steps to increase mobile conversion.

The rise of mobile shopping, or m-commerce, is a growing trend on every retailer’s radar. With consumers constantly on the go, more and more people are turning to their smartphones or tablets when shopping. This increase comes with little surprise since 3.448 billion of the 3.773 billion active Internet users are mobile Internet users. Despite the influx of mobile users and shoppers, retailers are not seeing the high conversion rates you might expect—only 16 percent of shopping carts on mobile devices translate to a successful order.

Tom Mucklow, partner development manager, Addressy

Tom Mucklow, partner development manager, Addressy

So where are retailers going wrong? And how can they better leverage this surge in mobile browsing to create more sales? Here are four things retailers should be doing to optimize their sites for the rise of m-commerce.

Enhance mobile apps

Although many retailers have taken the step to create a mobile app, these apps often lack the user-friendly interface and functionality needed for wide-scale usage among consumers. As tech-forward as some of these apps may seem, many are still riddled with issues. As a result, they aren’t bringing in as much revenue for businesses as they could be, and customers aren’t returning to them. According to the Adobe mobile retail report, 60 percent of retail apps are used less than 10 times. Additionally, 15 percent of consumers don’t use shopping apps at all, while 45 percent only use one or two apps when shopping online.

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These dire statistics stem from key frustrations customers experience while shopping on a mobile app. For example, most have limited visibility and do not allow shoppers to zoom in on product images or pages. Common app features such as push notifications can also interrupt the shopping experience and oftentimes divert users away from their carts. Similarly, many shopping apps have poor functionality and crash when a user receives a text message or a phone call. Additionally, a shopper’s search history is not always saved, which can deter them from starting a new order from scratch.

Cater your website for mobile

Many retailers have yet to optimize their sites for mobile use—which can lead to mounting frustrations as consumers use their mobile devices to attempt to browse a site designed for desktop viewing. With 87 percent of shoppers looking for a product online before visiting the store, 79 percent while in the store, and 35 percent after they leave the store, failing to cater a website for mobile can lead to missed opportunities. Not having a mobile optimized website is like closing your store one day a week. This is a major issue, especially since mobile traffic is likely to overtake desktop traffic in Q1 of 2018, and by 2020, smartphone shopping is projected to account for two thirds of e-commerce in the UK alone.

87% of consumers look for a product online before visiting the store, 79% while in the store, and 35% after they leave the store.

There are several features retailers can implement to create a more positive mobile shopping experience. A vital component to master is the page layout by ensuring it responds to mobile screen sizes. Businesses also have to be conscious of the larger margin of error on a smartphone—eliminating multiple column forms and offering alternative input types such as tick boxes and drop down lists will help reduce errors and alleviate frustrations.

Diversify payment options

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With mobile shopping rates surging, there is a growing need to diversify accepted methods of payments beyond the traditional offerings. Mobile wallets and payments are increasing in popularity, especially for mobile shoppers. Further, due to the growing popularity of mobile payment apps such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, PayPal, and Venmo, many now expect their phones to be the sole item needed for shopping.

By accepting new forms of mobile payments, retailers will not only keep up with mobile shopping trends, they will also expand their client base by accommodating the vast quantity of shoppers adopting these alternative payment methods. The recent Mobile World Congress saw major companies enhancing their payment options. MasterCard, for example, debuted its “Masterpass QR” option, which allows shoppers to make digital payments across any device in any location—including online, on mobile apps, and in stores.

Streamline checkout

Checkout is the most important step in the online customer journey. Businesses that fail to consider their checkout process are failing to reach their revenue potential, with long or frustrating checkouts leading to cart abandonment. In fact, according to a Baymard study, respondents cited a “too long/complicated checkout process” as the number two reason they abandon their cart. The average checkout contains 14.88 form fields—twice as many as is necessary, and a serious driver of poor conversion rates.

Retailers need to consider that mobile customers are typically multitasking which causes them to rush through the checkout. Combined with the problem of ‘fat fingers’ typing on small devices, it’s also common for customers to make mistakes when filling in forms; one of the biggest problems being address form errors. Manually inserting data on a desktop is hard enough, but on a mobile device it’s even more challenging, with increased likelihood for errors.

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Without some sort of verification method and auto-complete capabilities, the checkout process will never be as streamlined as it could be. Address verification technology verifies addresses worldwide and auto-completes details at checkout based on each keystroke. This helps speed up the process for customers, increase conversation rates, and perhaps more importantly, ensures all inputted data is correct, minimizing delivery errors.

No matter which technologies retailers chose to adopt in this growing age of m-commerce, creating an optimized customer experience is crucial. Retailers can no longer afford to focus on just one shopping platform—they have to consider the customer experience in stores, online, and on mobile devices. By leveraging the diverse range of tech-forward capabilities, retailers can streamline their customer experiences, creating a positive shopping journey for every customer, everywhere, and putting their business on the path to long-term success.

Addressy provides address verification technology for online businesses.

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