In a busy and complex world, where everyone and everything is connected by technology, experiences matter more than ever. Usability directly impacts the quality of an experience, while great experiences create the loyalty and trust that enable brands to grow and companies to thrive. Usablenet’s mission is to be a strategic partner to clients by creating and delivering great experiences across all channels.
|5 DECEMBER 2011||
4 Ways to Make Mobile Site User-Friendly for the Holidays
By Jason Taylor
Mobile commerce is exploding due to the growing number of consumers who are turning to their smartphones to browse, research and purchase products. However, it is over the holidays when we see an extreme spike in activity on mobile devices as a result of last-minute shopping and traveling. To maximize conversion from the staggering amount of traffic that retailers receive from mobile devices over the holidays, retailers must continue to innovate and invest in a mobile strategy that fully engages consumers.
According to the 2011 Deloitte Annual Holiday Survey, among the 42% of consumers who own smartphones, 27% will use their devices when shopping for the holidays. We are progressively seeing consumers turn to their phones as a way of both staying informed and saving money — especially during the holiday shopping season. Whether it is finding store locations, price comparisons, product information, product reviews or even making purchases, customers are increasingly relying on their smartphones, tablets and other connected devices as a go-to resource for all their shopping needs.
Retailers should use the mobile Web to further engage with consumers by creating a convenient shopping experience that offers the same features and functionalities as the desktop Web. Here are the top ways that retailers can make their mobile sites user-friendly in time for the holiday season.
1. Elevate the Site's Aesthetics Customers are attracted to visually appealing websites that are easy to navigate and maintain consistency with the overall brand aesthetic. To accomplish this, retailers should take advantage of next-generation HTML5 technologies that enhance the overall look-and-feel of the mobile site, including:
• Dynamic scrolling promotions: Retail brands should incorporate scrolling banners on their homepage that target shoppers with specific promotions or special offers that are designed to simplify the mobile shopping experience and maximize the smartphone's small screen.
• High-resolution image galleries: Online shoppers want to see high-quality images of products they are considering purchasing, and the image browsing experience on smartphones is continuing to improve. For instance, next-generation HTML5 mobile sites allow retailers to display high resolution images galleries that enable users to scroll, swipe and "tap-tap zoom" to get a closer view of individual products.
2. Expedite Purchasing with Next-Generation Carts To further expedite mobile purchasing during the busy season, retailers can incorporate new innovative shopping cart functionality that displays a slide-down notification window of items in a shopper's cart when items are added to cart. Shoppers can view totals, edit quantities and manage their cart without leaving the page they are currently on. This removes additional steps, reducing the number of pages loaded, and encourages a seamless checkout experience — all leading to increased conversions for retailers. The notification window disappears after a few seconds, allowing shoppers to continue shopping without disruption; or choose to check-out if they decide to do so.
3. Incorporate Social Sharing Capabilities The Deloitte study also shows that 45% of consumers use their smartphones to read product reviews and 35% of consumers use their smartphones to access social media. This makes it crucial for retailers to incorporate the ability to read and write product reviews, as well as social sharing features via Facebook and Twitter, to their mobile sites. Incorporating social features like product reviews gives consumers the ability to easily share products with their social networks, enabling them to become champions for your brand.
4. Offer Mobile-Only Discounts Exclusive discounts that are available only on mobile apps or sites are a great way to further engage with consumers and make them feel valued. Searching for better prices via mobile phone is becoming more and more common, especially around the holidays, and offering savvy shoppers discounts will lead to more mobile purchases. To encourage increased in-store traffic, retailers should also incorporate location-based functionality into their mobile sites and apps that push special offers to customers based on their physical proximity to the store. The PacSun iPhone app is a great example of a retailer that is using the smartphone's internal GPS to offer shoppers targeted events and sales based on their physical location.
By incorporating these mobile Web optimization tactics, retailers can deliver consumers a seamless mobile shopping experience during the chaotic holiday season. Additionally, the emergence of HTML5 allows retailers to deliver consumers a next-generation mobile experience that makes mobile shopping easier and more engaging than ever before.
Jason Taylor is head of platform strategy and innovation at Usablenet.