How to Convert Mobile Shoppers

By Kelsey Jones

Mobile commerce is huge business. Sixty percent of digital traffic comes from mobile, and 72 percent of shoppers use their mobile devices while in a physical store. Furthermore, consumer spending continues to be at an all-time high during the holidays at the end of the year. According to the National Retail Federation, consumers say they will spend just over $1,000 during the 2018 holiday season. That figure is up four percent compared to last year.

With that in mind, it’s important for companies to properly optimize their mobile shopping experience, whether it’s through a shopping app or a mobile version of their ecommerce website. Below are some of the ways brands can improve their apps and websites to increase consumer spend, time on site, and average order value.


Know your customers’ mobile shopping habits.

Mobile devices have become a common way to browse and make purchases online. In fact, the National Retail Federation reports that 71 percent of survey respondents are planning on using their smartphone or tablet to research or make a purchase during the holidays. When brands make their mobile shopping experience as easy as possible, users are more likely to make repeat purchases or recommend retailers to their friends and family.

Salesforce’s Mobile Shopping Focus Report reveals interesting trends about mobile shopping habits, as well as how retailers can optimize users’ experience. For instance, mobile makes up 40 percent of ecommerce order share and has a conversion rate of 1.2 percent. To improve this conversion rate, brands have to learn what their visitors need and prioritize mobile optimization. After all, lots of mobile traffic is good, but mobile traffic with a high conversion rate is better.

Even though mobile shopping makes up the majority of ecommerce, Google reports that shoppers are using multiple channels to research and complete purchases. Sixty percent start a shopping journey on one device, such as a computer, and then finish it on another, such as their phone or tablet. In order to take advantage of a customer ready to buy, no matter the device, Google has three main recommendations for retailers:

  • They should be present wherever the user is

  • They need to be useful by offering detailed product information and reviews

  • They need to target the customer experience to their demographic

Meet these requirements and improve your conversion rate with tools and features that specifically enhance your mobile ecommerce customer experience.

Add powerful mobile shopping features to your app and site.

When it comes to mobile shopping, it’s important to add features to your app or website that make the shopping and buying process as painless as possible. These features can ensure you’re prepared for “micro-moments” and can offer a seamless, efficient way to turn a consumer’s intent into a mobile conversion.

One such feature is saved payment options for repeat purchases, sometimes called a mobile wallet. These payment options include services such as Apple Pay, PayPal, and Google Pay. According to the Mobile Shopping Focus Report, there was an increase in conversions when websites offer mobile wallets because they make the checkout process faster, thus decreasing the friction to buy. In fact, there was an average 14 percent increase in mobile orders on sites with mobile wallets. Many users reported that they felt more secure and that the process was easier when using a mobile wallet service instead of manually entering credit card information.

Even though this was a popular service among survey respondents, it’s important to offer additional secure payment options. For example, many users don’t mind manually entering credit card information and being presented with the option to save it for later purchases.

Features that make the buying process clear are always useful to online users as well. According to data from PwC and reported by eMarketer, 39 percent of U.S. holiday shoppers prefer to click “buy” buttons to make purchases via their smartphone or wearable device. To take advantage of this audience, test the button color and call-to-action text — for example, find out if “Buy Now” or “Add to Cart” resonates best with your customers — to see what provides the best conversion for your audience.

Retailers can also make the path to purchase much easier for the customer by offering options to make searching for products simpler. When you provide a search function that has AI-powered algorithms, for example, your site’s search feature can respond to synonyms or frequently misspelled items. Make it a priority to ensure customers can quickly find what they are looking for without having to wade through a complicated menu or manually browse through category pages of products.

A good example of trying to simplify the path to purchase is the product and barcode scanner, called Flow, on the Amazon app. Amazon customers use their phone’s camera to scan a product (say, a cover of a book) and Amazon’s technology will bring up its estimated search results for the product. Users can then compare prices, read reviews, learn more, and add it to their Amazon shopping list. This makes Amazon even more competitive with big box retailers, as users can search for products while shopping in another store but make the purchase via the Amazon app.

To figure out what can make searching on your website or app easier, recruit existing customers or paid users, or consider consulting a user experience designer to identify pain points and how you can fix them. Pair these insights with AI technologies, including personalized search, sorting features, and product recommendation algorithms, to take your mobile shopping experience to the next level.

Optimize the mobile shopping experience with communication.

In the age of social media and instant gratification, communication between companies and customers is extraordinarily important. For example, even with fast or same-day shipping options, many users are picky about how their items are shipped, and they want to be notified at every stage of the shipping process, including the moment the package gets to its final destination.

To satisfy your customers’ communication preferences and needs, use multiple methods to stay in touch. Luckily, the mobile shopping experience offers a variety of ways for retailers to do just that. Better communication can increase repeat orders and drive positive customer reviews. Some of the ways retailers can communicate with customers through mobile include:

  • Chat Bots: According to Business Insider, “The combined user base of the top four chat apps is larger than the combined user base of the top four social networks. Chat apps also have higher retention and usage rates than most mobile apps.” This gives retailers a valuable opportunity to use AI in chat apps to help users complete purchases, find products, or track their orders. Chat bots can also work like push notifications, in which they share information about the latest sales or product releases.

  • Text Updates: Allow users to sign up for text/SMS updates to give them updates on products they’re interested in, let them know when their order was shipped as well as when it will be delivered.

  • Push Notifications: If customers have your app installed, they can receive push notifications to let them know about upcoming sales, return status, shipping status, and other details about their order or shopping habits.

By communicating clearly and effectively with customers, brands can not only increase customer satisfaction but also track more data, such as what customers are asking most or how many sign up just to receive updates about an order.

Measure your optimization success with key metrics.

Data is important to track and analyze. It allows retailers to decipher whether the improvements and features they’ve added to the mobile shopping experience in an online app or website are making a difference for customers.

Choosing which metrics are important varies by each organization, but some of the top mobile shopping metrics to pay attention to include:

  • Active users

  • Time in app or on website

  • Conversion rate

  • Lifetime value

  • Internal search data (for example, what users search for)

  • Click path

It’s also recommended to look at ongoing customer sentiment such as social media shares, affiliate sales, and brand mentions. All of these metrics make up the big picture of evaluating mobile optimization success.

Converting mobile shoppers is an ongoing process in optimization. Grabbing mobile traffic is one important step for an ecommerce company to succeed, but figuring out how to turn that mobile traffic into conversions is the important next step. This requires testing, evaluating feedback, and measuring metrics, then implementing necessary changes and repeating the process. When you optimize your ecommerce mobile features, you’ll likely see benefits that go beyond higher revenue. Users who experience a streamlined, easy mobile experience are much more likely to make a purchase, use the retailer again, and recommend them to their network. This is why mobile optimization is so important to your ecommerce strategy and your business’s growth.


Kelsey Jones

Kelsey Jones is a marketing consultant and writer under Six Stories, her marketing agency. She has been working in digital marketing since 2007 and journalism since 2004, gaining proficiency in social media, SEO, content marketing, PR, and web design. Kelsey was the head editor at Search Engine Journal for three years and has worked with Yelp, Contour Living, Bounty, Gazelle, and many more. Based in Kansas City, she enjoys writing and consuming all kinds of content, both in digital and tattered paperback form.

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