It’s now crystal clear that online shoppers across most retail segments are embracing mobile. Nosto’s own research within the fashion sector suggests retailers now attract nearly twice as much traffic to their websites from smartphone shoppers as they do from people on their computers, and that 46% of purchases are via mobile.
But consumers using their phones devote around 30% less time browsing a site than PC users – an average of 164 seconds (under three minutes) on a site. This creates a major challenge for retailers: how do you optimise the online experience to ensure the rising number of impatient mobile shoppers find exactly what they are looking for quickly and leave having made a purchase?
Here are 6 tactics that can help maximise sales and customer retention with mobile-savvy fashion shoppers.
1. Offer an authentic mobile browsing experience
Fashion buyers predominantly rely on visual cues to reassure themselves that the buying decision they are making is the right one. This means that images must be easy to see on a mobile screen and of a high enough quality to prevent them becoming a barrier to purchase.
To give shoppers the confidence to make buying decisions, show authentic images on your site of other shoppers wearing your products. Authenticity is key, as 77% of online shoppers say their purchase decisions are influenced by ‘real’ photos from customers compared to professional shots. Integrating user-generated photos into your site of other shoppers wearing your products from social media networks such as Instagram and Facebook provides a straightforward way to add a layer of authenticity to your brand. There are a range of tools that achieve this seamlessly, finding and delivering relevant, personalised images to help convert shoppers.
2.Maximise mobile screen space
Smartphone screens may be getting larger, but they still provide significantly less on-page real estate to work with than a computer – as well as less time to woo the customer to convert. To maximise the time and space, make sure the screen is automatically populated with products that each shopper is most likely to be interested in based on their browsing and buying behaviour. You can achieve this dynamic personalisation in multiple ways, depending on your business and consumer demographic.
For example, if you can see that a shopper is browsing leather coats, display similar coats that they’ll potentially be interested in based on what they’ve already browsed. If they are clearly a fan of a particular brand, then display other products from that company to potentially boost average order value. Finally, remember that fashion shoppers are inspired by finding the perfect “look”: create a ‘look book’ that automatically suggests products that go well with what they’ve browsed. If the shopper is interested in a leather coat, suggest a scarf, gloves or other products to accessorise it.
3. Make checking out a frictionless process
Given the limited size, completing the checkout process on a phone screen and mobile keyboard can be particularly challenging – which contributes to 80% of shoppers abandoning their carts. To better enable shoppers to hit “purchase”, think about how you can make the process as simple and frictionless as possible. For example, limit the information you ask for by using auto-fill to reduce the need for typing, and include progress bars to show consumers how much longer it will take for them to complete their purchase. Ensure that text boxes are big enough to be easy to type in, and automatically trigger relevant keyboards for particular information – such as a numeric keyboard for entering a credit card number.
Particularly for new customers, asking them to register their details on a smartphone is an additional barrier to conversion. In fact, research by User Interface Engineering shows that 75% of those who are forced to register first fail to complete a purchase. Letting people register with their Facebook and Instagram details overcomes this barrier; this shortcuts the process and avoids the need for shoppers to re-enter their details, which makes their journey to check out a breeze.
4. Leverage customer retargeting to re-engage shoppers
Just because a shopper fails to make a purchase after visiting your store, doesn’t mean they aren’t interested. Given how and when they use smartphones to browse your site (such as mid work commute), people can simply run out of time or be distracted. Give them a friendly nudge via personalised reminders (such as via Facebook and Instagram), showing them the products they were most interested in when they browsed your store.
According to research from YouGov, Facebook and Instagram are the most popular social networks in the UK, with fashion content from brands particularly important when connecting with Instagram users. These are prime channels to reach consumers with retargeting reminders that are tailored to their browsing experiences. In addition to sending product reminders, an effective re-targeting strategy also involves engaging customers post-purchase.
5. Personalise the entire shopping experience (not just products onsite)
Smartphones only have limited sized screens, and using these to try and display your full product catalogue will result in a cluttered, unappealing experience. Show your shoppers the products they are likely to be interested personally, based on their online behaviour. Thanks to advances in AI and machine learning you can now instantly adjust the layout of a page to show content that is relevant to each individual shopper.
This makes it easier than ever to automatically deliver a completely unique experience to two shoppers visiting the same site, in real-time. Take the example of a sports store. A yoga fan and an outdoor sports enthusiast might both be browsing the site, but are looking at different products, brands and information. With real-time personalisation you can provide a completely unique experience to each of these shoppers – down to logos, images, colours and banners, as well as the products themselves. This results in faster access to what interests the shopper, making them more likely to convert.
6. Consider introducing a mobile app
The rise of mobile commerce has also led to greater use of retailer apps by shoppers. 2018 research found that shoppers now download and use double the number of apps compared to the previous year, with 83% saying they are happy with the experience they provide. In addition to making the customer journey easier and smoother, mobile apps also enable retailers to send personalised reminders, geo-targeted offers and push notifications to build stronger relationships and greater sales.
However, creating an app requires significant investment – both upfront and to continue to support and develop it. So, before creating an app, check that it will deliver ROI over the long term.
For every retailer, the impatient mobile shopper is both a challenge and an opportunity. With smartphones overtaking desktop for visits and sales, focusing on their needs is therefore critical to driving engagement, revenue and long term customer loyalty.