Today’s customers are mobile. To buy something, a shopper now is as likely to reach for their smartphone as they are to pick up their laptop. They are even more likely to do either than walk into a store.
This cross-channel approach to retail – adding mobile to other ways of shopping – is a key theme at this year’s InternetRetailing Conference on the 10 October at the Business Design Centre in London. Speakers from Liberty, John Lewis and app developer Poq will be discussing at length how to craft these sorts of interactions.
Similarly, Kyle Monk, Head of Insight and Analytics - British Retail Consortium and Chris Conway, Head of eCommerce - The Co-operative Group will be on hand to discuss how to make this happen while focussing purely on customers not on channels – a tall order, but one that is essential to modern retailing.
With this in mind – and with everyone now on mobile – we take a look at how retailers can make their brands stand out and bring in the clicks and sales that their business need in this increasingly mobile-first omni-channel, customer-centric world.
So, here are five ways to get their attention on mobile…
Psychologists call it the Principles of Gestalt – to you and me that is how we perceive objects and the world around us. Within this lies the Law of Prägnanz. Translated this means the “law of pithiness”, but to the wider world it means we tend to order our experiences in a symmetrical, simple manner. In short we want things nice and easy.
And this applies in spades to mobile experiences. Just look at Amazon’s app. It’s pretty much a search box and a few suggestions. Once you are in and have tapped in what you are looking for, you get a list. Simple, easy and effective. No wonder that Amazon is still the biggest mobile site and app by traffic in the world, according to SimilarWeb.
Another aspect of keeping it simple lies in more pictures and fewer words. Images are everything in the fast paced world of mobile and getting the right hero shot is key.
But they have to be the right shots. A study by Cambridge University and Unilever in 2018 found that generic pack shots, widely used for product hero images, fail to communicate basic, essential information to mobile customers. The prevalence of such images results in a diminished customer experience.
Instead, recommends ecommerce trade body IMRG, retailers turn to Mobile-Ready Hero Images: product shots that are specifically designed to look good on mobile and to convey the kind of information that a buyer needs at a glance.
And it works. When tested side-by-side, says IMRG’s Dave Brewis, Mobile Ready Hero Images outperform pack shots both in customer experience and overall sales. They streamline the shopping experience, he says, cutting out unnecessary blank space on product shots so that shoppers have only the information they need to make fast purchasing decisions.
In simulated shopping tests conducted by SKIM on Amazon, suchimages delivered a considerable increase in product selection. Their use also resulted in an impressive sales uplift for various retailers when trialled live against pack shots.
For example, says Brewis, Surf branded products saw an average weekly sales uplift of 74.5 per cent on the Coles website when Mobile Ready Hero Images replaced their pack shots.
Video is increasingly the medium through which shoppers want to get their product information. According to research round-up on Optinmonster, 79% of consumers would rather watch a video than read about a product, while 84% of consumers have bought something after watching a video. More than 90% of consumers watch videos on their mobile devices.
This is how shoppers shop now and to create an impactful and high-converting mobile site – or app – you need to factor in video.
And it has to have high production values, be able to be watched with the sound off – so use fancy subtitles – and contain all a shopper needs to know in under two minutes. Simple.
While images, videos and simplicity are all key, the one golden rule to driving mobile conversions is speed: no matter how compelling to look at your site is, if it takes more than a few seconds to load – especially over 3G – then you have lost them. In fact, according to Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less, while 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
The key to a fast load is what is called render start time (RST), which is how long it takes for the first content to appear on the screen. Sites with the lowest RST get get 50% more engagement than other sites, which increase conversion.
How do you make it fast? Use optimised web design so that your site optimises how it creates itself not just for mobile, but for each different handset type.
Making your sites SEO mobile orientated is also key to a fast and successful engagement with shoppers. To find you, you have to make sure that your SEO tells Google or other search engines that you are optimised for mobile and that you are ready for business.
A good starting point is to use Google’s mobile testing tool to see how your site stacks up. You’ll get recommendations for improvement – implement those to improve your site’s search presence.
There are simple steps to making your mobile site attractive and to up conversions: these are just five, but there are more. While making sure you have good images, great video, fast load times and optimisation of SEO, you may also look at how you use SMS and push messaging to get people to your site, mobile marketing – even with email – to drive engagement and a wealth of other tactics. All this is good and will help, but above all keep it simple.