8 Tips to Ride the Mobile Commerce Wave

The following is a guest post by Michael Oiknine, CEO of mobile analytics company Apsalar.

The busiest shopping time of the year is among us, and with mobile retail sales on “Cyber Monday” ballooning by 260% over last year, it’s clear that mobile commerce has officially arrived. Consumers are charging up their smartphones and tablets, scanning barcodes, scouring for deals, and filling up their virtual shopping carts in spirit of the holiday shopping season. M-commerce has fundamentally taken the shopping world by storm in both pace and scale by providing solutions that the traditional offline channels—and even e-commerce—can’t deliver.

So, how do retailers respond to this shift?

Understanding current shopping trends and consumer behavior on mobile can help shape marketing strategies for retailers, particularly during the peak holiday season. By recognizing the dynamics between consumers and their connected devices, retailers can create more compelling mobile shopping experiences to attract new customers and build loyalty with existing customers.

According to a recent survey conducted by Google, 4 in 5 smartphone or tablet owners will use mobile devices to aid in holiday shopping this year. This rapid rate of mobile adoption raises expectations and increases desire for quicker, more convenient and more personalized shopping experiences.

Retailers who enthusiastically adopt the mobile revolution and add relevancy to their offerings will have a clear business advantage. There’s an uptick of consumer purchases made via mobile devices, with conversions and average order value (AOV) of purchases steadily increasing year over year. Shifting marketing spend to mobile can prove to be extremely profitable if retailers get it right.

Consider these step-by-step tips for growing sales on mobile today:

1.    Identify nuances in the mobile shopping experience with data

Consumer behavior on mobile is significantly different than in-store or online. You can’t simply replicate the in-store or online shopping experience and bring it to mobile. For example, the type of location-based offer an in-store shopper receives should provoke urgency and elicit immediate action. Tactics such as mobile-only flash sales can also entice a user to buy. Take a data-driven approach to mobile retail to understand what works and what doesn’t. App design, payments, storefronts, sales and other details in the shopping experience are critical. Shopping behavior is considerably different when a shopper is at-home where he’s more inclined to browse, price compare, or research casually.

2.    Strategize based on device data.

Device diversity and platform fragmentation can pose significant challenges in mobile strategy. Developing mobile apps, location-based services, augmented reality campaigns, etc. on an Android smartphone can be significantly different than on an iPad Mini, for example. Leverage mobile analytics to find out what mobile devices are commonly used by your consumers. Armed with this information, you can prioritize development based on what are the most appropriate mobile conduits to reach your target audience.

3.    Create shopper audiences.

Analyze purchase activity, mobile app activity, visit frequency, and other data around customer behavior to create shopper audiences. Find out whether your customers are first time buyers or repeat buyers, test multiple offers—then deliver the right offer to the right audience at the right time. Make sure to use an analytics package that supports mobile apps natively and that offers revenue metrics to measure the effectiveness of your offers.

4.    Keep shoppers on a one-way track to your cart.

Enticing shoppers to be interested in your product is hard, but getting them to complete the checkout process is even harder. Don’t present unrelated offers until the shopper has committed to making the purchase. Any offers presented before checkout should complement the product or make it appear more desirable. Ensure that everything from the storefront to shopping carts are well-designed and the user experience is enjoyable.

5.    Streamline the checkout process.

Convert more shoppers by reducing the number of steps required to check out. Test convenient and secure payment methods, such as PayPal, mobile wallets, or easy-click checkout options, that don’t require lengthy registration or entering credit card information.

6.    Retarget funnel abandoners.

Don’t inadvertently turn buyers away. Turn browsers into shoppers and ultimately buyers by retargeting users across both your upper and lower funnels. Retarget users who abandoned their shopping carts with the right offer. Cross-sell additional products to your customers.

7.    Leverage peer-to-peer social sharing and user-generated content.

Dovetail social channels to enable consumers to evangelize your products. Incentivize your customers to spread the word by offering exclusive deals and discounts by inviting friends to sign up to your m-commerce store. Mass peer-to-peer content generation and social sharing can bring revenue opportunities to retailers and contribute to substantial growth of your business. Harness the power of consumer voices.

8.    Acquire the right users.

Do not merely acquire users for your mobile shopping apps. Acquire buyers. Most users of mobile apps have a low engagement level. Instead of targeting any users for your mobile app, promote it to your existing online buyers. Beyond that, work with vendors that allow you to target audiences of buyers similar to your best customers.

There is no denying that shoppers are becoming increasingly more reliant on their connected mobile devices, and this trend is only growing. Now, it’s time for retailers to embrace the shift to m-commerce. Their future success depends on it.