As you’re reading this, we’re willing to bet that you have a mobile device within arm’s reach (if it’s not already in your hand!).
It goes to show that the ubiquity of mobile is undeniable. And today, people aren’t just using their phones or tablets to communicate or check their social media. Increasingly, consumers are using their mobile devices to research products, compare prices, and even make purchases.
While more and more retailers are opening up their physical and online stores to mobile, there’s still a way to go before it’s in every store, and done amazingly well. Many retailers still aren’t providing the best mobile browsing experience, and it’s costing them customers.
In this post, we’ll discuss some of the common mobile mistakes retailers make, and how you can get around these traps. Here we go!
1. Making your mobile site difficult to navigate
Many retailers have mobile sites that are difficult for the user to get around. They’re not responsive, have a confusing layout, and the elements (i.e. images, buttons, links) either aren’t big enough or are too close together and difficult to tap.
Additionally, some mobile sites make specific categories or products hard to access. Links or subcategories are on separate pages, thus increasing load time.
You can fix these issues by designing your mobile site to be “big-finger proof”. Use large, beautiful pictures and avoid small links or text.
You could also make use of mobile-friendly drop-down menus. Instead of letting users click through separate pages when they’re exploring products and categories, incorporate drop-down menus so the links they need appear instantly.
One retailer doing this well is East London retailer by-Walski. It has an array of products under various categories, but keeps things organised and easy to access using menus that can easily be expanded or collapsed within the page. That way, when a user wants to check out a particular subcategory, they don’t have to navigate away from the main menu.
2. Having a cumbersome search tool
Many customers shopping on mobile want to be able to browse quickly. Some of them are on the move, others could be standing in line somewhere, and all of them want to find what they’re looking for in as few taps as possible. If they can’t experience that on your site, they’ll take their business elsewhere.
That’s why you should invest in a robust mobile search experience. Don’t just slap on a search tool and call it a day. Optimise it and make sure it’s easy to find and use.
One retailer that has a great mobile search function is John Lewis. The department store keeps the search function up top and easily seen on every page of its mobile site, so users can get to the search tool no matter where they are browsing.
Some stores will even include an auto-complete feature that predicts what people are looking for as they type. This means users don’t have to type their entire search query which makes the process much faster.
3. Making it difficult to map or call your physical store
Don’t bury your store’s address and phone number. Make it easy to find, either by displaying them on your homepage or by placing them in an easy-to-access contact page.
You also want to ensure that users can map your store or give you a call right from your site. Don’t just list your phone number – make it “clickable” so when people tap on it, they’ll be able to call you. The same goes for your address – incorporate a “click-to-map” functionality so users can easily navigate to your store.
A report by PayPal Media found that 57% of mobile landing page clicks are from actions like click-to-map and click-to-call, indicating that these two functions are what mobile shoppers use the most.
Michael Kors is doing this well – the retailer’s mobile site automatically detects the user’s location and displays the nearest store’s address and phone number on the homepage.
Michael Kors also makes it simple to map their store. It has a “Get Directions” link that automatically launches the user’s maps application, saving them time.
4. Not connecting mobile commerce with other sales channels
Don’t isolate your mobile strategy. Make sure your mobile commerce works in tandem with your other sales channels so you can give customers a “shop anytime, anywhere” experience.
You can, for instance, launch a “buy on mobile, pick up in-store” initiative that lets customers complete purchases and arrange store pick up right from their mobile device.
An increasing number of retailers have started doing this, but unfortunately, many of them drop the ball when it comes to the in-store pickup experience. While customers can place orders using their mobile device, the pickup process is often confusing when they get to the store. Where should they go to pick up their items? Do they have to wait in line? Who do they approach? Many times, these matters are unclear.
Don’t make the same mistake. If you’re implementing mobile ordering, see to it that you design an in-store pickup experience that’s fast, clear, and convenient.
Starbucks is doing an excellent job at this. Its app now has a feature that lets people order ahead using their phone. And when they get to the store, there’s a designated area for order pick ups, with no need to queue or ask where your order is.
Mobile is a channel that’s becoming as important as brick-and-mortar and ecommerce. So don’t get left behind. With a few small (but important) changes, you can strengthen your mobile commerce strategy and make sure you’re bringing delight to your customers no matter where they are