8 Requirements for Your Mobile Commerce Initiatives

03 Nov
November 3, 2010

Mobile marketing, in one form or another, makes the headlines dozens of times each day. As more brands enter the fray, it’s becoming increasingly important to deploy programs that cater to sophisticated shoppers – and these shoppers expect an interaction on par with the desktop shopping experience.  For clarity, the following is about mobile commerce, not mobile shopping. These two elements are certainly intertwined, but not synonymous. Mobile commerce is specific to the act of making a purchase via a mobile device, while mobile shopping is the use of mobile during the shopping journey.

If you are looking to introduce, or enhance, your mobile commerce initiatives, here are eight elements to guide your planning:

1. Be Visible

Rolling out a great mobile commerce experience won’t be very exciting if shoppers don’t know you exist. It’s absolutely imperative that you architect the site so that all organic search traffic is properly directed to your mobile-optimized site. Recognizing that traffic is from mobile and directing them to the mobile homepage isn’t the answer. I’m talking about recognizing the actual link that was clicked and mapping that to the mobile version. For example, if you search Google (via mobile) for “Best Buy iPhone 4,” you are directed to a page about the iPhone, but it’s the desktop version of the site with no way to experience the mobile version. Done correctly, that same mobile search would have mapped the user to the appropriate page on the mobile-optimized site.

Mobile shoppers are on a mission to find and transact – help them.

2. Be Useful

Small screen sizes and inconsistent connection speeds can make the shopping experience challenging, especially when compared to the same experience on the desktop. Therefore, it’s critical to provide a mobile commerce site that balances speed and utility with a rich shopping environment.

  • Site Search: Do it. It’s amazing how many mobile commerce sites don’t include a search bar.
  • Sort/Filter: Allow users to quickly arrange results to fit their needs. There is nothing more frustrating than finding the item of clothing that you’ve been looking for, only to find that your size is not in stock.
  • Digestible Content: Scrolling through blocks of content on a mobile device is cumbersome. Optimize content for quick consumption with short paragraphs and/or bullet points.

3. Be Social

Assuming that your brand includes social as part of the marketing mix, there is absolutely no reason not to include it in mobile commerce initiatives. Facebook, location-based services, reviews, videos, Twitter, etc. are all elements that can be easily integrated to enhance the experience and provide shoppers with an easy way to engage with your brand.

4. Be Unique

One of the great ways to introduce your mobile commerce site to new users is to offer exclusive products or offers. For example, release a limited edition pair of shoes exclusively via the mobile channel to get shoppers interacting with the site, telling their friends, and generating positive sentiment for the brand.

5. Be Proactive

A great way to encourage repeat visits is to integrate SMS and push notifications into your CRM and mobile marketing strategy. Sending a message to your subscribers with timely information, offers, in-stock alerts, etc. that include a link to the mobile commerce site can stimulate an immediate uptick in sales.

6. Be Safe

The majority of consumers have never made a purchase via mobile and making them feel comfortable with mobile commerce includes providing information about security measures. In addition, adding alternate payment methods (PayPal Mobile) can help allay any fears specific to entering personal credit card information via mobile.

7. Be Accommodating

While not officially mobile commerce, it’s best to offer shoppers alternatives for the last step in the transaction process. For retailers with physical locations, this means including store locators, and for those with call centers, a click-to-call element should be included.

8. Be Consistent

Many early mobile initiatives have been created using basic templates that are in no way consistent with how the brand is portrayed in other channels. This is why we have mobile sites from high-end retailers that look the same as those from office supply super stores.

What are you doing to maximize your mobile commerce initiatives?

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2 replies
  1. Janel Hastings says:

    Sean – Your articles on mobile marketing are excellent! I would like to request permission to post them to my mobile marketing website to provide current (and hopefully future) clients with information about the utility of this huge emerging market. Of course, I would attribute full credit to you, and will be happy to reference your website/blog.

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