I’ve been hearing this for years. It’s the year of the mobile. Mobile commerce is taking over. Yet, for years, it hasn’t quite reached the levels the hype suggests it will. This Christmas I saw something different. As predicted, we’re reached the tipping point. Mobile shopping has arrived.
Mobile On Black Friday and Cyber Monday:
Black Friday was a huge day for online shopping. Mobile traffic and transactions took the headlines. In the US, IBM reported that for the first time EVER on Thanksgiving Day, traffic from mobile devices was higher than desktop traffic. Mobile sales accounted for 27.9% of total online sales, and increased 28.2% on last year. Perhaps this was a result of people not wanting to miss out on deals. They’d check them anywhere, on any device they had to hand, which was most likely a smart phone.
On cyber Monday mobile stats in the US were slightly less impressive, accounting for 41.38% of traffic and 22.01% of sales. This is still a good percentage though, if your site isn’t optimised for mobile you could be losing 20% of potential sales and perhaps even more, as many consumers research on their mobile devices before they return to purchase on a desktop.
Mobile On Christmas Day
On Christmas Day, John Lewis reported THREE QUARTERS of traffic from smartphones and tablets, and just one quarter desktop. In the US, mobile traffic made up 57.1% of all online shopping traffic, and 34.8% of sales. This is a 20.4% year on year increase. If it continues at this rate, things will be looking pretty even between mobile and desktop next year.
If you’re not already prepared for the shift to mobile and tablet shopping, LISTEN NOW!
How Do I Know if Mobile is Right for my Business?
The trends show that mobile transactions are growing at a huge pace, but investing in a mobile strategy still isn’t right for everyone. If you’re just considering changes for mobiles and tablets, start by checking Google Analytics. Your customers are already telling you what they need through their actions.
Navigate to audience>mobile>overview. The useful summary will tell you how many of your sessions come from desktop, mobile and tablet. You can also see if these sessions are converting to sales.
Step 1: Set your date range to the last 3 full months. Select the pie chart option.
Things to look for:
- The average traffic split is now around 50/50, 50% traffic from desktops and the other 50% from mobile devices which include smartphones and tablets.
- If you fit the average, and you’re not offering mobile users an enhanced shopping experience, you’re probably losing sales.
- If your desktop traffic is still way over 50%, your customer base still prefer desktop computers. Things are likely to shift eventually, so don’t ignore mobile completely, but you probably don’t need to invest as much or change as quickly as others.
Step 2: Compare the date range you have set with the previous period. Select the ‘data’ option, and the ‘Ecommerce’ tab.
Things to look for:
- How much has traffic from each device increased or decreased in this time? Which has increased the most?
- If you’ve seen sharp increases in mobile and tablet, but little increase or even a decline in desktop, it’s time to make some changes for your mobile device users.
- If everything has increased well, it looks like you are growing your business for those on all devices. But are those sessions converting as well on all devices?
- Have transactions increased in line with sessions? How about revenue? What’s happened to conversion rates?
- If your sessions from mobile devices have increased but transactions and revenue haven’t, chances are it’s not easy for mobile users to buy from you. They are choosing to visit your site on a mobile device, so make things easier for them.
- Check conversion rates on mobile and tablets. If one of these, or both, are particularly low compared to desktop, take a look at your site on a tablet or mobile and check how things function. What could you improve to make buying easier?
There’s plenty more insight that Google Analytics will give on mobile, but this broad overview is certainly a good starting point. It will quickly show you how big mobile is for your business, and where to focus your efforts. It’s also a good starting point for businesses who already have a mobile or responsive website. It can help to provide a quick check on areas from improvement, and things that might not be working as well as they can. If you haven’t given your mobile strategy much thought recently it could be time for a refresh.
If you want to make your website ‘mobile’, you will need to decide whether to choose a responsive (the same content renders to suit the screen size), dynamic serving (generates different HTML for different devices) or separate site (detects the device and sends the user to a mobile version of the site). Each of these has advantages and disadvantages and only you can decide what’s right for your site. Responsive design tends to be better for Google as it avoids duplication and consolidates authority, but getting the best user experience for your customers should be the deciding factor.
Your choice will also depend on the resources you have available to maintain your website. Separate versions will both need attention, whereas a responsive site allows you to focus your efforts on just one site. Whichever you choose, taking action rather than avoiding the issue is now becoming increasingly important as it is soon to affect Google rankings as well as user experience. Read on to find out more.
If you’re considering a mobile app, think carefully. Apps can be powerful and exciting marketing tools but they’re not for every business.
When deciding if an app is right for you, first determine what it will bring to the users. Why will they use your app rather than your website or social media and what will keep them engaged with it? If you can answer these questions you have a good starting point, but will the app benefit your business? Will it drive sales, generate revenue or provide a service to customers?
One of the top ecommerce apps available is the eBay app. It works well because it offers customers more streamlined functionality than the website alone. It’s relevant to mobile because customers want to check auctions wherever they go. It also makes it easier to sell items as you can take photos on a smartphone and upload them directly to a new listing. eBay and apps. It works. If you can’t marry your business with apps in a similar way, you’re probably better off spending your time and money elsewhere.
However, if you have a local element to your business you could benefit from the use of apps that have already been developed by experts. I’ll illustrate this using restaurants as an example. Potential customers who are unfamiliar with their location may turn to location specific apps to discover places to eat in the vicinity. They might also be seeking out deals. Will they find your restaurant?
There are many popular restaurant mobile apps, Target Local have rounded up some of the best for local restaurants. Many are free to add your listing, so can you afford not to be there?
With 61% of smartphone users performing searches on their mobile devices, don’t forget about mobile search.
If you are running PPC campaigns you can use the ‘devices’ settings in AdWords to adjust targeting to different devices. However, if you are sending mobile users to your site via PPC ads, make sure you are sending them to a mobile optimised site or you will be wasting your clicks! You should also optimise your ads for mobile, using offers and calls to action that resonate with such users.
Don’t be disheartened if mobile traffic doesn’t convert as well. Many consumers are still using their smart phones to research, then returning to purchase later on a desktop or tablet. If they haven’t found you during their research phase then they’ll buy elsewhere, but if you’re prominent in mobile search then you will stand out as a contender, and may be the one they return to for their purchase.
Hopefully you already have a website that’s well optimised for search engines. If so, here are the factors that Moz suggests you focus on for better performance in mobile search:
You should optimise your titles and meta descriptions bearing in mind that mobile devices have less screen space, so being concise is best. Site design should be focused on mobile users, avoiding flash and popups that can be problematic to those using mobile devices. Page speed is also an important consideration for mobile users. Try to improve it as much as you can.
However, if you are still working on this it’s worth being aware that Google has recently announced that on the 21st April 2015 there will be an update to the mobile ranking algorithm. Typically Google never announces or confirms an update this far in advance. If they do make an announcement, it is usually on the day of the rollout and it is often a cryptic message that neither confirms nor denies the impact of the new update.
As they’ve given so much advance warning, it seems likely that this mobile update will have what Google have stated as “a significant impact in our search results.” You can read Google’s full announcement here: https://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html
If you want to see how your site fares, firstly take a look to see if your site displays the mobile-friendly badge. If it does, the Google update should be a positive change for you.
For further information, run your site through Google’s mobile friendly test: https://www.google.co.uk/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. It’s worth running some of the key pages of your site though to make sure you don’t have any issues on any particular pages. A good result will look like this:
But if you do experience something like this:
You will notice that there are a list of actions to help you comply, and improve your results. If you gain a lot of traffic through mobile search you should be looking to update your site as soon as possible to make sure you don’t lose out to sites that are better optimised than yours.
On top of this, if you have shops, show rooms, visitor centres or the like, make sure you are well optimised for local search. Mobile devices are more likely to show results that are near the user at the time of the search, so good local optimisation will help you to appear when your business is relevant to the query.
As well as using mobiles to buy, over 65% of emails are now opened on a mobile device. If you are sending sales or even newsletter emails, make sure they provide mobile users with the best experience possible.
If you’re using Mailchimp, refresh your template for 2015. Make sure you’re using one that’s responsive and it will automatically render for smaller screens. Check things over on different devices or use inbox inspection before you send though, as you might find that things don’t flow as you expected when blocks move around to fit a different space.
This shift in accessing emails is also influencing the attention span of the consumer. You won’t have as long to grab their attention, in fact, the average attention span is just 8 seconds. So keep your message simple and powerful.
Often overlooked, text messaging can be a simple, quick and cost-effective way to get a marketing message to your customers. It’s best used for short, sharp and really beneficial offers, but use it sparingly as it is quite an intrusive method of marketing.
Some marketers shy away from text marketing as they think their customers will see it as disruptive. However, Exact Target found that 91% of users who subscribe to a brand’s text see them as useful.
It is surprising that it is still rarely used by brands as Forbes magazine state “95 out of 100 of your customers who have opted into your text messaging program OPEN and READ your mobile messages within 3 mins.” Wow. What other marketing channel can offer you that?
There are a variety of services you can use for text messaging such as Text Local and Text Marketer, with prices per text starting at 2.2p. Text messaging can also be a popular way to update customers on the status and whereabouts of their order. Customers may appreciate updates directly to their phone when they’re on the go, so this is something else you could consider as part of your mobile strategy.
There’s plenty to think about when creating a mobile strategy for your business, so hopefully this article has helped you consider some of the basics. What’s right for your business depends on your customer’s habits and preferences, so think about your strategy carefully. Some small and cost effective changes could bring you huge returns as customer behaviour shifts. Take mobile seriously, it’s BIG NEWS!