From scannable bar-codes to apps to mobile versions of popular retail websites, it's clear that mobile commerce is here to stay --Is your business ready?

From scannable bar-codes to apps to mobile versions of popular retail websites, it’s clear that mobile commerce is here to stay – and growing. Indeed, the number of sales completed via mobile commerce is expected to quadruple by 2017. So with mobile commerce set to explode, are you ready?

About Mobile Commerce

Mobile commerce is a subset of e-commerce; it refers to retail purchases made using cell phones and tablets. Tablet and smartphone users make up the largest group making mobile purchases, but anyone with a monthly data plan is a potential customer. But be aware: Consumers expect the same quick loading, access to content, and ease of use from their cell phones as they get from their home computers, which means that mobile commerce comes with its own set of challenges, but it is essential to any modern sales plan.

One thing to keep in mind as you address this growing trend is that customers may use several devices in the process of making a single purchase. For example, customers may learn about a product through social media on their phone, and then buy it at home on their desktop; or they may see a product while browsing at home and then decide to buy it using their tablet on the way to work. This means that consistency and easy access are important across all your sales mediums.

Checklist

What are the key points your business must be aware of to meet the increasing demand for mobile sales?

  • Create a mobile-friendly website: The mobile version of your website should load quickly and be easy to navigate. This means making sure it fits mobile screens and reducing the amount of information on each page.
  • Understand a tablet-friendly website: Tablet users make up a significant portion of mobile sales. Make sure your photos are high-quality and site easy to navigate on a tablet.
  • Streamline the checkout process: Difficulty checking out is one of the biggest deterrents for mobile customers. Using a third-party website, or having a sign-in system that requires customers to enter their credit card information only once, helps with security and ease of use.
  • Keep it consistent: Your mobile website may have a different layout than your company website, but it’s important that customers be offered the same promotions, products, and brand experience.
  • Consider your customer base: For example, if you have many affluent, repeat customers, investing in a mobile app can be worthwhile; if you rely on many new online customers or you target people with lower incomes, an app won’t help much.

Ultimately, consumers expect to receive the same service and products from their smartphones and tablets as they do from your main website or your physical store. Develop your strategy for capturing mobile sales with the above information in mind. Your mobile site isn’t a side note to the rest of your sales strategy. It’s an integral part of your business as a whole.

 

About the author:  Kristen Graminga is Chief  Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm offering cell phone credit card reader. She brings more than 15 years of experience in the bankcard industry in direct sales, sales management, and marketing to the company and also serves on its Board of Directors.