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How To Unlock Revenue With A Better Mobile Shopping Experience


BetterMobileShoppingExperiencesIt’s hard to remember what life looked like before mobile phones took over. They’re the first thing we reach for when we wake up, and the last thing we see before we fall asleep. We are hooked on them all day as we work, watch, play, browse, and of course, shop. 

The pandemic only deepened this habit and made us more sophisticated digital consumers. 

In 2020, online sales hit $791.70 billion, which is up 32.4% from the year prior, according to the U.S. Census Bureau figures. Retail brands had to respond quickly to lockdowns by adding contactless payments, offering buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) and curbside options, and catering to an avalanche of online orders. Brands that could deliver a convenient, customized, and frictionless omnichannel experience through it all are emerging as leaders. 

As the marketplace continues to adjust and evolve, almost all enterprise retail brands have realized one thing — today’s consumers use all the devices at their disposal to expedite their shopping journey. And it’s a journey that often starts in the digital domain. In fact, a recent RSR study found that 88% of participating enterprise retail brands either strongly agree or agree that supporting new digital touchpoints will help them attract more customers.

Given that more than half of all retail ecommerce in 2021 is expected to be generated via mobile commerce, how best to optimize the shopping experience on this channel is the multi-billion-dollar puzzle all retail brands are racing to solve.   

The mobile conundrum

There remains, however, a curious incongruity in consumers’ mobile commerce behaviour. While an ever-increasing number of shoppers are happy to browse on their mobile devices, many bail out during checkout. Average mobile add-to-cart rates in 2020 were 8.96% compared to 4.35% on desktop, but conversion rates for mobile (0.8%) considerably lagged those for desktops (3%), and tablets (2.5%). 

The reason, according to Anatolii lakimets, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Bold Commerce, lies partly in size. 

“Swiping, pinching, and toggling on a small screen between multiple apps, websites, products, or product categories to compare prices, reviews or features can be cumbersome,” he says.

Shoppers also fail to complete a purchase because of the tedium of entering credit card info and a shipping address into the small screen. These reasons reveal why native apps perform three times better than mobile websites. 

In addition to usability challenges for customers, creating a seamless mobile experience across touchpoints means considerable integration and operational constraints for brands. For example, to successfully implement omnichannel strategies like click and collect or scan and go a platform needs to support multiple delivery options and unified view on inventory. “This can definitely be a challenge with monolithic legacy platforms that are often siloed and integrating to which is a painful process,” lakimets notes. 

An elegant, progressive solution

While there are mobile design best practices that can hone some of the usability issues in the checkout experience, lakimets recommends PWAs (progressive web applications) as an elegant solution to both usability and integration constraints. 

PWAs can be used from the web and launched from a mobile device’s home screen much like a native app. They support a variety of features that enhance usability, including offline access, push notifications, and native device interactions. PWAs can also better leverage an API-first, headless architecture where the frontend and backend of the system are decoupled for added flexibility.

PWAs have been proven to improve mobile conversion rates by as much as 36%. As a matter of fact, Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba built a PWA that improved its mobile conversions by as much as 76%. 

Tips to curb mobile cart abandonment

In addition to adopting a headless platform approach, retail brands can reduce cart abandonment by adopting some of these mobile checkout best practices:

    • Guest checkout: Data reveals that cart abandonment is far more likely when shoppers feel forced into creating website accounts, with 14% of customers ditching purchases when they realize no guest option is available.

    • Social login (especially for mobile): Facebook research reveals on implementing social login, delivery service Rappi enjoyed a 35% higher order value and double the retention rate four weeks following signup.
    • One-page-checkout: Modern checkout solutions could consider including an out-of-the-box one-page checkout for mobile users to reduce the number of steps or pages to the final checkout. Including all fields on the same page leads to fewer clicks and a higher conversion rate at 46%, compared to 43.2% for multi-page checkout.
    • Cross-device checkout: More and more people treat their digital shopping carts as storage where they can save items to access later on another device. That is why it is important to offer shoppers a checkout experience that is consistent and seamless across devices and channels.
    • Unique checkout flow: In today’s highly competitive and commoditized retail universe, the real differentiation lies in the overall shopping experience rather than specific product. A user flow that is unique, easy to use, customized, and memorable will help brands stand out. 
    • A/B testing: And once you’ve implemented any of these best practices, don’t forget to conduct A/B testing to see which ones work best in your context. You might want to test whether a single-page checkout does in fact convert better for you than a multi-page checkout, or if reducing visual clutter improves cart abandonment by limiting distractions.  

While omnichannel ecommerce has opened up new retail avenues, it has also given birth to the fickle shopper easily distracted and disenchanted by any bumps in the shopping journey. The key to success lies in converting these one-off consumers into lifelong customers by offering a consistently delightful end-to-end shopping experience — from discovery to delivery. With innovation and change happening at such frequent regularity, that is only now possible when ecommerce platforms are powered by robust and flexible APIs. 

Download “Retail ecommerce in context: the next iteration,” sponsored by Bold Commerce, here

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This originally appeared on Bold Commerce and is made available here to cast a wider net of discovery.
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