More and more shoppers are doing their online shopping through their mobiles. After all, why fire up the PC or the laptop, when you have a perfectly good mini computer in your back pocket?
For you as an online vendor though, this means that you need to optimize the checkout process for your mobile shoppers. It's not enough to let them access the site through their mobile web app and hope they navigate it correctly. To get the most from your store, you're going to have to make a few tweaks.
Many big sellers, such as Amazon, choose to go the whole hog and create their own app. That's certainly something you can do if you have a wide enough client base. If you don't have it though, you're better off optimizing your page for mobile web users. Here's everything you need to know, and some tips for getting the most out of your store and checkout.
Make it better for thumbs
The one major difference between mobile shoppers and PC shoppers is that mobile shoppers aren't using a mouse. The vast majority of them use their thumbs, so they need a different kind of layout to support that.
According to research by UX Matters, 49% of mobile users either use their phones one-handed, 36% use it cradled and only 15% of mobile users touch their phone with both hands. That means that you now know what they can reach on the screen anytime.
With this knowledge, look at how your checkout is laid out on the mobile screen. The most important aspects of the page, such as the 'buy now' button, should be near the bottom. Anything that's higher up the page is going to be harder to reach, so you can keep that for product information or photos. It is information they need, but they aren't necessarily going to need to touch it.
As well as this, remember that thumbs aren't going to be as precise as a mouse button. Because of this, mistakes can be made and the customer could click onto the wrong pages by accident, making the buying process frustrating for them.
You can mitigate this by making buttons bigger and easier to tap on the screen. It's also a good idea to make buttons that stretch the whole way across the screen. That way, the user can see exactly where they have to press to advance.
Don't neglect your content
Good content is always key online, and that includes in mobile checkouts. The way you write may be slightly different, but you will need to pay attention to what you're including. You need to get those texts grammatically correct, every time. If you sent texts filled with errors, it looks incredibly unprofessional and will put them off. If you're serious about your texts, have an expert such as those at Upwork, Oxessays and State of writing to write them for you.
Also, remember that you just don't have the space to be writing long reams of texts on your product pages. The customer won't want to scroll through to find the information they're looking for, so keep it short and to the point. For example, bullet points are a great way to list off features the customer needs to know about.
Don't forget your customer agreements and client policies. It's true that only 1-3% of your customers will read them when they buy from you. There's not much you can do about that, but you can make sure that the customers who do read it see that you've taken care of it, to help them understand what they're agreeing to. As this is the case, try using a writing service such as Paperfellows to get the job done right.
Improve your registration process
This is something that all mobile vendors struggle with. You want customers to sign up with you when they buy. That means they can buy from you again and the process will be simpler for them. On your end, you can target marketing to them, and keep them in the loop on anything they may be interested in.
The problem is, those using mobiles are often looking for a quick and easy purchase. They want to get in and out without having to input too much information. Lots of shopping baskets have been abandoned because the site was asking too much of them.
There are solutions to this problem. The first is to provide a 'guest checkout' option. It's not the best option for you, as you don't get to hold onto the shopper's information, but you do get the sale before they change their mind. Right now, that's the important thing. The customer will appreciate being given the option, and they may even come back again, and this time, decide to sign up.
The other solution is to make signing up quick and easy. On PC, the sign up process can be convoluted, as there are other items on the screen that don't have any bearing on what the customer is doing.
However, on mobile, you can simplify it. Keep the sign up process to one page maximum, and only ask for the information you really need. Also, make your data entry fields context sensitive too. For example, you can add a numeric keypad to a mobile number field.
By doing this, you won't be diverting your customer away from completing checkout and buying their items. It's still a quick process, and now you have the customer's details saved for a speedier checkout next time they use your store.
Keep your mobile site secure
We've come a long way since the 'wild west' days of online shopping. Customers now know that they can trust a site if it has certain safety protocols in place. If a site is available on HTTPS and can display security certificates– customers know that their data is safe.
However, mobile users are still wary about shopping on their phones. It's true that it can be more dangerous than shopping on a PC, but it doesn't have to be. Mobiles can be used anywhere too, so there's the worry of details being stolen over public Wi-Fi networks. If you've done your job correctly, your mobile site is just as secure as your PC one. However, you need to convince your customers of this.
The one way to do this is to use social proof. User reviews on your mobile site can do the job on your mobile site. Make them big and obvious, and encourage the customer to check them out. If they can see that others have had positive experiences shopping with you, then they're more likely to have one themselves.
Check out the post Word of Mouth Marketing: How to Get People Talking about Your Business for more.
As well as this, make good use of trust icons. Your security provider will have some available for you. For example, Norton offers the Norton Secured icon for you to use. They're recognizable and trustworthy. It means customers will be more likely to buy from you. Keep your trust icons large and visible at all times. Most online sellers keep them either at the top or the bottom or above the screen.
Remove the distractions from your store
Mobile shoppers are easily distracted. Who can blame them? They have a whole galaxy of choice and information, right there in the palm of their hand. This is bad news for you though, as it means customers can click away from your site at any moment and never return.
To avoid that, remove everything that is redundant on your screen.Another way to remove distractions is to keep links out of the checkout process. You may want to give the customer extra information, such as an FAQ or return policy, but remember you want to keep them in the checkout process. Use drop down menus to deliver this information, without directing them away from the site.
Make your checkout process quick
Besides being distracted, mobile customers also don't have the patience to hang around for too long. Any hang–ups in the shopping process, and they'll head off elsewhere to buy that product. Don't let simple issues stop you from making a sale!
First of all, make sure your website is optimized correctly. Each page should load within a second or two. If it takes longer, it can 'hang', and the customer could assume that your site isn't working correctly. Because of this, they're less likely to trust your site and will head off elsewhere. Avoid this by making sure your site is up to date, and ready for mobile browsing.
Secondly, make use of progress bars. Many shopping baskets are abandoned because the customer feels it's taking too long to get through the checkout process. Avoid this by making it clear to the shoppers how long exactly they'll be at the checkout on your site. You can use a progress bar at the top of the page, showing them where they are and what’s left to do. Mark each section with a label too, so they know what's coming up. Customers appreciate this and are much more likely to stick around.
Make good use of auto-complete and address finders
The less information a customer has to put in, the better. It gets them through checkout quicker, and one step closer to finding that product on their doorstep. That's why tools such as auto complete and address finders are so important.
Rachel Morrison, a SEO-expert at Resumention states: “Customers will be used to auto complete working on their PCs, so if they use the same browser on mobile then they can auto-complete certain information, such as phone numbers, in your checkout process. This saves time and helps them get onto the next section as quickly as they can.”
Also, address finders are becoming standard now in online shopping. All your customers will have to do is to input their home number and postcode, and then the system finds their address for them. As this is one of the the most complicated things to input on a phone, this can save an awful lot of hassle.
Customers are coming to expect these tools in their online shopping experiences, so make sure you're including them on your site.
Get to know your customer
The mobile shopper is a different person to the one who shops on their laptop, and you must get to know them. As you've seen, they expect different things when they're shopping through their phone. They want:
- Your site to load quickly, and get them where they want to go.
- The checkout process to be quick and painless.
- The option not to have to register to buy from you.
- The safety and security they expect from shopping on a PC.
As the vendor, it's your job to provide all of this. If you do, you'll soon see the benefits. Never lose a mobile customer again!