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How Merchants Can Optimize Mobile in a Smartphone-Saturated Market

This is the latest installment in FN’s series “Tech Tuesdays.” Each week, FN will take a closer look at an area of digital innovation and explore how these technologies are impacting the way footwear operates. The shoe industry is known for combining heritage craftsmanship with the latest advances: This column will examine that intersection.

E-commerce has been booming, but it’s the mobile sales channel that has been seeing the biggest growth. Smartphone usage is high across all demographics, although younger shoppers are particularly known for their interest in mobile purchasing; recent data from Sitecore found that 53% of Gen-Z respondents said it was important that a retailer have a site that operates well on mobile.

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This is a key distinction because while some retailers might conflate their desktop and mobile channels, the user experience is very different on each. From a surface level perspective, mobile screens show far less information than their desktop counterparts; brands need to be smart about what they choose to display, in order to keep consumers engaged and able to navigate to their preferred product quickly.

“Customers tends to look at fewer products in a mobile shopping session, meaning that the recommendations, featured image and price have to connect with them in fewer clicks (or swipes) than on a desktop,” said Olivier Schott, CMO at global e-commerce solution Scalefast. “When you can only have one app open on your phone at a time, it is much easier to abandon a page – so any obstacle in the mobile experience is likely to lose a sale.”

For retailers wanting to optimize their mobile performance, attention must be paid to what product is being highlighted on the home page and how easy it is to navigate through to relevant search categories. By partnering with a dedicated mobile commerce solution, newcomers can receive expert analysis on which placements perform best and tailor their display accordingly.

Schott also recommends that brands take into account the intent of the smartphone browser, as opposed to the desktop user. Mobile shoppers are more likely to be impulse shoppers, who arrive on the site after clicking through an email or social media promotion; desktop users are more likely to arrive organically with a specific purchase in mind. As a result, mobile shoppers are more likely to abandon a purchase once the impulse fades.

“Brands must ensure their mobile sales platforms are impulse-friendly before customers will take the leap from browsing on their phones, to actually following through with a purchase,” said Schott. “To raise that bar, mobile platforms need to take advantage of their differentiators, things like ‘swipe up’ links, geo-tagging, and targeted product ads to reach these mobile customers.”

While tailored mobile experiences can enhance a consumer’s engagement level, there is also just a base level of site performance that consumers expect. Because of the impulse nature of most browsing visits, mobile journeys are more vulnerable to abandonment due to smaller frustrations in the shopping journey, such as page loading delays.

In order to maximize the efficiency of the mobile experience, retailers should consider partnering with a mobile commerce provider. These solutions can maintain loading speeds and also help condense the checkout journey; when there are too many steps between “add to cart” and order completion, shoppers may decide to leave the site before final purchase.

“With two-thirds of shoppers abandoning online purchases on mobile devices due to poor checkout experiences, removing as much friction as possible will decrease cart abandonment rates and increase conversions,” said Schott. “Brands should keep this in mind: send browse abandonment emails at a faster pace than desktop or send a quick text to bring them back to the site.”

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