Look Before You Leap Into M-commerce

With smartphone market penetration crossing the 50% mark this year there are plenty of reasons to get excited about m-commerce. Before you jump in with both feet though, it’s worthwhile looking at the bigger picture.

Recently we did some consumer research into m-commerce buying behaviours and made some interesting discoveries.

  • 43% of consumers placed orders on mobile devices more than a few times a year
  • 33% of m-commerce users expressed concerns about security.

This is good news for online retailers – the market is still taking off and customer concerns about security suggest not everyone is getting it right. Our conclusion is that m-commerce offers great opportunities, but that mobilisation projects need to be planned carefully. We recommend the following three steps for all those journeying into the m-commerce world:

Check out your traffic:

Your Google Analytics report will tell you exactly what devices your customers are users and allow you to contrast and compare bounce rates and conversion rates. See if you can use them to estimate what your mobile sales are likely to be and use this as a basis for budgeting and justifying your investment.

Think like a customer:

Avoid making assumptions; in our survey 73% of consumers said they used m-commerce at home. Try to find out where they are when they are browsing your site from and why. Depending on the products and services you sell, customer buying behaviours will vary. To maximise the opportunity design your mobile site around their needs, not yours.

One SellerDeck user, Relton Europe has adopted this approach. As Hayley Thompson explained:

“A lot of our customers work on site (e.g. plumbers, installers, tradesmen) and need a simple, effective way to find the items and parts they require. A responsive, mobile-optimised ecommerce website delivers our products directly to our customers, wherever they are. We are very pleased with the results and have already rolled out this responsive design technique across another of our websites.”

Help browsers to feel secure:

Making people feel safe means more than displaying the padlock on your payment page. Other things can unsettle customers, such as slow and buggy designs and touch-screen interfaces that aren’t supported. Also, customers won’t relish sitting on a crowded bus, keying in payment details either.

Mobilisation is more than making your online store work on a smartphone. It may be a website, but your customers will expect it to behave more like an app, enabling them to speedily call you or find your outlets in their map applications. If you can’t deliver that plus a checkout process that is simple, discrete and visibly secure, then your sales will underperform.

This may sound like it’s hard but it isn’t. One of our partners, Teclan, is already building stores that automatically adapt to the browser environments they are loaded into. Moreover, payment systems, such as PayPal, can reduce checkout to the entry of username and password.

One of the benefits of the hype m-commerce has received over the last few years is that the technology is now fairly mature. There’s never been a better time to take the plunge.


Chris Barling, is the Chairman of ecommerce software and EPOS systems supplier, SellerDeck

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