Guest Post by Travis Lee
By the end of 2012, mobile purchases will account for 3% of ecommerce sales. That’s $10 billion that people will spend via smartphones. Forrester Research also predicts that by 2016 those numbers will grow to 7% and $31 billion. That’s a significant portion of sales that no business can afford to ignore. So, is your business ready for mobile ecommerce?
One way to capture some of the mobile revenue stream is with an app. An ecommerce mobile app can allow your customers to buy from you quickly and easily, anytime and anywhere, as long as it’s well-designed. An effective mobile app needs to be functional and user-friendly, and, most importantly, it needs to be simple.
Simple is Fast Mobile users are implicitly on-the-go. They often don’t have a lot of time to devote to any single action on their smartphones; they value the ability to accomplish things quickly and efficiently. If a task takes too long, they’re likely to stop trying. As for mobile shopping, browsing and purchasing functions that are too time-consuming to use go against everything mobile users want. If it’s not going to be fast, they might as well wait until they get home and do it on their laptops. Unfortunately, by that time they may have lost the impulse to buy, and you’ll lose customers and sales. Simplicity is absolutely necessary for the speediness of your app.
Simple is Easy Another thing that’s important to smartphone users is usability. Your app absolutely must be easy to use, so it needs to be simple. Complex apps with lots of bells and whistles will not impress mobile users, and mobile users will actually be turned off by a complex app. In most cases, they prefer to use either a simple app or no app at all. While using your app, there should be absolutely no confusion about how it works, or about how to perform essential functions like searching for products, getting product information, and completing purchases. Customers do not want to experience any hassle in order to give you their money.
What Makes an App Simple? No matter what is being sold, all ecommerce mobile apps are essentially the same. Your app should allow people to browse your product catalog, add products to a shopping cart, and complete the sales transaction without ever leaving the app. It doesn’t have to do much more than that, although it might be wise to add a store locator tool that can help people quickly and easily find a brick-and-mortar store nearby, as well as a link to your mobile website.
Text Input Users should not be required to enter a lot of text while using your app. The less text input, the better, because most smartphone users find typing to be a big pain.
Clicking/Categories Users should be able to easily click the buttons on your app through the small screen of their smartphone. They also shouldn’t be required to do too much clicking. Make it easy by providing users with category menus that will help them narrow down your inventory to exactly what they’re looking for.
Shopping Cart Users should not be confused about how to add items to their shopping carts or how to view them. Sales conversion is the aspect of your app where simplicity is especially important. Keep your “add to cart” button above the fold on the screen.
Smartphone users are an important market for your business. Catering to them with an ecommerce mobile app that is simple to use will help you capitalize on their growing sales potential.
Travis Lee is an SEO and branding professional who generates content with the goal of helping others implement successful digital marketing strategies.