How to develop a successful m-commerce strategy, 2020 edition

2020 is the year mobile shopping finds its feet. Is your m-commerce strategy ready for the coming surge?

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: ‘by 2022, almost 70 percent of online sales revenue will come from mobile – B2C and B2B’. 

It’s no joke. Transaction volume is rising, traffic is surging, and brands from high street to trading estate are adjusting their channel strategies to keep pace with changing customer habits.

Alongside expectations for growth, the mobile shopping boom also tells you how fiercely contested the space is going to get. E-commerce everywhere is growing by 23 percent annually, and the marketplace gets more crowded with each passing week. 

So the battle to win over mobile shoppers has begun. To get the jump on competitors and win more mobile orders, every brand that sells online will have to raise its m-commerce game. 

Combat on the UX front will be definitive – seeing who can deliver mobile purchase journeys that are simple, seamless, fun, and satisfying. The rest will be fought in the marketing trenches, where the best SEO, ASO, and push-message campaigns will decide who advances and who falls behind.

M-commerce, e-commerce … what’s the difference?

M-commerce is e-commerce for mobile devices. E-commerce is buying something on your PC. M-commerce is buying something using a smartphone (and to a lesser extent, a tablet).

But that’s where the similarities end. Anyone who’s tried buying anything on a smartphone knows that making a purchase on a handheld device is just different

The gestures you use are different, the flow from product selection to payment is different, the information you have easy access to is different, and entering new information via a smartphone keyboard is very different indeed.

The techniques you use to attract, engage, and convert mobile shoppers are distinct as well. The list is lengthy and well-known, but what’s crucial now for any marketer looking to maximise the mobile channel is to design a strategy and select the tactics most appropriate tactics to their customers.

‘By having an overall mobile ecommerce strategy and roadmap, based on mobile behaviour using all mobile channels, you’ll be able to provide a seamless mobile experience 24-7.’

A winning m-commerce strategy is more than tactics

Ask most ecommerce brands if they have a m-commerce strategy and often you’ll hear ‘we have channel strategies, and we’re really focused on improving our mobile responsive website’.

But that’s not enough. An effective mobile strategy in 2020 requires clarity of buyer needs and mobile behavior, what constitutes an effective mobile buying journey, and all the different channels and touchpoints that could lead to conversion. 

Smartphones are the new storefronts and the buying journey is extremely fragmented. Each touchpoint represents a critical interaction that can make or break the sale and impact brand affinity. By having an overall mobile ecommerce strategy and roadmap, based on mobile behaviour using all mobile channels, you’ll be able to provide a seamless mobile experience 24-7. 

But before we dive too deeply into strategy, let’s be clear about what we mean.

We’re not talking about a list of tactics. This is about mapping a route to mobile success. 

It combines all of your predetermined, highly refined goals into a single document, effectively providing your team with a clear plan for hitting them.

Think of it as a playbook that will direct your entire team’s UX and marketing plans, and focus efforts on sustainable conversion and loyalty.

‘As aisles are replaced by pages and dropdown menus, the overall shopping experience can end up being squeezed and diminished.’

Smartphones are the new storefronts

Smartphones are the new storefronts. With a flick of the finger, consumers can go from Store A, to Store B, to Store C without looking back. It’s like having an entire mall in the palm of your hands.

As aisles are replaced by pages and dropdown menus, the overall shopping experience can end up being squeezed and diminished. It’s no surprise then that the average conversion rate in a physical retail store is (still) 10 times higher than the conversion rate of the average mobile store.

Improving the handheld storefront means looking at a different set of channels and marketing tactics to create a seamless shopping experience.

That’s the only way you’ll overcome the m-commerce gap. What’s that is?

ComScore’s Mobile Hierarchy of Needs’ report describes it as retailers’ collective inability to capitalize on the mobile share of consumer time, with a gap between the share of minutes and dollar spent on a mobile shopping site. 

In short, many consumers aren’t happy with the overall mobile experience. They’ll go to a mobile site and browse, possibly begin a sale, but then leave in frustration.

Four of the top five reasons cited by consumers for not making a purchase revolved around a sub-par experience on mobile, including deficiencies in browsing and product discovery.

‘The m-commerce gap is best described by the retailers’ collective inability to capitalize on the mobile share of consumer time, with a gap between the share of minutes and dollar spent on a mobile shopping site. ‘

m-commerce gap
m-commerce gap and m-commerce apps

‘One key way to bridge the m-commerce gap is by adding mobile apps to the mix.’

M-commerce needs more than mobile websites

One key way to bridge the m-commerce gap is by adding mobile apps to the mix. 

Going where customers lead is essential, and increasingly they’re moving towards apps when they want to shop. 

People spent 90% of Their Mobile Time Using Apps in 2019. Yes, social and gaming apps are leading, but retail apps are actually number 4 on the list.

It’s where the buying happens too.

Mobile-responsive websites have been an essential stage in smartphone’s shopping evolution, but mobile apps convert shoppers at a much higher rate – up to 3-times more in the US and as much as 5-times more in Asia. 

They also increase loyalty. Apps account for over 70 percent of mobile shopping transactions in North America. The trend extends across most of the world’s advanced mobile markets. 

According to e-commerce analysts Criteo, any business selling online needs to make shopping apps a cornerstone of channel strategy. Otherwise they risk leaving money and revenue opportunities ‘on the table’, as mobile transactions extend beyond the confines of mobile websites.

What does a winning mobile commerce strategy look like?

With over 60 to 70 percent of web traffic now arriving from mobile devices, your m-commerce strategy has to be the focus of attention.

Here’s how to build one in 2020:

Map out the (mobile) buyer journey

Although we’ve seen an increase of 20% in mobile share of online sessions, there’s been a decrease of 18% in time spent per visit. Web sessions on mobile are turning into micro moments. 

The trick to leveraging these is to be present across all stages of the purchase journey, not just when someone is ready to buy. To accomplish this, you have to know the micro-moments that matter to your brand and create the right mix of content, channel and tactic.

  • Awareness: Your brand has to be there when customers search for products, or be able to pop-up during mobile browsing. Think of great blog posts that will increase findability on search terms like ‘trendy summer clothes 2020’. Or think of great social or Google ads with the right timing and target group. Studies have shown that you can increase unaided brand awareness by 46 percent, simply by showing up in mobile search ad results.
  • Engagement: Once you’ve succeeded in catching the target group, you need to engage with them. Think of ways to present your products in an inspiring way, perhaps using look books, sliders, videos and reviews. Chat services, great product info and reviews will increase the engagement, but also having an app that integrates with your physical store to help customers get their questions answered. After all, 69% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps help them easily find answers to their questions.
  • Conversion: When it comes to converting, it’s all about providing the right flow during the ‘I’m ready to buy moment’. If searching, adding and buying products isn’t logical or quick, you will lose the moment. 29 percent of smartphone users will immediately switch to another site or app if their needs aren’t immediately satisfied. Apps can integrate with all the online payment types. They can save credentials and offer many other features to support quick buying behavior, like buying products through scanning a barcode. By adding a smart app banner to your site, you can shift mobile visitors to your app.
  • Loyalty: If a consumer has already been to your company’s website, made a purchase or left items in their shopping cart, they’ve told you a lot about their needs. Segment your customers by their past behavior, and you can present them with right messaging, direct them to your call center or store, and use what you know to make their experience frictionless. Push notifications to inform customers about the latest collections, or location-based ads and push campaigns can do the trick. When it comes to mobile loyalty, also think about loyalty programs and integrating them with mobile payment options.

‘The Ubers, Netflixes, and Amazons of this world have set the new standard in terms of customer experience, and this has contributed to elevated expectations. By reducing friction at every turn and making everything readily available at our fingertips, they’ve earned our loyalty and our wallets.’

Make the mobile design and usability effortless.

The “e” in e-commerce should stand for “effortless.” Design plays a big part in this. In the words of Shopify: “The Ubers, Netflixes, and Amazons of this world have set the new standard in terms of customer experience, and this has contributed to elevated expectations. By reducing friction at every turn and making everything readily available at our fingertips, they’ve earned our loyalty and our wallets.”

World-class designers understand that great design is about subtracting, not adding. It’s about removing friction and unlocking instant value for whoever, whenever, and wherever. Every interaction should require as little effort as possible. In the age of nanodesign, it’s up to designers to do the heavy lifting, not the users. 

We’d love to help

M-commerce is quickly leaving old-school e-commerce in the dust. Marketers across industries now expect mobile to be their main channel for online commerce.

In 2018 mobile internet traffic overtook desktop for the first time, accounting for 52 percent of global website visits. Since then its consistently grown its share of web traffic, outstripping desktop by 60 percent to 31 percent. 

For retailers, mobile traffic is even more dominant – 70 percent to desktop’s 29 percent – with 64 percent coming from smartphones alone.

Under COVID-19 lockdown, consumers and businesses were forced to shift to e-commerce en masse, and while adoption was forced for many, it gave a huge number of e-commerce holdouts their first taste of the ease and simplicity of buying online. That’s certain to drive further growth in e-commerce, and m-commerce will benefit from the same trend.

With so many new e-customers waiting to be engaged and converted, you need to jump on the opportunity to grasp that new population of prospects for your online offer.

Are you thinking about how to optimize  your channel mix and formulate a winning m-commerce strategy? We’d love to help. Check out JMango360’s solutions for maximizing m-commerce results.

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