According to a December 2016 Business Insider article, the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that mobile commerce made up 11.6 percent of total U.S. retail sales in 2014. That’s around $35 billion out of a total of $303 billion in the industry, and it’s certainly nothing to sneeze at. As a small business, you may be deliberating how to expand into the potentially lucrative arena of m-commerce. You’ll need more than just a snazzy website and shopping cart capabilities, however. It’s essential to find a web design and hosting provider that offers mobile-specific features for your site.
Key Differences Between M-Commerce and E-Commerce
Properly speaking, m-commerce is a subset of e-commerce. M-commerce is comprised of sales that occur when customers purchase goods and service on a tablet or smartphone. Critical technological differences exist between the tools and methods used to access the web on a PC or laptop versus on a mobile device. When these realities are not factored into a retailer’s site design, the lack of mobile accessibility can leave m-commerce shoppers frustrated to the point of abandoning their purchases. That’s money left on the table, and sales your firm must not forgo in order to stay competitive and grow.
The Business Insider article mentioned earlier listed several typical access problems encountered by shoppers on smartphones and tablets. Display room is at a premium on smaller devices and while graphics and text are sized to compensate, they can still be hard to read. Payment details can be difficult to enter, and the chance of getting it wrong may lead consumers to simply decide not to complete their purchases. Speed is also a crucial factor, with users sometimes finding themselves at the mercy of unreliable cellular data and wi-fi networks. Finally, concerns remain over the security of credit card and other data over mobile connections.
Innovations That Make Mobile Shopping Easier
Thankfully, the usual hurdles to shopping on mobile devices are not insurmountable. Newer and bigger phones, dubbed phablets, are becoming more commonplace. A March 2017 Digital Trends piece mentioned some of these wonders such as the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus with displays of 4.7 and 5.5 inches respectively. Other examples include the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, released in April 2017 and boasting screen sizes of 5.8 and 6.2 inches each. Other innovations such as the one-click purchase options offered by major retailers and the buy button on social media networks such as Facebook are tooled to make purchasing much easier.
Leveraging Your Website Design for M-Commerce
Optimizing your website for m-commerce involves some sophisticated tools, but it needn’t be an exorbitant undertaking. One solution is to choose a website builder that offers the option of creating a mobile edition of your website. Whether as a built-in tool or a quick add-on to your monthly services, this functionality should permit your catalog and products to be viewed with bright, visible and detailed images. Integration with shopping cart and merchant services features is also vital if your m-commerce is to be viable, simple to navigate and encouraging your users to buy from their mobile devices.
A Sound Strategy for Capturing Sales from Mobile Users
The Pew Research Center disclosed in 2015 that nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone. Because of this, the implications for the growth of m-commerce are staggering. Bridging the gap when it comes to common frustrations experienced by mobile shoppers will be essential in taking advantage of a market expected to grow to $284 billion by the year 2020. Despite earlier technological barriers, optimizing for m-commerce is not only possible, but it’s also a critical step for your company. Making your small business’ site mobile-friendly with a smart, robust website builder is one way you can accomplish this.