Recent advances in technology have brought a great deal of change in daily life. Mobile phones specifically have become harbingers of technology as their capabilities increase and their operating systems become more and more robust. Studies estimate that by the end of 2013, more people will be using smartphones to access the internet than desktops.
There is great emphasis being put on making websites responsive so they can adjust to mobile screens for a better user experience. Although most websites should be optimized for mobiles, this transition is the most important one when it comes to ecommerce sites.
As smartphones spread throughout the modern world, the importance of focusing on Mcommerce is increasing. Statistics show that yearly sales by Mcommerce will reach $17.2 Billion by the end of the year 2013 and is expected to reach up to $31 Billion by 2015. A survey in 2013 also revealed that 41% of smartphone users have used their mobile in order to make a purchase online. In fact, the manner in which smartphones are used in order to make a purchase have become much more versatile. Consumers today have used their smartphone in order to:
- Find retailer locations
- Call retailers
- Compare prices of products
- Read product information and reviews
- Search for discounts and promotions
Website or application?
While the decision behind the creation of a website, mobile app or both is entirely up to you, it is extremely important to have a presence on at least one of the mediums. Since an m-commerce website may be a little bulky to operate, apps are favored by entrepreneurs.
What an Application Entails
When creating a mobile application, you need to first take into consideration the number of operating systems available on the market today. The most popular ones are the iOS by Apple Inc. and the Android by Google. The Windows phone follows in third place. Most applications decisions are made between the iOS and Android. While it is preferable to have a native application for both of them, budget constraints often cause entrepreneurs to choose one over the other.
Crucial to mobile apps is that user experience is everything. With touch interfaces on smartphones today, businesses need to take advantage of that feature in order to make the customer experience much more interactive and personal. Adding all these features however has the setback of making the application or website lag, causing a hindrance in the user experience. The speed of the application is an essential factor which determines experience. If an app isn’t loading on time, your user will simply move on to another that does. Try not to make the app too visually heavy. This may be a challenge if you want to showcase a product. Look for file compression software that allows you to retain the quality of the image and is light on the processor.
Optimize for mobile screens
You need to consider most if not all mobile screen sizes available today. Your customers will have every perceivable screen size and it is your job to make sure that the content on the Mcommerce application fits into that screen properly. Ideally, users like viewing the entire product image on the screen without having to scroll.
Easy Checkout process
The checkout process is incredibly important when it comes to an ecommerce site. This concern is doubled when you start considering mobile commerce. Since customers are usually making purchases while on the go, they may be more wary of entering sensitive financial information into their cell phones. To make the checkout process convenient, you could opt for a third party payment service such as PayPal so customers only have to enter login information. Alternatively you can have a professionally designed checkout page where you ask for minimal information.
The home screen of an application usually contains different features of the application. Common features include a product catalogue, the checkout cart, favorite items and even a discount panel. Make sure that navigating between these panels is easy and that users don’t necessarily have to keep reverting to the home page in order to access another panel. If a customer is browsing the catalog ad wants to add a product to their favorites list, they should be able to do so. Similarly, when a favorite item is being purchased, they should be seamlessly redirected towards the checkout.
Mcommerce is changing the way that people are shopping. This is especially important as the holidays come closer and crowds hit the stores. People looking to avoid such situations have found solace in online purchases.
Another common phenomenon in mcommerce is the bargain hunter. They make informed decisions by doing thorough research and finding the best deals.
Mcommerce applications should ultimately always lead towards one thing; a higher conversion rate. What is perhaps the biggest advantage that mcommerce apps have over websites is that they sit on the home screens of potential customers serving as a constant reminder of their existence.