By now, most business leaders agree that mobile is a necessary part of business strategy, as customers increasingly rely on smartphones and other mobile devices for transactions. Mobile growth is strong and on the rise; and our recent research shows that top mobile players significantly outperform their peers.
So, if you’re a startup in a crowded space, make sure you have the "M" factor -- a rock-star mobile strategy -- because it will be critical to your success.
In our recent analysis of consumer shopping trends, we have found that the top quarter of U.S. retailers generate almost 40 percent of their ecommerce transactions from mobile -- compared to just 27 percent for all retailers. In contrast, for the bottom quartile of retailers, just 5 to 10 percent of transactions come from mobile options. Startups and industry challengers should take note: Focusing on mobile strategy to reach customers can help new players gain market share.
But of course that can be hard to do, especially for start-ups. Here, then, are four important strategies to make mobile work for you in 2015:
1. Update your mobile website for the best functionality.
Already, most companies are optimizing their websites for mobile, recognizing that the space on a mobile phone is much smaller than that of a desktop computer screen. Website optimization should not stop at cleaner fonts or smaller graphics; startups must spend the extra time to make sure their mobile sites can efficiently process transactions.
That goal requires making sure that the billing process functions properly and that users can easily log on to the site from a smartphone, for instance. It may be tempting to focus on the overall corporate website and provide a scaled-down version for mobile. But to make a mobile site truly function for ecommerce, startups must go the extra mile to resolve issues.
2. Optimize for more than just iPhones.
Android continues to grow its market share: Strategy Analytics recently determined that that operating system’s share of the global market is 84 percent. And while from an ecommerce perspective, iPhones may still be the preferred way to purchase goods or services -- not surprisingly, the Android is catching up. According to Criteo’s research, the Android smartphone is now responsible for more than 5 percent of all transactions, compared to 8 percent for iOS. As Android smartphones continue to grow their market share, it is important, then, for startups to optimize their websites for Android.
3. Use email marketing and other tools for a true omni-channel outreach strategy.
We have been talking about cross-device behavior for some time now, as we know that the majority of consumers going through their buying journey interact with the same site through multiple devices. That’s why it is vital to consider other ways to reach consumers in the course of a sale, whether those communications occur as email reminders or special deals on the mobile website.
4. Time your offers depending on the type of device used.
We now have a wealth of information on the shopping habits of the digital consumer. According to Criteo’s research, the best-performing times for tablet purchases is from 3 pm to 5 pm, while people on smartphones are most likely to buy things from 8 am to 10 am. Not surprisingly, purchases from desktops peak during working hours, from 9 am to 5 pm. To make the most of this data, marketers should provide offers when people are most likely to use them.
So be sure a campaign email in the morning is short and sweet, when people are commuting and likely scanning their inboxes. When targeting people on their mobile devices, be sure that your email links to an easy-to-use mobile website.
At the end of the day, what makes sense for consumers depends on what you are selling. But as people move daily across a number of different devices, the companies that move with them on that journey will make the sale at the end of the day.
Mobile strategy is a business imperative that is here to stay -- and its importance will only grow in 2015. The top retailers know this, which is why they have focused on their mobile sites. But challengers can also benefit from this move to mobility. They just have to keep a eye on mobile commerce's most important aspects.