FACT-Finder’s Kevin Sparks reveals seven ways retailers can mobile-optimise their websites to boost high-street visits and sales.
It’s amazing to still think that many recognised brands say they put the customer at the centre of everything they do. These are the same brands that generate thousands of pounds a minute, have thousands of employees, and yet they can’t find the bandwidth, resources, time or budget to deploy an effective mobile strategy. Recent research by VoucherCode clearly shows customers want to shop via this channel so it’s time for retailers to stop the excuses and act now, before they are left behind.
VoucherCodes revealed the mobile share of online retail spend to have almost doubled between 2013 and 2014 to 28%, leaving the 17% of stores that don’t have mobile-friendly websites at a distinct disadvantage.
More interesting was the fact that mobile devices are actually boosting high-street visits and sales. Almost half of shoppers surveyed (44%) said they would be more likely to visit mobile-oriented stores in 2015, and more than a third (36%) also said they would spend more.
So how can retailers use mobile to boost sales and drive people back to their stores? The answer is not just to be mobile-friendly, but to be mobile-optimised, and here are the key factors retailers need to take into account to ensure they giving customers what they want:
1. Go for mobile optimisation over an app
A recent survey by McKinsey showed that mobile-optimised sites are used twice as often by smartphone users than shopping apps.
2. Show the consumer’s nearest store
Your online shop should automatically determine the location of each visitor, using their IP address or GPS data (with their permission, of course) so you can provide details of their nearest store and related information.
3. Make information about local ranges available online
Recent IBM research involving 110,000 consumers showed that 60% thought it was important to know whether they can buy a product before visiting a store.
4. Incorporate a rapid, intelligent search function
Reduce bounce rates by using a quick intuitive search function that can process data from multiple data sources and backend systems into a single feed so as to display the most relevant content rich results in milliseconds. Back this up with fault-tolerant software, which can deal with very precise queries.
5. Optimise the quality of your search results
Your search function should feature self-optimised search technology as it is likely users on mobile devices will behave differently from your desktop users. Automated technology with continuous learning built in allows the most popular products to appear at the top of the search results list, which is key to driving sales, particularly among customers using small screens.
6. Combine the benefits of searching and browsing
Include filtering options to help customers who key in general queries (‘trousers’, ‘hammer’, etc), which tend to generate large numbers of results, to find what they want in just a few clicks.
7. Make it quick and easy to find key advice
Your search and navigation function should make it easy for mobile customers to find key advice, such as how-to videos, advice and relevant articles, offers and product information to help them make a quicker more informed decision.