Success in Mobile Commerce Requires a Mobile-specific Strategy

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A distinct approach to mobile ecommerce can be the difference in success or not. In this post, I’ll share a framework for creating a short- and long-term mobile strategy. Money, time, and human capital are your most valuable resources. How you allocate each of those defines your strategy.

A distinct approach to mobile ecommerce can be the difference in success or not.

Goals and Opportunities

Ecommerce sites typically have goals for overall revenue and growth. However, it is essential to create mobile-specific goals, too. Roughly half of ecommerce traffic now comes from mobile devices, according to Google. Thus specific metrics for mobile — i.e., conversions, bounce rates — are critical.

Start with your inputs. For most sites, the ecommerce platform and its impact on mobile is the most obvious input. The capability of the platform will impact conversions, for example.

Many companies keep a list of mobile opportunities. But they never weigh opportunities against their goals. Here are the factors I consider most important, in order of importance:

  • Cost. How much will an opportunity cost in time and money?
  • Benefit. This is the hardest to score but arguably the most important. For example, a merchant might invest in a sophisticated email platform but fail to evaluate how it will stack up against larger competitors. In my experience, ecommerce companies do not always objectively rate their output (such as email marketing efforts) and, as a result, are disappointed when opportunities don’t achieve the goals.
  • Priority. Once you’ve established a list of mobile opportunities, it’s important to prioritize. I’m a fan of prioritizing by the level of impact. For example, if one project would deliver 10-percent growth in conversions and another only 1 percent, the 10-percent option is the priority.
  • Dependencies. Whether a new opportunity is feasible is often based on internal and external dependencies. For mobile devices, the two most overlooked dependencies are users opting into location status and notifications. Think carefully about how likely your users would do either. For Uber, as an example, opt-in rates for location status and notifications are near 100 percent. For ecommerce sites, the opt-in rates are closer to 50 percent for larger sites, and less for smaller ones.

Internal dependencies typically involve technical aspects. For example, your opportunity may be dependent on building a unique connection to a third-party, such as connecting to supplier info or a chat dialogue box for your customer support agents. Be realistic about your company’s ability to achieve that dependency.

Using Data

Capturing data — quantitative and qualitative — is critical to any mobile strategy. Start with qualitative data. The easiest way is by talking to customers. Listening or even answering customer support calls can be a treasure trove of data that will help you determine priorities.

Ask two simple questions. “What did you expect to happen?” and “What can I solve for you?” Both will help identify problems that your visitors experience. Then, confirm those problems with quantitative data.

Quantitative data is a bottomless pit. There is more data on your mobile visitors than you could shake a stick at. So start with qualitative data and use quantitative to confirm. For example, if smartphone users say they had trouble checking out after adding items to their cart, review abandonment rates for mobile versus desktop. If data from that review confirms the problem, move it to the top of your list.

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