7 Ways to Boost Engagement as Ecommerce Shifts to Mobile

Joe Liebkind

Mobile has been the main means of communication. But as time goes on, it's also become the main way people spend money, especially on ecommerce apps. Users can spend as much as 10 hours a day on screens, and mobile devices now account for 65 percent of time. Activities like online shopping are also shifting, with mobile commerce now responsible for 30 percent of ecommerce.

These changes in retail are forcing many brick-and-mortar businesses to improve their online presence. Failing to adapt might mean losing customers who are already changing their buying behaviors.

As with digital products and services, engagement continues to be key to success in mobile commerce. Here are some ideas on how to continue engaging customers across such channels:

Develop Your Own App

90 percent of mobile activity is done through mobile apps, and unfortunately offering a mobile version of your site doesn’t quite cut it anymore. If you have an existing website, then you’re probably halfway there. Most of your existing resources and content can be repurposed for use on your mobile app.

It’s a matter of building a new user interface for your customers to use. Turnkey solutions are also available to help you transition quicker. Mobile ecommerce frameworks like Contalog or MobiCart are designed to accelerate the app building process.

Invest in User Experience

User experience (UX) is important to consider when building apps. UX is all about creating a seamless process for the users – from finding the product they want to checkout. Search should be straightforward. Buttons should be easy to tap. Checkout conversion should be quick and simple. You can even include tap-to-call buttons for follow-up and support. Make sure you also optimize the experience for repeat usage, like caching their details in the app to make the buying process quicker the next time around.

However, not all “cool” features found on popular apps can be applied to mobile ecommerce use. Endless scrolling (like the one used by Instagram) is not advised for mobile ecommerce sites, though, as customers might get overwhelmed by the number of loaded products, making it difficult to find the specific listing they want.

Speed It Up

For mobile ecommerce, users expect sites and apps to load within 3 seconds, or they’re likely to move on to other sites. Native apps typically load faster than mobile websites on the browser, because graphic elements for the user interface are already store locally within the app.

In either case, it pays to make sure your app and the designated content loads quickly through thorough optimization. Speeding up load times will involve improvements in infrastructure, design and content. It’s a matter of ensuring your app is built purposefully with mobile users in mind.

Localize Your Content

While English remains to be a dominant language online, don’t discount the number of people who aren’t as fluent in the language, especially if you are targeting a global audience. By putting a multi-language option, you're enabling your business to tap into wider markets. At the very least, the multi-language option should cover the user interface like button labels, fields, and measurements.

Language is not the only goal in localization, however, since you will also need to adapt to local contexts and cultures. This can include localized product descriptions and localized reviews.

If you’re doing this, be sure to use widely accepted localization packages or hire an expert to work on the content for you as there will be nuances across languages that even Google Translate doesn’t quite get yet.

Encourage User Feedback

Users love to interact with the service they’re using, and one way you can enable this is by providing a means of leaving feedback. For example, ratings and comments on product listings are an effective way to establish trust and engagement.

Some brands and mobile ecommerce providers are afraid to do this, as they feel that the system might be abused by trolls and irate customers. However, if you really offer top-notch products and provide excellent service, you might be surprised at how kind customers can be when they enjoy your service. In fact, there is a healthy level of critical reviews for a product to be considered trustworthy. If all feedback is extremely positive, then users tend to think the reviews are all manufactured.

According to surveys, at least 55 percent of online shoppers say that online reviews greatly influence their buying decisions. This means having user-generated content greatly helps in improving your conversions. Perhaps the most important rule above any other is to make sure you encourage customers to write reviews.

Link to Social

People spend a lot time on social media. Don’t miss out integrating these platforms into your app. This can be done in several ways. You can enable sharing of product listings or users’ wish lists can leverage social networks as a recommendation engine by providing a way for visitors to see their friends’ reviews or recommendations.

Engage with users through your Facebook Page or Twitter account. At the very least, have the option for users to rate your app and share it on social media. Just don’t constantly bug users to rate your app or forcibly link the app to their Facebook accounts. That's annoying.

Be Generous With Deals and Discounts

Who doesn’t love free stuff? With mobile apps, you can send push notifications to inform users of deals, sales, and new offerings. You can incentivize first-time users by offering a one-time promo code. This is a relatively easy way you can get the word out for your app and online store.

Make sure to be judicious in handing out discounts, especially with high-selling products. Price point is always a tricky thing to manage. Once an item loses premium status due to regular discounts, it’s tough to get the price back to its usual level.

Engagement Breeds Loyalty

Trends indicate that mobile commerce will soon dominate the retail landscape. Entrepreneurs, marketers, and brand managers will need to better engage customers with more personalized and targeted platforms. Pay attention, and be quick to adapt. Mobile ecommerce presence is just part of it.

Another hurdle for ecommerce is shopping cart abandonment, as it slows down the sales funnel. Try running emails within your marketing automation workflow to follow up with shopping cart abandoners immediately with platforms such as GetResponse. You have to be able to engage your users and build long term relationships. It’s loyal customers that you want. It’s repeat customers that will make your business flourish.

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A New York native, currently dwelling in Berlin. Always been a Luddite, but now embracing the tech world and trying to make a name for myself as a tech journalist.