As the worlds of digital and omnichannel marketing continue to combine, more shoppers are turning to mobile devices to make their buying decisions (and final purchases). To compete, brands will need to become more savvy than ever to provide the best possible user experience both online, offline and cross device going into 2018.
All Inclusive Marketing interviewed our industry partners at Mobify, an industry leading platform for mobile commerce & engagement, to get some answers on how buyers are shopping through mobile, and what brands need to do to prepare for it going into the new year.
Q: How have shoppers changed their buying behaviors moving from more traditional brick-and-mortar to digital to omnichannel in the past year?
A: Mobile’s been a big deal for a while now, and most of our customers started getting more traffic from mobile visitors in 2016. What’s changed this year is buying behavior. We used to say that the mobile experience was for pre-shopping, but that isn’t true anymore. When the shopping experience is great on the phone, people buy. And not just millennials and genZ, we see this trend with boomers as well.
Q: With Amazon and major marketplaces taking over even greater market share, making it more challenging than ever to complete, how does moving to a mobile commerce platform help brands compete against these major marketplaces, let alone a global market of smaller ecommerce brands targeting the same audience?
A: When it comes to challenging Amazon there’s no silver bullet, so you’re going to have to use a lot of lead bullets instead. Think in terms of removing friction. Amazon’s site removes friction by being fast, simple and offering easy payment options. But you don’t have to be Amazon anymore to do that. New technologies such as the Web Payment API lets your customers buy products from you with just their thumbprint, including all shipping information.
Q: What do brands need to understand about the difference between ecommerce mobile web, apps and mcommerce? What are the differences, and which is better for brands to invest in for targeting and servicing online buyer needs and habits?
A: Too much has been made of the whole “web vs app” argument. They fulfill different purposes. The web is all about reach where as an app tends to be about a “commerce+” experience that includes shopping, but goes past that by offering in-store features or expanded functionality for customers enrolled in your loyalty program, for example. For retailers doing more than a few million in online sales, the right answer to “web or app?” is: “both”.
For your web shoppers you should look at a new technology called “Progressive Web Apps” that give an app-like experience but in the web browser. Then you can provide the Commerce+ experience that includes shopping, an in-store mode, and even offer VR or AR.
If that seems like biting off a lot of work, have a look at an mcommerce platform that gives you a great mobile experience everywhere but shares integration into your commerce platform and code between the web and app experiences.
Q: With the different mobile options available to both buyers and sellers (brands), what tracking do brands need to have in place in order to ensure accuracy in analytics and reporting, taking mobile transactions into consideration?
A: Everyone has some kind of analytics tool in place at this point whether that’s Google Analytics, SiteCatalyst or CoreMetrics. These tools are essential and table stakes at this point. What a lot of retailers don’t have in place is more granular journey analytics packages that give them visibility with a tap-by-tap analysis. I’m not talking about tools that let you watch recorded customer journeys – these are invaluable for debugging and qualitative analysis, but you don’t have time to watch 2000 customers checking out. I’m talking about getting aggregate data of interactions with form fields, carousels and other parts of your site. For example, do you know what percentage of your shoppers leave when trying to fill in the CVC field of their credit card number? If you do, you can design better tests for the positioning, size and labeling of this field to optimize the checkout experience.
Progressive web apps add new challenges for 3rd party tracking scripts that depend on pageviews. Progressive web apps run in the web browser, but you only ever have a single page load from the moment the visitor arrives on the site to the moment the order is confirmed. That confuses a lot of analytics and affiliate scripts, so you want to make sure you’ve accounted for that in your PWA plan if you’re thinking about taking that route.
As brands look to improve their user experience at every touch point to remain competitive, retain existing buyers and further optimize revenue and KPIs, Mobile commerce and engagement will continue to be a major focal point.
Brands can no longer go to generalist solution providers if they want to compete seriously. They need specialists who can properly explain, plan and execute on best-in-class subject matter expertise to create the user experience and results required to grow market share while retaining loyal buyers.
If you are an affiliate, media partner or publisher driving mobile traffic (which you likely are), make sure you’re working with brands who understand their mobile strategy and are properly tracking transactions and engagement back to you as part of their omni-channel click-to-consume attribution insights.