Ecommerce Has Gone Mobile: Is Your Business Ready?

A woman holds her mobile phone to an electric payment scanner at a local coffee shop.

More and more consumers and B2B buyers are relying on their mobile devices to make purchases. Mobile commerce accounts for nearly 30% of all retail e-commerce purchases, and forecasts suggest that will only grow. It will be key for businesses to stay ahead of consumer expectations and capitalize on this growing opportunity. That means they need to meet the needs of their mobile-focused customers.

Even if you’re already set up for e-commerce, mobile commerce requires some additional capabilities and considerations. For instance, a mobile website or app often needs to be more streamlined than a traditional website. Customer checkout and payment should be as easy as possible. And companies need to think about where their customers are connecting with them on mobile — and meet them there.

Follow this checklist to ready your business for mobile commerce.

1. Optimize Your Website for Mobile

The smaller screens of smartphones and tablets can make browsing a website that's not made for mobile a challenging process. Your customers can’t see the whole site at once, and they need to scroll around to find information. This is part of the reason why sales conversion rates remain much lower for mobile as compared to website transactions: .8 percent compared to 2.78 percent.

Plan to redesign your website with mobile in mind — or create a mobile-specific app, which gives your customers an easier and more convenient browsing and buying experience. Here are a few tips to make shopping (and buying) even easier:

  • Place navigation at the top of the site. Mobile users can easily spot your navigation menu and find where they need to go.
  • Make search easy to find. That way mobile users can both browse and search for what they want.
  • Pay attention to site and page load speeds. Mobile users, in particular, expect a site to load quickly and will look elsewhere if it doesn’t.

2. Simplify Your Checkout and Payments

You don’t want mobile users to just browse on your mobile site — you want them to buy. That’s why creating a seamless mobile checkout process is critical for increasing conversions. This means paying attention to both the design and user experience of the mobile checkout page, as well as providing preferred payment methods.

For instance, keep the number of fields that customers need to fill out to a minimum, make it easy to view a cart and change what’s in it, and ensure that the prices are as clear as possible. Consider adding a one-click buy button, similar to Amazon, to make buying that much simpler.

3. Keep Security Top-of-Mind

Mobile commerce is ripe for fraudulent activity. With that in mind, you want to find the right balance between making the transaction experience easy, while still prioritizing payment and data security. Explore customer authentication tools, which help confirm that a customer is who he or she says. Creating a login and password as a site user is one first step.

However, mobile users often remain logged into accounts—making it easier for a bad actor to make fraudulent purchases if they steal a device. Adding another layer of authentication, such as re-requesting a password, can help. Employing an address verification system as part of your payment process is also a smart move. Such systems will match addresses with credit card numbers, ensuring that a thief isn’t simply using a stolen card number. The same goes for requesting a security code from the back of the card. Doing so can rule out so-called “card-not-present” transactions, which are likely to be fraudulent as well.

4. Automate Your Customer Service

In the world of mobile, speed is of the essence. Your mobile site needs to be fast, and so does your customer service. This is where automated chatbots come into play. A recent study from Accenture notes that 85% of customer service interactions will be automated by the end of 2020.

Implement a chatbot that can quickly answer customer questions, and ensure that small issues don’t jeopardize transactions. Some brands are showing that chatbots can even spur sales. For instance, Pizza Hut leads the pack by allowing consumers to place an order via a chatbot, using Facebook or Twitter messages on their smartphone. Customers upload their payment information and order a pizza as if they were sending a message to a friend.

Increasingly, mobile commerce is commerce. Take the time to fully prepare your site for mobile transactions, and you'll reap the benefits in capturing this growing segment of customer — and sales — opportunity.

The views expressed by the author are not necessarily those of Fifth Third Bank, National Association, and are solely the opinions of the author. This article is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute the rendering of legal, accounting, or other professional services by Fifth Third Bank, National Association or any of their subsidiaries or affiliates, and are provided without any warranty whatsoever. Deposit and credit products provided by Fifth Third Bank, Member FDIC.