Mobile: Get on-target by going off-channel

April 16, 2015 04:20 PM

If you view mobile commerce as a separate channel, you might be missing out on its full potential. A recent Forrester Research Inc. report makes this point well: “Mobile eliminates the notion of channels by blurring the distinction between the physical and digital worlds.” Smartphone performance and wireless bandwidth continue to improve, so consumers increasingly expect businesses to deliver relevant, contextual experiences from the instant consumers show interest and throughout all touch points, including order management, delivery, and product service and support.

Follow a story of a mobile shopper. After remodeling her kitchen, she wants to purchase a new espresso machine. During a lunch break, she does a quick search on her smartphone for an espresso machine her friend recommended and finds it available in a nearby store. She notices an offer on the store’s mobile site for a discount on this machine. In the store that afternoon, the store’s mobile app leads her via a location-based store map quickly to the espresso machine display. The display includes a tablet featuring the store’s online catalog and products. Tapping on the espresso machine brings up additional product details, including different color and personalization options, recommended accessories, and a video explaining features and use. It also displays in-store availability and shipping times for custom options. After browsing these displays and online options she purchases the machine with accessories and has it delivered to her home the next day.

This experience includes several best practices for top-converting mobile commerce experiences.

1. Target experiences to the context when and where mobile devices are used.

Designing for mobile means more than just downsizing images. It means optimizing the experience to meet a customer’s expected behavior. On smartphones, shoppers have limited screen real estate and attention span. The espresso machine shopper needed to be able to search efficiently and filter quickly to find the machine and store she sought. Getting information quickly is the key. On mobile this means removing everything not essential to a quick browsing experience and using images that load quickly and are focused on the product. For example, the view of the espresso machine in a kitchen setting may be engaging on a desktop. But when the scene is reduced to fit on a smartphone, it must be cropped so the espresso machine itself becomes the focus.

Once the shopper selects the espresso machine, the majority of the screen then can be used to show a larger image of the product, with alternate views that can be zoomed within the frame with a simple swipe gesture. This helps provide product detail and aid conversion at the moment of interest.

2. Understand device-specific behavior and build tailored apps.

Apps that closely fit the shopping experience and streamline the process will bring higher conversion rates. Specialize your app to a specific point in the purchase cycle, whether it is browsing, purchasing or servicing a product. The store in the example designs its app to engage and inform the interested shopper about all the espresso machine’s features, options and accessories. Hotspots on the screen are large enough so she can easily touch and swipe to view product information and quickly make a purchase decision.

Once the customer agrees the app can use information about her shopping behavior, the experience can become more personalized. Target is one of many retailers whose apps switch to store mode when a shopper is inside a store (featuring location-based store maps, product locators, store-specific inventory and discounts). Guess Inc. uses its app to increase engagement and loyalty with customized offers, rewards and social media.

3. Immerse customers in engaging, efficient experiences on every device.

Today’s shoppers often use several devices throughout the purchase cycle. Make it seamless to move between devices and keep their attention focused on their desire to purchase your product.

Scenes that show products in rich environments with related products improve conversions and average order value. J.Crew creates shoppable lookbooks that feature seasonal campaigns. Models are depicted in complete outfits. A click or tap on the image brings up an inline gallery with several items from the picture. A shopper can select her size and add products to her cart without leaving the page, saving many page swipes.

The espresso machine shopper was impressed when she saw products portrayed in a real kitchen environment. When she saved the espresso machine to a wish list from the shoppable lookbook on her tablet, she could log on to the web site later on her smartphone and the same item would already be there, ready to continue where she left off.

4. Increase engagement with relevant, personalized content.

Let’s try a different angle. The espresso machine shopper is now an existing customer. She gets an e-mail with a discount personalized to her previous purchase (the espresso machine), suggesting complementary accessories. Rich media in banners and e-mails can lead with the most relevant image based on past preferences. It makes the experience similar to having a personal shopping assistant at her side. With the customer’s approval, you can personalize images and messaging to include shopping history and other data, creating a more engaging and sticky experience. Add some targeted offers and shoppers likely will spend more than they originally planned. The relevancy of your messaging will increase the value and convenience of your brand to them. Content can be targeted based on information from beacons, geolocation, shopping history and other sources.

5. Improve site performance with mobile-friendly optimization.

It is critical to set and watch for key performance metrics for your mobile sites and apps. For instance, mobile abandonment rates are high when pages load slowly. The mobile site and app of the store carrying the espresso machine use dynamic imaging to ensure delivery of the exact image size, quality and cropping required for each type of desktop or mobile device. The pages are scripted to load an image quickly, so it is visible while any additional viewing experiences load behind the scenes. In this way, the customer will never be looking at a blank screen. This will help with search engine optimization, since search engines can read “alt text” coded in images.

These best practices may require some rethinking and re-tooling in how you create mobile experiences. However, they’ll ultimately help you deliver a personalized, relevant mobile experience seamlessly integrated with other digital and in-store touch-points.

Adobe offers digital and mobile marketing technology and services.




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