Any business engaging in e-commerce should be aware of the booming trend of mobile shopping. Users are no longer staying at their computers to make online purchases. Instead, they're spending billions of dollars shopping from their Smartphones and tablets. In the US alone, nearly $25 billion in sales were made to mobile users in 2012, with the number expected to explode to nearly $42 billion by the end of 2013.
With this enormous growth in mobile commerce, it's more important than ever for businesses to focus on marketing and branding efforts that draw in customers on the go. Grabbing the attention of these fast-moving consumers requires an understanding of how to leverage the mobile market to generate interest and increase sales.
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Most businesses are still trying to hit the sweet spot with mobile marketing and selling. Mobile sites are usually more convenient than desktop versions, but some may lack essential product information that consumers want before making purchases. To create the ideal shopping experience, businesses have to strike a balance between a streamlined interface and the inclusion of important content. Customers who don't find what they want on a mobile site will likely head elsewhere to make their purchases.
Including more content may become easier as a greater number of consumers begin shopping from their tablets. Tablet use has exploded in popularity in recent years, with some statistics showing that over half of tablet owners use their devices to shop. Larger screens with clearer graphics make it easier for businesses to deliver enjoyable mobile experiences. Tablets also offer a great deal of versatility to both users and marketers. While Smartphones are often used away from the home, tablets have become an extension of the everyday computer experience. Consumers may make purchases from their tablets without ever leaving the house, or they make bring their devices to a favourite store and wind up making purchases while using the Internet there.
Integration of Online and Offline
Mobile devices offer a wealth of interesting marketing opportunities in the offline world. Today's businesses have the option of creating window decals and other advertisements featuring QR codes that mobile users can scan to get more information. Some companies include these in their catalogues as well or cut out the middleman entirely by delivering catalogues in electronic formats. Not only does this save on printing costs, but it also offers businesses the opportunity to include links in the catalogue that lead users directly to specific products so they can buy what they want the moment they find it.
Optimised Shopping Experience
Whether targeting Smartphones, tablets or the mobile market in general, the goal is to deliver the best possible shopping experience to every user. Security and payment options are big sticking points, as nobody wants their mobile purchase to turn into an identity theft nightmare. Offering common forms of payment such as Google Checkout and PayPal gives customers checkout options that they already use and trust. Larger companies may be able to build in their own streamlined "one-click" checkout interfaces that make use of customer information already on file to minimise the amount of steps necessary to complete a purchase. Mobile is about speed, so a fast checkout is a welcome feature for today's hurried customers.
With the face of marketing, sales and commerce itself changing so rapidly, it can be tough for businesses to stay on top of the growing trends. Mobile commerce is only likely to keep growing, and the sooner a business gets on board, the better its chances of success with this booming global market.