Having an online platform compatible with mobile devices should be a priority for many e-commerce distributors.
The growth of mobile devices in e-commerce is staggering. According to a June study of consumer behavior highlighted in an article on the Internet Retailer website, 55 percent of all time spent shopping online was done via a mobile device, with smartphones accounting for 44 percent of the time and tablets 11 percent. Desktop computers and laptops accounted for the rest of the time consumers spent shopping online.
And yet despite its popularity, some distributors don’t have a mobile presence, perhaps because the cost of developing a separate website may seem steep. But regardless of the cost, most e-commerce distributors need to have one. It’s another channel for distributing products, so it has to be considered, and it’s a must-have if you sell to end consumers.
For business-to-business distributors, before spending the money to develop a mobile platform, consider surveying your customer base as to whether it’s something they would use. Ask customers how they prefer to order and whether they would use a mobile platform if provided the option.
If you do decide to pursue building a mobile site, make sure it features responsive web design and is optimized for mobile. Generally, you’ll need two separate platforms, one for traditional CPUs, and another for smartphones and tablets.
The most common mistake companies make is having a site that’s only optimized for desktops and laptops. It’s usually difficult (if not impossible) to read websites on mobile devices if they’re not designed to support mobile. Nobody wants to squint to read tiny type or scroll all over the page searching for the checkout option on their smartphone.
In fact, according to an article on the Tweaky blog, nearly one-third of customers will abandon their shopping carts if the checkout process isn’t optimized for mobile devices. What’s more, 57 percent of customers will leave a page if it takes three seconds or longer to load, and 41 percent immediately head to a competitor’s website following a poor mobile experience.
Surprisingly, many websites only provide information about products or services, and don’t allow customers to place orders. Customers should find it easy to research, find and order products online using a mobile device.
According to the Tweaky article, smartphones have a hand in four of out five impulse purchases. “With their mobile device so handy — such an integral part of our lives — people are finding they are not just ‘checking out’ new products — but buying them,” the article explains.
Mobile platforms should be intuitive and provide all the pertinent information about your products and company, including contact details. It’s a good idea to include your contact information on every page so it’s always easy to find.
In today’s increasingly technology-centered world, your website is the front porch of your company. As more customers migrate to mobile devices, it’s increasingly critical that e-commerce distributors meet them where they prefer to do business, and that often means on their smartphones and tablets.