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A July 2014 study found that mobile adoption rates across the Internet Retailer Mobile 500 were as follows: 59% of businesses use dedicated mobile sites, 15% use dynamic serving, 14% had no mobile presence and just 9% were responsive. In all, that was less than 50 of the top 500 retailers using responsive, and that was still nearly a 3x increase from 2013 adoption rates.
Of course, all of that is about to change, and no, it isn’t because ecommerce companies have suddenly decided to focus first on their mobile customers. Instead, it’s the Google algorithm update, going into effect tomorrow, April 21, acting as the catalyst for a fully responsive web –– no matter the site.
Google’s latest algorithm will penalize brands not effectively addressing their mobile consumers’ needs via a mobile-ready site. The easiest way to address this for online retailers is to implement a responsive design.
But let’s take a step back: why is it taking a Google algorithm change to light a fire under the ecommerce industry when it comes to putting mobile first? No, it isn’t that the ecommerce industry is slow to accept disruption or innovation, nor is it that the industry was unaware of the trend. Instead, for most ecommerce companies, the decision to deprioritize mobile-readiness came down to the numbers. Simply put, mobile visitors convert at drastically lower numbers than desktop visitors (0.8% compared to 2.78%, respectively). And, lower conversions means lower revenue.
For many small businesses, the majority of which make up the ecommerce industry, the need to increase revenue in order to scale and boost profits takes precedence –– and mobile simply wasn’t providing the added value for the time spent.
Of course, with the upcoming Google algorithm update, it now will. So, beyond having a responsive site, here’s what you can do to make sure your marketing and customer service efforts match the new mobile-first market.
According to comScore, while mobile internet usage continues to rise, timing has a lot to do with what device you use.
During work hours, on the other hand, messaging with customers can be more informative, offering additional details and actionable information a desktop shopper can use as they make their way down your conversion funnel.
Responsive Probably Isn’t Enough
In all, though, having a responsive site likely isn’t enough for your brand. Yes, Google now essentially requires it if you want to rank on mobile search and it is certainly wise for your ecommerce site to indeed be responsive. After all, even during work hours people are using their phones to shop (we are all innocuous shoppers), and you don’t want to lose out on a sale simply because your site wasn’t convenient for a mobile browser.
That said, mobile app usage far outpaces mobile internet usage and it’s ideal for your ecommerce site to be both responsive and either have an app or be included in an app.
In other words, whether your create a branded mobile app or join a marketplace, having a presence in an app increases the possibility for mobile conversions and can help prove the business case for staying mobile-focused first.
Get Your Social Game On
When it comes to content distribution, cultivating loyal customers and increasing brand awareness, social media is your bread and butter.
After all, there are 1.79 billion people in the world using at least one social network from their mobile device. In the U.S., for example, 73% of the population has at least one social profile.
For Facebook and Twitter specifically, mobile is a huge driver of time spent and visitor acquisition, with 63% of time spent on Facebook coming from a mobile device and 56 million unique monthly visitors coming to Twitter from a mobile device.
Here are a few ways to increase your mobile social media productivity for ecommerce’s mobile future:
Find Targeted Conversions
The search bar at the top of your Facebook Page isn’t just for searching names, pages, groups or events. You can also type in a few keywords to search for News Feed posts, both on desktop and mobile. This is a great way to gauge brand awareness over time and participate in conversions surrounding your brand.
Edit Photos Directly in the Facebook Mobile App
If you’re looking for a quick photo fix on mobile, you can edit photos to some degree right in the Facebook app. Enhance the photo, apply a filter or crop/rotate the photo. Once you’ve uploaded a photo, simply give the photo a single tap to show these options on the bottom of your screen.
Embed Slideshare Presentations in Your Tweets
When you embed a SlideShare presentation directly into a tweet, your followers can flip through the presentation without ever having to leave Twitter. You can use this to share out product collections, blog posts, customer reviews and more.
— SlideShare Today (@SlideShareToday) January 10, 2015
To embed a SlideShare presentation into a tweet, link to the presentation and it will embed automatically. This is also true for documents and videos from SlideShare as well.
Pin Your GIFs on Twitter So They Autoplay
If you post a GIF on Twitter by adding it as you would a photo, it doesn’t autoplay in your followers’ Twitter feeds. But, it does autoplay if you pin it to the top of your own Twitter feed. This is a great way to increase visibility for your products. You can use product GIFs on your product pages as well as on Twitter to engage engagement, conversions and spread brand awareness.
To pin a tweet, you’ll first need to tweet out the tweet you want to pin. Then, click the ellipsis at the bottom of the tweet and choose “Pin Tweet.” It’ll show up at the top of your feed on your personal Twitter account until you unpin it (which you do by clicking the ellipsis again and choosing “Unpin Tweet”).
Your marketing and customer experience departments also need to shift to embracing this change. This means you need shorter copy that engages, the ability to post to social networks on-the-go and in general living your brand’s personality out the same way you would your own.
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