Creating a Positive Mobile Experience
The holidays are upon us, which means retailers should have everything in place to craft a positive mobile experience for their customers.
But because this usually involves equal parts art and science, and touches on infrastructure, application development, sales, marketing, customer support and a host of other disciplines, many organizations struggle to come up with a bare-bones approach — let alone an optimized, multichannel experience that drives revenue growth.
One key element in mobile strategy is to devise a “frictionless experience,” says Carin van Vuuren, CMO of mobile platform developer Usablenet. A poor design introduces unnecessary barriers (friction, as explained in Mobile Marketing Magazine) to easy task completion, resulting in high abandonment rates. Purchasing, after all, is a multi-stage process: The more difficulty buyers encounter when transitioning from the initial browse to the dedicated search, all the way to price and feature comparisons, the more likely they are to switch to another retailer.
To that end, organizations should focus their mobile user experience (UX) efforts on a number of key features, including improved search functions like auto-correct and root-word recognition, as well as product display enhancements, streamlined cart and checkout functionality and simplified login procedures that also maintain high levels of security.
Many retailers are also turning to artificial intelligence, machine learning and other cognitive technologies to continuously improve the online shopping experience so that it’s unique to the individual. Through tools like natural speech recognition and interaction, developers can more easily access performance insights and conduct hands-free alterations to app characteristics. At the same time, the technology can be used to support conversational interaction with users to provide a more pleasant purchasing experience and glean greater feedback on their product needs and personal shopping styles.
Yet another approach to the quest for a positive mobile experience is containerization. As Computerworld‘s Peter Fretty notes, containers are already providing advanced authentication and encryption services to protect enterprise data on BYOD devices, and the advent of open container platforms is enabling a high degree of integration between third-party applications without compromising security. In a retail setting, this should allow sellers to push more services, and even microservices that work behind the scenes, to users — in the interest of differentiating the brand from its competition.
An In-Store Positive Mobile Experience
It is important to understand mobile shopping is not limited to a retailer’s e-commerce site alone. Many in-store customers are using mobile apps to locate products, comparison shop and conduct a wealth of other activities as they peruse the aisles. Tapping into these multichannel opportunities, according to Think with Google, can produce remarkable dividends, as Home Depot recently learned by boosting in-store sales eight-fold through services like mobile display ads. The company teamed up with Google to craft a local sales strategy featuring customer outreach and monitoring through dynamic ad generation, location-based search and information services, and customer outreach aimed at key product lines like garden supplies and patio furniture.
As the company’s Umut Dincer noted, buyers are now walking around with mini supercomputers in their pockets, so retailers would be remiss not to leverage them to the fullest extent possible.
As the younger generation of consumers enters middle age and gains a corresponding increase in purchasing clout, mobile commerce will play a more important role in the financial health of the global retail industry. In that vein, mobile UX will become a vital tool in the enterprise transition to the next-generation, service-driven economy.
Mobile users expect convenience and satisfaction from their digital services, and if they fail to get the appropriate response from one provider, it is all too easy to switch to another.