#ClickZChat: What makes a great M-Commerce experience?


It’s easy to forget just how young the idea of ‘mobile marketing’ actually is. Pre-2007 it mainly consisted of text messages and the occasionally unwanted bluetooth intrusion. No one spotted the iPhone coming, or saw how radically it would change the face of… almost everything.

So it’s not surprising that we often think of mobile commerce as an extension of ecommerce, with the same basic rules. But actually it’s extremely device-specific. Different rules apply, from intent to experience.

This week we took to twitter to ask our followers about the key differences, and rules for mobile success.

Q1: Should businesses invest in a mobile site, or a dedicated app for commerce?

Not surprisingly, many marketers believed that there was room for both, however each has a different purpose and place in the sales funnel, which may differ radically according to industry and product:

Overall it seems that while a mobile site may be best for a first purchase, apps can increase stickiness and keep repeat purchasers engaged.
Although this isn’t the only function of a mobile website. Users do spend more time in apps, but mobile web outperforms in terms of conversion:

It’s also worth remembering that with an app, “you can’t please all of the people, all of the time”. A good mobile site offers a more responsive experience that can help you reach users on various devices:

And of course, while steps are being taken to address this, mobile search is still dominated by mobile sites rather than apps, so findability should be a key consideration:

Q2: What are the biggest barriers to mobile conversion?

This question prompted a number of different responses, but all had UX at heart. From lengthy sign-ups…

To overly-simplistic ones:

It seems there is a balance to be found, and it does depend on the complexity of your products.
Design is still an issue as well, with many people feeling that in a desire to collect data, forms are ignoring the limitations of mobile devices:

Interestingly, several people mentioned lack of screen real-estate:

And while this can be an issue, there is a school of thought that sees this as a positive which can focus the attention, particularly through a simple interface (For example, Dominoes one-click pizza ordering).

Q3: Which sites have the best (or worst) mobile experiences?

Again, simplicity was highly valued…

And bigger commerce sites had a clear advantage:

The travel industry was also mentioned several times as being ahead of the game, possibly because of these businesses’ awareness of context:

Although even mobile-first businesses can cause confusion (or I’m just very fussy):

Overall the rules for m-commerce seem straightforward. Keep forms and interfaces as simple as possible, and consider the context of a user request. If it is likely to happen on the move, then keep the path as short as possible. For research and Lo-mo requests, providing deeper information is useful, but may be better presented through a mobile site, rather than an app.

For more on mobile marketing, check out Andy Favell’s excellent post on “Mobile Design and the art of doing one thing well” , and be sure to check out our recent Report on the DNA of a great M-Commerce Site.

Related reading

A QR code which leads to the URL for the ClickZ article about QR codes. Meta.