Mobile conversion remains the crux of mobile adoption in retail

Despite the meteoric rise of ecommerce, mobile conversion rates are still a critical issue for retailers.

A recent study from Mobile Ecosystem Forum shows that 58% of customers abandon mobile transactions at the shopping cart due to concerns over providing sensitive information, connectivity issues, or frustration with the length of the process.

Yes, that means more than half of your mobile customers are ditching purchases all because of inconsistent mobile experiences. Some may revisit their purchases via desktop or stores, but let’s be honest: there’s going to be at least a 50% attrition rate.

In a broad sense, marketers have tried to hide the man-behind-the-curtain with the idea of cross-channel marketing.

While the cross-channel world increases the likelihood that many consumers are ‘showrooming’ on mobile, the fact is that cross-channel attribution remains murky. It leads to vague insights—like showrooming—being executed based on limited quantitative data on the actual impacts of the customer journey.

The data does suggest that there are still many critical issues with mobile sites, specifically at the points of browsing, checkout and payments.

Some marketers think the solution for mobile is an elusive cross-channel customer map detailing the many touchpoints customers have with the brand. While helpful to the overall benefit of cross-channel, it doesn’t really do much to solve mobile issues. In reality, the issues and solutions are much more targeted.

The issue with mobile experience in retail

Cross-channel adoption isn’t going to fix the problem.

Some marketers today talk about cross-channel as if it makes up for the bad experiences, inconsistencies and poor executions that they offer. It helped marketers jump on the bandwagon quickly, but it placed a Band-Aid over the gaping wound that is mobile checkout.

Many marketers and product owners approach cross-channel assuming that a customer with a poor mobile experience will simply move to stores to buy the same product. Sorry, that’s not showrooming; that’s a poor customer journey.

The misconstrued idea that many customers simply utilize mobile to research, and want to buy in another channel, doesn’t account for the fact that customers still want simplicity; they won’t want to move to another channel if they feel comfortable in the mobile sphere.

Yes, some customers—myself included in some instances—like to have additional product information within the store environment, resorting to a mobile device.  But with the digitization of the store experience, that will soon be a moot point. The only other reason to showroom will be to conduct a price comparison—a negative attribute for any retailer.

Clearly relying on cross-channel to pick up the slack isn’t going to be enough to overcome the challenges mobile still faces.  There’s an egregious number of cart abandons that aren’t going to pick up in-store or on Ecommerce.

Furthermore, apps have shown that they have very little room to compete with mobile web. US downloads dropped 20% year over year, according to Nomura, and 2017 will be tumultuous for the declining retail app market. That drop-off is poised to increase as mobile web continues to catch up to apps in load time and personalization.

Time to face the music

Brands have been skirting the issue for too long.  Retailers remained driven by desktop too long, they looked to apps as the savior, and now they are looking to cross-channel options to mitigate the mobile crisis.

The solution to this is quite simple, but it requires a blunt understanding of your brand’s inefficiencies, the voice of the customer to be heard, and investment in solutions to fix those problems.

Here are some basic tips to get started:

Load time

Load screens are the bane of any customer experience. Keep browsing pages straightforward. Don’t overdo it with assets and information; they’re negative elements that distract users on small screens.

Same goes for checkout

Tier checkout screens to piecemeal information in manageable chunks. Don’t overwhelm users with the amount of information they’ll need to fill in or they’ll bounce.

The fewer clicks, the better

Use an account to your favor with stored information. It ensures a smoother process for customers and the brand collects valuable data. Consider marketing an account to increase use; it’s well worth the space on the homepage or division pages.

Also, make checkout form fields as simple as possible. Clicking into them is a pain and seeing 10 form fields can make users drop the product and abandon cart.

There’s much more that needs to be done to evolve mobile to its full potential, but those are the most common issues brands face. Each must also be integrated into the brand’s ideology, culture and creative elements.

Yet, if ecommerce managers can bridge those hurdles, the revenue generated from those lost carts is massive—it’s worth the investment and the introspective on your brand.

Retail’s tumultuous future

Retail is facing a massive amount of turmoil these days—to the point that disruption is the only consistent aspect of marketers’ lives. From the immense decrease in store traffic, to the daily technology disruptions impacting all aspects of IT, creative and marketing, it’s made retail a fun yet truly stressful place to be.

Just when we begin to outline a roadmap, something else comes and throws a wrench in everything.

But don’t let the shiny bells and whistles distract from the projects that can truly show performance. Customers are yearning for better mobile experiences to help their shopping journeys. Mobile checkout optimization and the mobile customer journey are clear-cut ROI winners. Don’t let those carts roll away.

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