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Heading Into the New Year: Is Your Mobile Site Ready?

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Mobile is the channel that will set retailers apart from one another this holiday shopping season. According to eMarketer, the number of mobile shoppers is expected to exceed 145 million by the end of 2014 and 18-20 percent of all holiday season sales this year will occur on mobile devices. This trend in handheld shopping is changing the way consumers approach the commerce experience, and retailers need to be armed and ready.

Smartphone users are habitually using their devices both in and out of store. About 90 percent consult their phones before shopping to research store locations and deals. And 72 percent of consumers are also using their phones to check product reviews while in brick-and-mortar stores to gauge popular opinion via information sources, such as product reviews, which can have a direct impact on the likelihood of sale.

As mobile traffic picks up this holiday season, take the time to ensure your mobile site is ready to provide consumers with the best experience possible. Here are a few critical components to keep in mind to ensure a seamless experience for customers, while improving sales for you.

Product reviews have emerged as a secret weapon for retailers. More than ever before, consumers are referencing the reviews contributed by their peers while shopping online and when they’re in store via mobile devices. Research has shown shoppers value these authentic testimonies more than any content provided by brands themselves.

On mobile sites, retailers should ensure easy access to product reviews and other information, such as pricing and manufacturing info, as to provide consumers with all the information necessary for a purchase decision. If there are questions left unanswered, consumers will navigate away from your site to find what they need (and take their money with them).

We’ve all been there—waiting for a mobile page to load at what seems like a snail’s pace, only to find the images are pixelated and the layout is not properly sized. It’s an incredibly frustrating experience, but a great example of how important having a mobile-optimized site is this holiday season.

If consumers can’t quickly find the information they’re looking for, they’ll abandon your site and look for a better experience elsewhere. This means if your site isn’t optimized well, you’re losing out on sales. In a study of 53 retail clients, NetElixir found the conversion rate for mobile-optimized sites to be 160 percent higher than on non-optimized sites.

Take the time to ensure your mobile site is ready for the holiday and ask yourself the questions below:

  • Do pages load in less than two seconds?
  • Is content easy to read?
  • Are pages well designed and visually appealing?
  • Is it easy to navigate?

Most importantly, test your mobile site. Test it often, test it on multiple devices, at different times of day. If it’s not a site you would spend time on, don’t expect consumers to either.

Consumers are always looking for ways to save money, especially during the holiday season when shoppers want to stretch their budgets farther than any other time of year. As a result, many shoppers have turned to their mobile devices to find coupons, compare prices, and track down deals in real time.

In addition, a Forrester study commissioned by RetailMeNot found that consumers using smartphone coupons are more likely to spend more than originally anticipated, likely due to the fact that the majority of consumers redeem digital coupons within three days of receiving it.

Consider offering mobile coupons and mobile-only promotions on your site to help your customers save money, while also helping spur them into making a purchase.

Mobile shopping traffic is expected to explode this holiday season. Retailers looking to take full advantage of this shopping season must be prepared to distinguish themselves from others, and the best way to do that is by providing a superb mobile experience. By combining the right content, a strong user experience and mobile-centric features and promotions, retailers can drive sales via mobile and open up opportunities to engage with consumers in new ways.

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