Success in Mobile Commerce Requires a Mobile-specific Strategy

Having a distinct mobile ecommerce strategy is often what separates high-performing sites from mediocre ones. In this post, I’ll share a framework for creating a short- and long-term mobile strategy. Money, time, and human capital are your most valuable resources. How you allocate each of those will define your strategy.

…a distinct mobile ecommerce strategy is often what separates high-performing sites from mediocre ones.

Goals and Opportunities

Ecommerce sites typically set goals for overall revenue and growth. However, it is essential to create mobile-specific goals, too. Roughly half of ecommerce traffic now comes from mobile devices, according to Google. Thus specific metrics for mobile — i.e., conversions, bounce rates — are critical.

Start building a strategy by considering your company’s key inputs. For most sites, the ecommerce platform and the mobile commerce it supports are the most obvious inputs.

Many companies keep a list of mobile-specific opportunities. But they never weigh those opportunities against their goals. Here are factors I consider most important, in order of importance:

  • Cost. How much will an opportunity cost in time and money?
  • Level of impact. This is the hardest to score but arguably the most important. For example, a merchant might invest in a sophisticated email platform but fail to evaluate its impact. In my experience, ecommerce companies do not objectively size the impact of their initiatives (such as mobile-friendly email marketing efforts) and, as a result, are disappointed when opportunities don’t achieve their goals.
  • Priority. Once you’ve established a list of mobile opportunities, it’s important to rigorously prioritize the projects. I’m a fan of prioritizing by force-ranking. For example, if one project would deliver 10-percent growth in conversions and another only 1 percent, the 10-percent option is the priority.
  • Dependencies. The feasibility of initiatives is often based on internal and external dependencies. For mobile devices, the two most overlooked dependencies are relying on users to opt in to location sharing and push notifications. Think carefully about how likely your users would do either. For Uber, as an example, opt-in rates for location status and notifications are near 100 percent. For ecommerce sites, the opt-in rates are closer to 50 percent for larger sites, and less for smaller ones.

Internal dependencies typically involve technical requirements that serve as necessary building-blocks to achieve your ultimate outcome. For example, your opportunity may be dependent on building a unique connection to a third-party, such as connecting to supplier info or a chat dialogue box for your customer support agents. Be realistic about your company’s ability to achieve that dependency.

Using Data

Capturing data — quantitative and qualitative — is critical to any mobile strategy. Start with qualitative data. The easiest way to gather this type of data is by talking to customers. Listening or even answering customer support calls can be a treasure trove of data that will help you determine priorities.

Ask two simple questions. “What did you expect to happen?” and “What can I solve for you?” Both will help identify problems that your visitors experience. Establish a solid group of common problems and then confirm them with quantitative data.

Quantitative data is often a bottomless pit. For most companies, simple tools such as Google Analytics aggregate more data on mobile visitors than they could reasonably absorb and analyze. So start with qualitative data and use quantitative data to confirm the initial hypotheses that the qualitative data identified.

For example, if users share frustrations with checking out on their phone after adding items to their cart, review abandonment rates for mobile visitors versus desktop. If data from that review confirms the problem, prioritize that item accordingly.

David Shreni
David Shreni
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