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Four best practices to improve your current mobile shopping experience

Mobile commerce is huge right now. Consumers, who've increasingly integrated smartphones with their everyday lives, are now using portable technology to interact with the world around them. Customers are also using these devices to browse for products and services for sale, often making purchases directly from their phones. 

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers study found that 47 percent of consumer respondents made a purchase directly from their smartphone either daily, weekly, monthly or a few times last year(1). There's a shift in the consumer buying paradigm, and it's migrating toward digital and smartphone technology. Local merchants must consider investing in mobile commerce, or else they could find themselves being left behind.

For small-business owners that are considering implementing a mcommerce infrastructure, here are four best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Optimize for mobile viewing: A small business may have an ecommerce site, and that's great news. But mobile commerce varies slightly from traditional online retail in that viewers are using a device with a smaller screen. Although customers can technically view a company's website on their phone or tablet, if it's not mobile optimized, it's harder to view and navigate. Consumers want a seamless mobile shopping experience, which means merchants must make their website mobile friendly. Customers - and a business's bottom line - will greatly appreciate it.
  2. Protect sensitive customer information: Customers generally enjoy utilizing new and alternative methods of payment, but one primary concern they have is protecting their sensitive data. Both contact and payment information need to be safeguarded, and merchants must protect their customers' data, or else they're likely to lose business and tarnish their brand reputation. If local businesses demonstrate they value their customers' information security and go the extra length to protect that data, they're more likely to gain consumer trust and improve recurring revenue.
  3. Make sure loading time is fast: Mobile internet users expect a web-browsing experience similar to the one they get on a PC or a laptop, which highlights the importance for a mcommerce site or mobile app to load quickly. A recent KISSmetrics infographic found 30 percent of online shoppers said they would wait six to 10 seconds before they abandoned a page. While 20 percent said they would wait more than 20 seconds, 16 percent said they would wait just one to five seconds before they left a mobile commerce page. Overall, a one-second delay in page response time can result in a seven percent reduction in conversions. Slow websites dramatically impact a bottom line, so it's imperative small businesses invest in a fast and updated mobile infrastructure (2).
  4. Make it fast and easy: The fewer touch points a customer has to engage with, the higher the chance he or she will ultimately convert into making a purchase. Consumers shopping on a mobile device want a seamless and easy-to-use platform, especially since they're engaging with a brand from a mobile device. That said, merchants need to ensure their navigation tools are easy to use and customers can quickly search for exactly what it is they need. A great way to organize a mobile ecommerce website is to categorize products on different landing pages, making a search and purchase that much easier.

1. PricewaterhouseCoopers, http://www.pwc.com/gx/en/retail-consumer/retail-consumer-publications/global-multi-channel-consumer-survey/assets/pdf/total-retail-2015.pdf (February 2015)

2. KISSmetrics, https://blog.kissmetrics.com/loading-time/

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