How Retailers Can Close the 'Mobile Gap'
It's well documented how consumers are increasingly turning to their phones as a means to shop. Consider that 56 percent of all retail traffic is coming from mobile devices, yet those shoppers are one-third less likely to make a purchase than their counterparts on desktops and laptops. Why? Jason Goldberg, senior vice president of commerce and content at Razorfish, a full-service digital agency, provided three reasons during his keynote presentation this week at the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst Americas conference in Las Vegas. Goldberg also addressed some potential solutions that will help retailers close what he terms “the mobile gap.”
3 Reasons for the Mobile Gap
Goldberg cited the following three reasons why retailers aren't converting mobile visitors at nearly the same rate as they are desktop and laptop visitors. Furthermore, this is a problem that's existed for the last several years. So while mobile traffic numbers continue to skyrocket, conversion rates for these shoppers have remained flat.
1. “Moneyball” syndrome: Influenced by an earlier presentation at Catalyst Americas from Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics and inspiration for the book and subsequent film “Moneyball,” Goldberg believes retailers aren't looking at the right metrics when measuring the effectiveness of their mobile efforts.
“Conversion is a vanity stat,” Goldberg said. “On its own it's not a success metric.” He went to explain that many consumers come to mobile sites with no intention of making a purchase. They're looking up the address of the nearest brick-and-mortar store, checking inventory, comparison shopping, among a host of other objectives, Goldberg said.
“These visitors don't have high purchase intent, and they're skewing mobile conversion rates,” Goldberg noted. “Retailers need better metrics than simply relying on conversion. Conversion isn't a KPI; profits are.”
2. Cross-device attribution: According to a Google study, 67 percent of consumers use multiple devices before making a purchase online. Therefore, last-click attribution doesn’t work, said Goldberg, noting the significant number of shoppers who browse for products on their phones, then buy them on their desktops and laptops. “Mobile gets no credit for that purchase,” Goldberg said.
To resolve this issue, Goldberg suggests retailers implement multitouch attribution models that have the ability to accurately report on the conversion rate of device clusters (phones, tablets, laptops, desktops). Furthermore, they should design user experiences for multidevice shoppers. For example, do away with m.dot URLs, Goldberg advised. They don’t translate to the full screen of a desktop if a shopper emails a URL to himself/herself for viewing later, leading to a less-than-optimal experience.
3. Friction: User behavior often doesn’t align with design elements on retailers’ mobile sites, said Goldberg, with checkout/payments being the leading culprit. “You need three hands to check out – one to hold the phone, one to hold the credit card, and the other to type in your information.”
Potential solutions such as mobile wallets, including Apple Pay being made available for mobile websites, aren’t there quite yet, Goldberg said. Retailers often provide too many wallet solutions to shoppers – don’t NASCAR your checkout experience with the logos of all the different mobile wallet providers, Goldberg said – and Apple Pay would be limited to use on the Safari browser on iOS devices.
“The amount of consumer attention [i.e., time spent on site] retailers get on mobile is way less than they get on desktop,” Goldberg said. “Therefore, the shopping experience on mobile must be simpler.”
Here are some tips from Goldberg on how to eliminate – or at least ease – the friction points for mobile shoppers:
- Make your pages lighter so they load faster. In what he half-jokingly referred to as “tragic news,” Goldberg noted that the mobile web is getting slower every year as retailers add more content and third-party widgets to their pages. “This is crushing conversion. The faster your pages load, the more you sell.”
- Cut form fields on your checkout page. The average checkout on mobile consists of filling out 23 fields. “People don’t like forms; they trigger a negative response in our brains,” Goldberg said. He advised retailers to cut their mobile checkout page to five fields: full name (not first and last name as separate fields); address with the help of Google Autocomplete (one field for entire address, not separate fields for street address, city, state, country, ZIP code); email address; phone number (at this point in the checkout process the keyboard changes from accordion to numerals to make it easier for the customer); and credit card (card number, CVV number, expiration date all in one field).
“Let shoppers do what they want to do,” Goldberg advised the audience. Eliminating friction in the shopping experience, particularly at checkout, is critical to achieving that goal.
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