Online retailers know that mobile continues to grow and reshape the omnichannel discussion in the U.S. When comparing the 5 percent growth on mobile to the overall 10 percent e-commerce growth, we know that many of the same purchases we used to rely on a laptop for are now happening on a tablet or phone. While these appear to be incredible growth rates, one still needs to condition their excitement on the approximately 2 percent of total U.S. retail spend with the fact that there are actually more “smart” mobile devices across the U.S. than there are laptops. We also know that there's a disconnect in the quality of experience being delivered on mobile compared to other devices, so there's still considerable ground to gain on mobile.
This shift between devices means you can “win” mobile by providing the ideal user experience. In competitive online retail markets, mobile user experience determines whether a conversion happens on a mobile-responsive website or app, or if the customer bounces to a competitor to find the same or similar product because its site is more seamless.
If you're in a less competitive space but thrive on the success you've built as a brand, you're inherently concerned with consistency across your brand experience. When we look to our best customers and recognize the best brands in retail, we know their success comes from a consistent experience across devices, platforms and mediums. Mobile provides an opportunity to reinforce this unique experience with the consumers that your brand attracts.
Winning Mobile on Key Campaign Days
For competitive retailers, this means providing a consistent experience during key campaigns and top sales events of the year. When looking at the consequences of failure on mobile, what's at stake is slightly different. We must remember what could happen if a site is unresponsive or if the app shuts down altogether. On a laptop, you're competing against other internet shops, social media sites and email. On mobile, you're competing with these aspects, in addition to messaging apps, text messages and phone calls. The best way to avoid losing the attention of your customer is by providing the best and most engaging user experience possible.
When your back-end technology systems are pushed to the limit, the experience needs to remain consistent across all channels. Consumers are very likely to check their laptop if the tablet app is slow to load, or check the phone app if an online store goes down. This multidevice traffic needs to be accounted for as it will place additional strain on your systems.
In the event that you're dealing with more traffic than you expected or than your system can handle, the best solution is to communicate with and provide as much information as possible to your customers. In the digital age, this is what consumers have come to expect. If not provided with substantial information, customers will be dissatisfied, can leave negative reviews, etc. One key tactic is to offer an integrated customer communication system during these events. Customers dislike uncertainty, which this communication system can help avoid.
Now is the time for retailers to take action by focusing more of their efforts on revamping their mobile store technology and consumer experience. As the shift to mobile continues to grow faster than overall e-commerce and total retail trends, being the leader in mobile experience today will equate to being the leader in retail in the not-so-distant future.
Camilla Ley Valentin is the co-founder and chief customer officer of Queue-it, a virtual waiting room system that allows you to gain control of website overload during extreme traffic peaks by placing customers in a queue.