Statistics portal Statista predicts that the mobile retail commerce sales will hit 31 billion dollars by 2017, from 8 billion in 2012. With more consumers looking to their mobile devices for browsing and purchasing products online, the mobile e-commerce market is fast becoming a necessary way to push your products online. But who exactly are your mobile e-commerce audience?
They can be categorized into two groups.
There are Swipers, who browse through the internet with the resources and time to buy but not having a specific product in mind. And then we have the Searchers, customers who go online specifically to check out and buy products. Here’s a quick guide on how to optimize your site for both.
Who are Swipers?
You may think of your Swipers as the internet’s answer for store browsers - the customers that go around malls or stores, not really looking for anything but willing to buy when something catches their attention. Mobile Swipers are likely only browsing in their spare time, and put an emphasis on availability (i.e. if a product they want is in stock) and promotions (if items are on sale or discount) over other options.
This type of mobile consumer is more challenging to convert than searchers on the basis that they’re just browsing; they have no serious intent to purchase yet. Influenced by user-defined trends and their social media browsing habits, Swipers are characterized by convenience - they want to see everything but be able to pick only a few.
Optimization for Swipers
Swipers are attracted to pages with a clear visual hierarchy and design, as well as defined Call To Actions (CTAs) like buy buttons, since it's easy for them to get carried away with swiping and browsing, and end up not converting.
They are also more likely to make impulse purchases, so it is a good idea to give a general overview of your products rather than overwhelming them with too much detail. You can also consider making the sales section prominent and easily accessible to "persuade" these Swipers to check out on impulse.
A good example of a site that has been optimized for swipers is Pinterest. With its board-like design and visually-centered layout, it has proven to be one of the more lucrative places for e-commerce companies to thrive since they introduced their buyable pins feature.
There are several factors that make sites like Pinterest appealing to the swipers of the mobile e-commerce market. The “pin” concept of Pinterest is convenient for Swipers who want a visual layout of items they may be interested in, and makes browsing far easier, especially on mobile devices.
Who are Searchers?
Searchers are your equivalent of grocery shoppers - they go to e-commerce sites with a product or a purchase already in mind. While the traditional platform that Searchers use is still the desktop, more and more are starting to embrace mobile shopping, seeking to blend the ease of mobile use with the thoroughness of desktop site navigation.
In general, Searchers have a higher conversion rate because their mindset is already inclined towards purchasing a product - so to this end, it’s more important to focus on your service. The greatest challenge in this case is to offer a smooth end-to-end shopping experience for Searchers as they are likely to encounter problems regarding delivery services, product information and item options while going through the buyer's cycle.
Optimizing for Searchers
Fashion retailer Zalora's mobile app is a good example of how to blend the demands of desktop shopping with mobile platforms. A blend of text and images makes up a more thorough and detailed process for their customers and leads them to examine a product in greater depth. This approach works well with Searchers, who have the attention span and motive to read through a more detailed description, unlike Swipers.
Since Searchers are already in the purchasing part of the buyer’s journey, more access to product information and easy site navigation is key. A great search engine (like one incorporating visual search technology) is a useful tool for Searchers, as well as advanced filters and product options. These features bring about efficient and relevant product search processes, allowing for quick purchases for Searchers.
CTAs are relatively less essential with Searchers (as compared to Swipers) who have already committed to the buying part of the buyer’s journey. Therefore, checkout optimization should be the key focus of the site aside from product information. In addition, an overpresentation of products offered on your site will clutter the mobile screen and take away focus from the searcher’s desired product, which can lead to cart abandonment and ultimately lower sales.
A mobile e-commerce platform that takes into account and optimizes for the different target audiences they have will be able to adapt and take the lead in the ever-changing landscape of mobile retail. With the categorization and understanding of these different kinds of mobile consumers, it becomes much easier for e-commerce players to generate leads, achieve higher conversion rates and improve customer engagement.