Mobile Web usage continues to grow at a rapid rate, and both brands and Internet marketers are trying to capitalize on the trend in any way they can. But in this quest, they are coming up with a problem: E-commerce on mobile devices is different from e-commerce on desktops.
Some have adapted to this fact and others haven’t. The real issue here is a lack of standards; many companies just don’t know how to optimize their businesses for mobile screens. Some say it’s too hard, and others don’t believe mobile commerce (or “mCommerce”) is worth the investment.
Of course, they’re wrong. mCommerce is slated to reach $626 billion by 2017, according to Goldman Sachs. Total mCommerce is seeing massive growth around the world, even as e-commerce continues to rise at a strong pace on its own. And in the US, mCommerce and mobile Web usage have seen tremendous growth for years, with the growth trend expected to continue. Ignoring this growing channel is ignoring a new source of revenue and a new opportunity to interact with customers.
So how do you optimize for mobile?
Unlike the Web, there are two separate touch points on mobile devices: apps and the mobile site. Companies need to create dynamic pages that optimize for both. They also need to carefully track the screen sizes and devices of their visitors and make sure the sites operate and look attractive on all of those different screens. They need to do this for both the site and the app.
After the optimization process, and only after that, can marketers release their apps to the public. Then the feedback will come. Listen. Some of it will be good; a lot will be bad. Try to respond to your customers as quickly as you can and see what sticking points there are. But don’t just listen to the explicit feedback; look at bounce rates, abandoned carts and other signs of frustration along the shopping process. Is there a point where the mobile experience is just too difficult?
When these challenges are addressed, you have a solid product that can compete in today’s crowded app economy. Now is the time to push your app and promote it to as large of a crowd as you can.
But how to do that? There are the traditional channels, and then there are new options in paid media. App developers have consistently found success with Facebook, where you can promote your app and pay Facebook for the privilege. Some marketers balk at this — they want free traffic (who doesn’t?). But as the biggest app developers will tell you, if you pay to promote your ad on Facebook, they will come.
But this isn’t as simple as placing an ad in the newspaper. You need to make sure the right people are seeing your app at the right time. You need to make the ad compelling. You need to track who downloads and buys versus who downloads and doesn’t. Who keeps the app and for how long? How can you find more people like that?
This is the long and complicated process of optimizing apps for the best leads. It is a journey that involves time and money. But if you invest properly, you are preparing yourself for the fastest-growing sales channel in the world, and the benefits will soon be clear.
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