10 Ways to Reach Mobile Shoppers with Your Online Business - dummies

10 Ways to Reach Mobile Shoppers with Your Online Business

By Greg Holden

These ten suggestions will help make your online store just as effective with mobile shoppers as with those who are sitting at a desktop. Think about some of these things when choosing a host or designing a store; you can implement other suggestions any time to expand your customer base.

Make your online store mobile-friendly

You’ve probably seen sites that look totally different on a mobile device than they do on a desktop computer. Unlike their desktop counterparts, these are simplified, appear quickly and it’s easy to tap what you need.

A growing number of e-commerce hosts create a mobile-friendly version for you for no extra cost. They include Jimdo, Magento, Shopify, and Pinnacle Cart, to name a few. If it’s important to you to have a mobile site as well as a conventional one; make sure the e-commerce host you choose does this for you as part of your hosting package.

A service called Mobify converts your website to a format that can easily be viewed and navigated on a mobile device. You can also use an online utility called Onbile to create your own mobile site.

Keep your presentation ultra-simple

Flashy animation introductions and video clips are all well and good, but you need to keep all these flashy elements off your mobile site.

It’s wise to adhere to the following rules of mobile simplicity:

  • Invite shoppers to explore. Your initial screen should include just the most important links to your catalog or website.

  • Make purchases simple. On a mobile site, it’s essential to be able to add an item to a shopping cart and then make a purchase with a minimum of mouse clicks.

Enable mobile device payments

It pays to sign up with a mobile payment service so people can pay you wherever you are. The best-known such service is called Square Payments.

Other companies have created payment systems that work with mobile devices. Check out PayPal Here and Intuit GoPayment. All these services work by means of a device called a dongle that plugs into a smartphone and enables it to connect to a payment network.

Create an app

An app performs lots of essential business functions:

  • It’s embedded into the device. Once a user downloads and installs an app, it’s there in the device. It is assigned a shortcut, and users can place that shortcut right on their home screen.

  • It promotes your products. If you have Groupon’s popular app, you see today’s special deals the moment you open it up.

  • It makes your site easy to use. The app can be configured to store user information so it doesn’t have to be entered at checkout; a purchase might take just one or two clicks.

Sites like Intellectsoft give you an estimate on how much your own app might cost.

Offer a coupon deal they can’t refuse

The latest trend is to have coupons delivered to consumers’ smartphones; they don’t necessarily have to appear in print at all.

With a little effort, you can create coupons that you post on your website or in your store so that customers can download them to their phones. The free service Keypons makes it easy for you to assign a name to your offer, enter the specifics in a form and enter instructions on how the shopper should redeem it.

Consider a mobile-only shopping cart provider

If most of your customers use mobile devices, or if you are just starting out and want to focus exclusively on mobile commerce, create your store especially for the “small screen” with a mobile shopping cart.

Service providers like 2ergo and asknet work from the ground up with mobile sites, so they are familiar with what platforms to work with, what size constraints they have to meet, and so on, as well as features like mobile coupons.

Go beyond “mobile” to include “social”

Make it easy for mobile shoppers to connect with friends to spread the word about your products and services. Here are some suggestions:

  • Take advantage of mobile reviews. Give your visitors a chance to post reviews of your store or your products; mobile web surfers love reviews and seek them out.

  • Help shoppers “pin” your products. Provide a button that enables visitors to quickly “pin” items to Pinterest.

  • Help reviews share their views. Provide one-touch buttons so those who leave reviews for you can share those reviews with their friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Keep your mobile site cross-platform

It’s always important to make sure your web content appears the way you want no matter what computer platform or browser your visitor uses. It’s even more important when the content appears on a tablet or smartphone.

Be sure to test your site to make sure the appearance is accurate on the most popular platforms and on browsers such as Chrome, Safari, and Android’s built-in browser.

Focus on shoppers who are likely buyers

A study by Apsalar indicates that mobile shoppers are not necessarily engaged buyers. The sheer number of things demanding their attention on their smartphones mean they tend not to follow through with transactions on their mobile devices.

Good news. You already have a set of engaged customers — shoppers who have already purchased from you, who “Like” you on Facebook, who have chosen to subscribe to your newsletter if you have one. Offer them special promotions and rewards, and encourage them to tell their friends on Facebook and Twitter.

Contact customers in your area with a geofence

A geofence is a location that you specify using a service such as Thumbvista. Logically, this would be the location of your brick-and-mortar store if you have one.

When someone nears or passes by the geofence, the service sends a text message to the mobile devices of individuals who have already opted in to receive such messages. This can be a welcome alert that might well result in a purchase.