You already know that mobile is taking over the online shopping industry, but do you fully understand how this shift impacts nearly every aspect of your marketing? From SEO to email to checkout, being mobile-friendly is about much more than responsive web design — which you likely implemented 12 or more months ago.
What does this mean for your mobile site and presence? Quite a bit. Whether you‘ve issued your own branded app, are using apps like Shopkick to expand your brand presence or are simply using a responsive site as your mobile touchpoint, your SEO, checkout and email experiences must be congruent with consumer preference and leading industry trends. We’ll break down these three key mobile marketing functions with expertise pulled from those working closing with enterprise-level ecommerce platforms all over the world.
Checkout Trends: The End of the Credit Card Era
Mobile commerce hit nearly $204 billion in global revenue in 2014, with predictions putting it at $626 billion in 2018. And, just as consumers expect convenience from mobile-local SEO, they also expect convenience from mobile checkout.
What do consumers see as convenient? Not having to enter a credit card number on their phone every time they want to purchase something.
Sounds simple enough, but heretofore, there haven’t been any leading technologies allowing for the simplification of mobile checkout. In fall 2014, Apple Pay changed that — and now many are predicting 2015 to be the year of the digital wallet.
“Expect to see an increase in non-credit card based payments in 2015 thanks to more secure payment methods like Apple Pay, Bitcoin and PayPal,” says Mike Blakely, Enterprise Ecommerce Specialist at Bigcommerce. “Entering credit card information will start to become less important in 2015.”
For many, though, this predicted jump from mobile shopping as a niche to a majority is theoretical at best. After all, mobile shopping currently accounts for only an estimated 1% of all commerce transactions, and even the most conservative predictions place mobile shopping at a high of between 30-50% in the coming year. So, what is different about digital wallets that will produce such an increase in mobile shopping?
Bill Ready, CEO of the PayPal unit Braintree, explains: “Over the next five years, we’ll see digital wallets — apps and hardware that will let us buy things directly, without the need to fumble for a credit card — becoming the primary way people buy on mobile. That shift is going to begin in earnest in 2015. But it won’t be because people want to scrap the physical wallet they carry in their purse or pocket.
We carry our smartphones around with us everywhere we go, using them to communicate, consume content, shop and fill spare moments in our day. On average, U.S. smartphone owners now spend about three hours per day on their phones. The increase in the amount of time spent on mobile is also translating to an increase in mobile commerce.”
The number one predicted driver to increase mobile commerce is what is known as one-touch payments, technology which is already being created, tested and implemented by Apple and PayPal. This will dramatically improve consumer convenience with mobile shopping, increasing conversions as a result.
Security Meets Convenience
Security protection will also be a major driver of the push to mobile commerce via digital wallets. While there have previously been options for online consumers to use particular payment processing companies to transact online without revealing their financial information, the majority of consumers today still forego that security, passing their information onto countless merchants through card swipes and online entry forms.
While that type of data may be useful for enterprise ecommerce sites using the information to better target ads, emails and recommended products, the potential for a serious breach causes more harm than good — both for companies and for consumers. Simply remembering the longtail repercussions for Target after their breach is proof enough.
Digital wallets kill the legacy payment model of sharing detailed financial information with every swipe or transaction. Take Apple Pay, for instance. The security of Apple Pay relies on a 16-digit encrypted number, or token. Each card will get its own token specific to the device on which it is entered. According to The Wall Street Journal, this is how it works:
"When a consumer wants to buy cheese at a Whole Foods, the device would use a short-range radio system, called near-field communication, or NFC, to send the 16-digit token to the card reader. This token would be paired with a one-time string of random numbers created by encryption keys stored on the iPhone."
"It's impossible to do transactions without data, and data is obviously a potential risk," James Anderson, group head of mobile product development at MasterCard Inc., which worked with Apple on the payment technology, told The Wall Street Journal. "We are hypersensitive to that topic. Let's say somebody is listening and is able to pick up the data. Essentially you get a useless 16-digit number. I could email it to my friend and they could email it back to me, but there's nothing they could do with it."
Security concerns over private financial data will thus lead more and more consumers to the use of digital wallets, forcing retailers (including ecommerce retailers), to use differing data sets in order to better segment their customer base.
Given this, what can ecommerce businesses do now to stay ahead of the trend? Implement the use of one-touch payment processing that allows for fast, easy and safe mobile checkout. Doing so is the cornerstone of marketing: that is, keeping your customer top of mind. When the consumer trusts you, your conversion will soar, and you’ll be ahead of the crowd when digital wallets become the norm.
Mobile Checkout Incongruencies
When it comes to mobile checkout, one-touch processing is ideal, but responsive site design is absolutely necessary. In addition, here are a few things to keep in mind when creating a consumer-focused and friendly mobile checkout experience:
Device type: Smartphones vary in size. Don’t ignore the experience of one type of device to another. Your site should be responsive. Think through tablet experience, Android experience, iPhone 5 vs. iPhone 6, etc. Be sure to create an engaging, convenient and easy consumer-to-conversion experience for every single possible device type touchpoint.
Operating system: Audience behavior can vary by operating system. For example, demographic differences may exist between Apple iOS and Android users. Here, it isn’t just the size that differs, it’s also the functionality of the OS. Be sure your app or site works well from homepage to product page to checkout on all operating systems, or risk losing a large potential customer base.
Connection type: Consumers can shift between Wi-Fi and 3G or 4G connections depending on their current locations. Experiences can be optimized for a fast or slow connection speed.
For more information on mobile-local SEO and email marketing for a mobile audience, download Bigcommerce’s free guide: Ecommerce Marketing Trends that Will Make or Break Your Business.
Tracey Wallace is the managing editor at Bigcommerce, where she writes on topics concerning online small businesses. In a previous life, she wrote about small business and boutique success at Mashable, ELLE and Time Out New York. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Bustle, PolicyMic and Refinery29. She honed her chops at Shoptiques, where she was the director of content for the Y-Combinator startup.