As mobile commerce (or m-commerce) brings a new accessibility and speed to the e-commerce marketplace, it’s looking like handheld revenue will soon spike past earnings made from desktop clients. eMarketer reports m-commerce sales in the UK (considered a significantly advanced market in all things digital) will make up 24 percent of total sales in 2014. Meanwhile, US mobile sales will comprise a respectable 19 percent. Another thing to look out for in 2014: the smart tab. This mobile device offers the convenience of the smartphone married to the bigger (7-inch) screen of a tablet. Mobile devices are poised to pick up the PC’s mission of permanently turning the shopping experience from a brick and mortar jaunt with an intent to purchase into an on-the-go or at-home shopping state of mind, 24/7.
So what does all this m-commerce buzz mean for e-commerce? Mobile-optimized is no longer an option: it’s a must. Although mobile may not yet be the most popular point-of-sale (POS), m-commerce will be what drives sales in 2014. When a business, big or small, can provide the consumer with a mobile-friendly website, it isn’t only establishing a second e-commerce POS, but also a sleek and speedy shopping experience. So just plop the company website code into a mobile platform? Done! Not so fast. Keep in mind that just because a company has a dotcom that will pull up on a mobile device, that doesn’t guarantee that the website will be mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized. These three obstacles will stop an m-commerce sale in its tracks: (1) a site that is slow to load, (2) a site that contains garbled or illegible text, and (3) a site with a distorted layout. It’s traffic Kyrptonite.
Here are four mobile must-haves, which avoid a mangled website and allow consumers a sleek and simple version of your existing interface.
Think Tap, Not Click
Anything users mouse click on a desktop is anything users will finger tap on a mobile site. Keep in mind, there is no “hover” option on mobile, so design accordingly. Check out what Flickr has done with its mobile-optimized site.
Single Column Layout
Viewing a website in a multiple-column layout works well for a desktop — bigger screen, different navigation. However, mobile users tap, touch, and scroll. Single column layout is essential for scrolling. Check out what Sony has done with its mobile-optimized site.
Collapsible Navigation is a further simplification on the single column layout. In CN, users can choose to hide chunks of content they’re not interested in. This adds to the personalized experience that mobile shoppers expect. Check out what ESPN has done with its mobile-optimized site.
Unlike a desktop browsing experience, mobile shopping is more personal. Responsive Design allows users to engage with the same content over each of their mobile devices—the smartphone, the tablet and maybe even the smartTab. Check out what Zappos has done with its mobile-optimized site.