It’s true. People are actively adopting mobile commerce as a way to buy things online.
I know this because I’ve started buying stuff using my mobile devices. I’m not a first mover when it comes to putting my financial information “out there” on a seemingly less protected device than my trusty computer. (Hmmmm. Maybe I shouldn’t admit to not being a first mover on a technologically driven blog, but I’m keeping it real here. I need to see how something works for others before I stick my neck out.)
For those of you that are (understandably) not swayed by my increasing personal use of mobile commerce as a way to shop online, Internet Retailer reports:
- More than 33.3 million U.S. consumers already engage in shopping-related activities on their mobile phones.
- 7%, or 2.3 million, of those consumers have made a purchase on their devices.
With these statistics in mind, it is essential that you consider your branding strategy for mobile as it relates to your ecommerce site and online presence.
While certain allowances are made for mobile commerce sites due to spatial constraints and the like, continuity of branding and shopping experience is essential, regardless of platform. What’s more, it’s critical that your mobile site succinctly and accurately represent your brand from the outset as customers are quite often even more distracted on a mobile device than on a desktop machine.
My Recent Mobile Commerce Experience
I recently visited the website of a women’s clothing store (that shall remain nameless to protect the not-so-innocent) to search for new pants. The full-size / “regular” site offered a robust and dynamic experience where I could filter down to the items that best fit my needs through faceted search or to shop for an entire outfit based on a few key questions. The site’s look and feel furthered the brand’s image as the clothing destination of choice. I found the pants I wanted, but ran out of time and had to abandon the session.
Undaunted, I picked up my smartphone to make my purchase. When I directed my phone’s browser to the URL in question, the site immediately recognized my handheld device and redirected me to the mobile site. What I encountered there brought my purchase to a screeching halt.
While I was definitely shopping the same website in mobile form, the sleek look and feel was gone, as was the enhanced functionality that helped me locate my ideal pair of pants. The mobile user interface was built to the size of my phone’s screen, but lacked the sophistication of its sister site. Branding was minimal, images were few, and search was nearly non-existent.
For a few minutes, I struggled to find the pants I wanted on the mobile site. Then I gave up entirely. I haven’t purchased the pants yet even though I’ve been in front a computer or on my tablet daily since my mobile shopping debacle.
I was turned off by the mobile ecommerce site experience.
It felt like a bait and switch after the rich experience of the regular site. My blasé interest in buying the pants that I wanted so badly also tells me something important: Consumers are expecting more from every ecommerce experience, mobile and otherwise and the exceptional user experience on one doesn’t necessarily forgive the poor user experience of the other.