Mobile commerce continues to grow in the United States and around the world as online merchants realize the power that it brings to a comprehensive ecommerce strategy. InternetRetailer.com recently estimated that in 2012 mobile purchases will total $10 billion dollars. By 2016, they predict that mobile purchases made on smart phones will total $31 billion dollars. (And this figure does not appear to take into account any purchases made on tablet devices!)
What does this mean for business-to-business (B2B) organizations? Quite frankly, that if your ecommerce site is not optimized for mobile viewing, searching, and ordering, you’re going to be missing out on a lot of sales. UPDATE: As of 2015, if your site is not device responsive it will actually hurt your search engine rankings.
For maximum mobile impact your B2B ecommerce site should:
Provide “miniaturized content.” No, you aren’t making the site’s font and pictures super tiny. Rather, you should break your content into small, digestible chunks. Mobile users want specific details right away, so cut the fluff and get to the point. And they are likely on the go, so think along the lines of billboard headlines and concise, yet meaty supporting sentences. Don’t ramble on and on forever. Your user is only going to scroll down on that tiny screen for so long before they get frustrated and bail on you.
Simplify, simplify, simplify. Use this mantra when creating your navigational structure, choosing your site’s font, designing how buttons and links function, and in how you utilize images in your mobile site. Choose a simple background and make sure the screen is easy to look at. This is no place for cluttery graphics or fancy fly-out menus. Keep it simple–especially the checkout process!
Make it easy to use. I know this is something of a “Duh!” comment, but as humans we tend to want to over complicate things. Think of the average size of a smart phone screen. It’s small. That means that whatever you put out there for mobile consumption should be easy to read, easy to navigate and self-explanatory.
Include essential links. There’s nothing more frustrating to me than landing on a mobile commerce site that locks me into the mobile format and won’t let me move beyond the simplified navigation to get to important links on the regular ecommerce site. With that in mind, provide your customers with the option to “View the regular site” at the bottom of each mobile page. Likewise, consider including a direct link to support in the same spot.
Mobile commerce presents the B2B organization with a clear strategy to drive sales growth through ecommerce as more and more people transition to having smart phones in their pockets and tablet devices in their bags. Without a functional mobile commerce strategy to compliment your ecommerce initiative, you are likely to lose an increasing number of sales to your mobile commerce-enabled competition in the coming years.
To learn more about how to leverage the power of mobile commerce in your B2B business, download the white paper, Mobile Commerce Strategy – A Case for Responsive Design.