I’ve been online for a LONG time, like when Prodgy was hot and AOL was cool….
I remember when Internet Service providers and web hosts started offering “shopping carts” enabling us to sell online and it was like really neat to start selling online. Many of these providers have been bought out or are out of business.
However, there’s lots of new companies emerging (like Merchant Circle and 3dCart) and older ones, like Network Solutions, GoDaddy.com and Register.com are still around and doing well.
One of the things that EVERY business must consider for their online sales is mobile sales. Your current web site is NOT optimized for mobile browser purchasing. This means that when customers want to buy from you from their smartphones (or other tiny screen devices) they are getting a pretty annoyed experience.
If you want to BOOST your online sales revenue, you’ve got to ready your web site to sell to mobile customers. If your e-commerce / web host can’t help, consider switching.
E-commerce provider 3dcart writes, the internet leaders like Amazon, Bestbuy, Walmart, Target and others have been exploring into the mobile arena for quite awhile now, and small online businesses might be losing out on this opportunity. Existing websites do not perform well on mobile devices, many elements cannot be displayed, sites get distorted and the variety of browsers and screen resolutions that exists between blackberries, androids, iphones and ipads, make imperative the need to optimize your site for mobile devices and avoid causing frustration to visitors.
Budget is the main obstacle between for mobile stores when it comes down to optimizing for mobile devices. Large merchants don’t mind spending the big bucks to get a custom mobile app developed, however, small and medium business cannot afford to invest into an area where conversion and roi have not been established yet.
3dcart, an ecommerce provider that is currently used by over 10,000 small and medium online businesses, has developed and recently launched an unique Mobile Commerce web application. This mcommerce solution simplifies the process of optimizing a website for mobile devices. By bringing products, categories and content directly from merchants’ websites and adjusting it to fit a pre-defined mobile template, business can launch their stores to phone users automatically with no technical effort or additional costs involved.
With 3dcart’s recent version update, all existing merchants automatically got access to the mcommerce application and got the opportunity to give access to users on-the-go to their products, expanding their customer base. Merchants like Rungreen.com (http://www.rungreen.com/mobile/) and Montessoriforeveryone.com (http://www.montessoriforeveryone.com/mobile) have already experienced an increase in conversion by providing an optimized experience for mobile visitors that before weren’t able to get easy access to their sites.
Within the elements considered when designing the mobile version of the online store, 3dcart points out the following ones as the key elements to optimize to increase conversion within the mobile visitors.
- Simplified storefront, eliminating elements that force visitors to scroll down or left/right, and providing easy access to products and categories within the main page.
- Minimizing load time, unnecessary images, scripts and flash elements are disregarded to ensure quick load for mobile connections.
- Automatically adjust to different screen resolutions, assuring a proper display from blackberries, to iphone 4 and ipads.
- Easy navigation, from main page to categories, from categories to products and from products to checkout. The use of transitions within pages provides a smooth visitor experience, specially on iphones and ipads.
- Optimized checkout experience, usually the checkout portion of a site requires multiple steps and lots of information to be filled out, this concept doesn’t apply to mobile users trying to quickly place an order, so reducing the checkout to a single page, reducing required fields to a minimum and making the form friendly for mobile keyboards is the defining element for turning mobile visitors into customers.
As new devices are introduced to the market with internet connectivity as one of the main tools, not longer limited to smartphones with the addition of ipads and kindles with 3G access for internet browsing, a new type of online surfers that don’t want to be tied to their home computer are starting to get online retailers attention and with this the need for a mobile version of the store to reach into this new opportunity. As mobile commerce grows, new features like SMS alerts for order notifications, promotions or to share products with friends will become available. For now, merchants need to start experiencing the added value from the mobile market and measure conversions, so this can be incorporated into their marketing strategies.