Online Shopping Is On The Rise: 4 Tips To Ensure Your Small Business Is Ready

Customer shopping behavior is changing, thanks to the escalating popularity of smartphones. People are gradually moving toward using their cell phones for everything, including shopping.

Up until recently, businesses needed only worry about setting up an online shopping site with easy-to-use checkout options and e-mail confirmations. Preparing a shopping site for mobile shopping is an all new proposition, with businesses challenged to optimize a shopping experience for tiny smartphone screens and touchscreen keyboards.

According to the New York Times, spending via smartphone increased 81 percent between 2011 and 2012, with total spending equaling $25 billion worldwide. This massive increase could be in part due to the fact that more users than ever are tossing out PCs and laptops in favor of tablets and smartphones as their sole computing devices. With so many users gravitating toward these devices, it’s more important than ever that small businesses develop a strong mobile strategy that includes easy online shopping. Here are a few tips to help beef up your mobile strategy to help out these customers.

  • Avoid mobile frustration. Customers expect mobile sites to work as well as the web version. In the past, frustrated shoppers would simply set a device aside and complete their shopping on a PC or laptop. Once a consumer only has mobile devices, this is no longer an option, increasing the likelihood your customers will leave your site in favor of a competitor with an easy-to-use mobile shopping site.
  • Save payment information. Entering credit card numbers on a smartphone or tablet can be an exhausting experience. Large shopping sites like Amazon are able to give customers one-click ordering technology, thanks to stored credit card information. You’ll have to ask the user’s permission and make sure your security is to the strictest industry standards, but for customers who agree, make ordering as easy as possible to maximize purchases.
  • Use technology tools. Services like Shopify are designed to translate e-commerce websites to mobile shops, complete with shopping cart technology and 128-bit SLL encryption. These services charge monthly fees and transaction fees, but for small businesses, this may be a great alternative to paying expensive hourly fees to software developers.
  • Think outside the box. Consider different ways to combine your various purchasing options to work together. If you’re a bricks-and-mortar location, QR codes can allow customers to easily order items online that may be out of stock in your store. Offer free shipping to these customers to help compensate for the inconvenience. Promote your new mobile shopping experience to customers who visit your store and website. If you offer products or coupons via catalog or print mailers, include QR Codes to take customers directly to your mobile store, where htey can buy the items.

As the New York Times pointed out, those who use tablets are more likely to be online while in a shopping mood. Tablet shoppers may use tablets while lounging on the sofa, increasing the chance they’ll happen on something they want to buy. By making this kind of shopping easier, you’ll ensure your loyal customers can make those purchases before they forget about them.

For an informative radio interview about what your small business needs to do to develop and nurture a mobile strategy, click here.

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About Stephanie Faris

Stephanie is a freelance writer and young adult/middle grade novelist, who worked in information systems for more than a decade. Her first book, 30 Days of No Gossip, will be released by Simon and Schuster in spring 2014. She lives in Nashville with her husband.

  • Vshah

    As mobile users are increasing day by day so it’s good for online store to make a mobile compatible website to attract more visitors.Thanks for the post.These points are important for me too.
    Online Shopping India

    • http://Smallbiztechnology.com Ramon Ray

      Thanks for Vshah – for contributing