Mobile Search in 2018 – Is Your Business Ready?

A majority of e-commerce customers are moving to mobile to find, research, and purchase products. This on-the-go shopping has especially boomed in the past year with an increase in mobile tech advancements and cell phone applications.


In fact, users spend 69% of their online media time on their smartphones. From content exploration to product research, potential customers spend an average of 5 hours on their phones daily.


Your customer is a mobile customer. If you want to reach your customers where they hang out the most, you need a mobile marketing plan. In fact, 71% of marketers believe mobile is a critical marketing strategy for their business.


Despite the prevalence of mobile search usage, only 12% of consumers think mobile web shopping is as convenient as they’d like it to be, according to DynamicYield. This leaves a significant amount of room for improvement in mobile e-commerce.


If you aren’t optimized for mobile search, your online business will get left behind. If you’re fully mobile optimized, your business will conquer its competitors.


espSo what can you do to improve the mobile experience for customers? How do you ensure that your e-commerce business is ready and optimized for the 2018 mobile expansion?


1. Optimize site for mobile.

60% of mobile users have reported encountering at least one problem in the last 12 months with mobile browsing. The majority of users report it was because the page was too slow to load, the site crashed, or the formatting was difficult to read. In fact, MicKinsey & Co. reported that 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site that had accessibility issues, and 40% will instantly click over to a competitor’s site instead.


In order to attract and retain customers, your website needs to be mobile accessible. You want to create an easy experience that’s comparable to desktop usage.


At the very least, your e-commerce storefront needs to be mobile accessible. This means a clean design and easy navigation. Platforms like WordPress or Shopify offer website templates that automatically optimize your site for mobile usage.


Most importantly, you want to make sure that your store checkout page is highly optimized for mobile. 30% of customers abandon a transaction (and brand) if the site is not mobilized for their mobile shopping cart. You want to ensure the process is as smooth as possible, so you’ll also want to consider offering multiple payment options, like PayPal and Apple Pay.


It’s important to note that mobile optimization and usability is critical—but it’s not enough anymore. Having a mobile-accessible site used to be enough to differentiate an e-commerce retailer. Now, though, mobile sites are expected. You need to take grander steps to create a mobile experience and optimize on a broader base than just website design.


Mobile Search in 2018 – Is Your Business Ready? woman shopping on mobile phone


2. Focus on speed.

You also need to focus on optimizing your mobile site for speed. Page speed is one of the strongest ranking factors on Google’s search algorithm.


If your site doesn’t load quickly on mobile, your customers will click away. In fact, every second of delay decreases customer satisfaction by 16%. 40% of users will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.


Mobile e-commerce is heavily led by fast-moving micro-moments. If your site doesn’t meet the needs of the on-the-go customer, you’ll lose optimization and visibility.


Slow sites also cause a high bounce rate that can damage your search engine optimization. A Google study found the probability of bounce increases proportionally with the length of time it takes a site to load.


Most site hosts offer plugins or network connectivity packages to increase your site’s speed. This is especially important to include if your site has a high volume of traffic.


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3. Optimize for mobile search.

Mobile search is different than desktop or traditional search in two key ways: brevity and voice search.


Firstly, when searching on a mobile device, people tend to search with more concise or brief phrases. They are looking for fast and convenient information in just seconds. This calls for a highly targeted keyword strategy.


Commonly searched phrases on mobile are “near me,” “open now,” and “how to.” Keep in mind that users typically search on their mobile phones when they need quick, location-based information.


Secondly, mobile search is directly linked to voice search. People are using AI robots, like Siri and Alexa, to quickly find information. People generally speak differently than they write, so phrasing becomes especially important for voice optimization.


For example, someone might search “dog grooming” or “grooming products” on Google, but they might ask aloud, “Siri, show me dog grooming brushes.” This creates a more specific and targeted long-tail keyword.


In fact, in March 2017, 80% of websites that Alexa—Amazon’s voice search AI— shared with users were mobile adaptive and optimized.


4. Utilize social media.

80% of social media time is spent on a mobile device. Aside from text messaging, users spend the most mobile time on social media.


Social media can help raise brand awareness and visibility while developing a deeper connection with your customers. Social media, especially Instagram, is a great way to show the lifestyle of your brand that accompanies your products.


Social media also helps build credible links to your e-commerce site, which Google’s search algorithm rewards. These links also redirect users from your social media to your purchase page to convert at a high rate.


If someone follows you on social media, you are putting your brand and content in front of them on a regular basis. This creates consistent and ongoing impressions that improve conversion at a stronger rate than traditional forms of marketing.


Learn more about mobile social media marketing here.


Mobile Search in 2018 – Is Your Business Ready? person browsing social media on mobile phone at coffee shop


5. Use geo-location tools.

People use their mobile devices to find local businesses and products. If you have an e-commerce business that specializes in a specific area, you’ll want to include an address and interactive map on your mobile site. You should also consider including your business on Google Business, so you’ll appear in “near me” mobile searches.


Moreover, you can use geo-location for your e-commerce as well. You can use people’s devices to see exactly from where they’re searching. This can help you understand search patterns, demographics, and purchasing behaviors. With this data, you can better target your marketing and products geographically.


6. Focus on omnichannel experience.

“Omnichannel” is when you create a consistent experience on multiple selling channels. This includes desktop site, mobile site, in-store, and experiential events. Selling in an “omnichannel” way ensures you are always present wherever your customers are and whenever they want to interact with you.


You want each channel to be not only consistently branded but also fluid in terms of purchasing. For example, if someone adds items to their mobile cart, those items should be available when they sign in on their desktop as well.


Work with a Seller’s Choice consultant to ensure you are fully optimized and branded on all channels.


7. Offer mobile chat.

Mobile chat is a great way to personally connect with your users. This creates an online chat box where customer service agents or sales associates can answer questions or resolve customer issues.


Mobile chat has been shown to close sales at a higher rate by connecting a personalized sales associate with an online shopper looking for assistance.


Offering quick and easy mobile communication is a strong e-commerce differentiator that improves optimization, conversion, and customer service.


8. List your products on Amazon.

One of the greatest concerns with the mobile market is the ease of price comparison. A customer can quickly scan or research the item you’re selling to see the price your competitors are offering.


This quick price comparison means you can easily lose sales to a competitor if you have a higher price—even by a few dollars.


However, this doesn’t mean you need to be the lowest bidder in order to win. Instead, it means that you need to demonstrate added value to your customers in exchange for the higher price. For example, you might charge a higher price but offer faster shopping, better customer service, improved packaging, or even access to an exclusive social media group.


Amazon knows how to optimize on this ease of price comparison. With Amazon’s scanning app, a customer can quickly see how much an item is worth on Amazon.


If you want to win the mobile price game, then, list your items on Amazon. If you make your products available on Amazon, it will both improve your visibility and give you an advantage in the mobile price war.


Mobile Search in 2018 – Is Your Business Ready? man holding up mobile phone with Amazon logo


9. Use video.

Video accounts for nearly 60% of total mobile data traffic. Customers are more likely to watch video on landing pages or social media than read your content. Plus, search engines typically favor video over other forms of content—especially if your video has a high number of views and shares.


Video is one of the strongest marketing strategies to improve mobile visibility and accessibility. Click to learn how to utilize video for profitable e-commerce marketing.


Do you need a mobile app?

At Seller’s Choice, we often get asked if businesses need a mobile app in order to fully optimize on the mobile search trend.


While mobile apps can be a useful method to gain and maintain customers, it’s not necessary for small businesses (right now). Most mobile users want to minimize the number of apps they keep on their phone. Thus, if you’re a small or emerging e-commerce brand, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to convince a user to download your app—unless you offer a unique app experience.


In most cases, small to medium e-commerce brands won’t see a return on the large investment in building app software.


Nevertheless, apps have a number of key benefits. They engender client loyalty, increase units per sale, boost number of sales, and create highly profitable repeat customers. This works well for large retailers or brands looking to create a highly unique experience for their customers.


Ultimately, you should consider developing an e-commerce mobile app based on the size of your business and your ability to invest investment in a quality mobile application experience.


Bottom Line

Your mobile site can make or break you. If you want to grow your e-commerce business alongside emerging technology, you need to optimize for mobile searches.


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