The introduction of smartphones gave birth to a new era of online commerce and if you want your business to thrive, you should join the bandwagon.
Mobile commerce or m-commerce is relatively new and it’s shifting goalposts and changing the online business’ playing field.
More and more are connecting online via mobile phones, tablets, and other handheld gadgets. There used to be a time when buying online required a personal computer. Nowadays, you’ll see people poking on their phones and tablets while making purchases online.
M-commerce is the future of Ecommerce so online giants like Facebook, Google, and Amazon are seriously transforming their businesses to meet the demands of mobile users.
Google was one of the first companies to make their site more mobile-friendly. In their study, they reported that more users are more likely to visit and buy from mobile-friendly sites.
Unfortunately, not everyone has followed suit—there’s still an abundance of ecommerce sites that are not ready for m-commerce just yet. In a study by UPS, it’s predicted that around half of all ecommerce transactions will be done via mobile phones by 2020.
So what can you do if you want to go mobile? Here are four options that you can choose from:
Responsive Web Design
This calls for redesigning the existing site by modifying the HTML codes and making the web pages work well on both mobile and desktop browsers.
This is done through common stylesheets embedded with conditional rules that adjust the webpage in relation to the device’s screen width. If you see a site that rearranges the page elements as you narrow the browser’s width, that site is designed to be responsive.
Responsive sites work well with search engines and are fairly easy to maintain. However, they might not always provide the best user experience because the same content is presented for both mobile and desktop users.
To make things easier and make sure that everything is working as it should, consider using one of the ecommerce platforms. There as so many ecommerce platforms that work well with mobile devices, that a separate article would have to be written on that.
However, since our article is about the future of mobile ecommerce, there’s a platform that has been trending lately – Kajabi. You can learn more about this platform on this website.
Dynamic page serving
Using this approach, pages are built slightly differently for mobile and desktop devices without the need to change the URLs. You can either use a common stylesheet or include a separate stylesheet for each device.
An ASP or PHP script is initially used to detect the device being used which then builds a mobile or desktop optimized page. This is done by using a mobile or desktop stylesheet that formats the HTML code.
Dynamic page serving is search engine friendly (using special signals) and the user experience is better than responsive design. It can be complicated to implement, though.
A script detects what device is being used and the user is redirected to the site that matches the device being used. This means there will be two separate sites.
Using this option, you can have a site that is optimized for mobile devices and you don’t compromise your desktop site’s usability. Maintenance will be a bit complicated, however, since you need to manage two separate websites.
Without proper monitoring, these two might end up having different content. Also, Google and other search engines don’t really like duplicate content. You can work around this by using canonical URLs which can help the search engine understand where to find the correct site version.
Some sites employ cookies to take note of the site’s version as the user hops from one page to another. It’s also nice to let mobile users access a desktop version of your site if they prefer.
Developing a mobile app
An app that’s developed for a particular mobile OS bypasses your website so you’ll have more control over the content. Development will incur costs but the user experience is superior compared to all the other options mentioned here.
And since users are launching a separate app, users are prevented from getting distracted, accessing other links, and eventually visiting competitor sites. A mobile app is arguably the best way to attract mobile users and then keep them engaged.
Ecommerce via mobile devices is going to attract more users in the future, so going mobile should be part of your business plan. You should check how your existing website responds on a mobile device and do the adjustments accordingly—to provide the best user experience possible while staying search engine friendly.