An m-commerce primer for product retailers

A great deal has been written about the impact that mobile devices have had on web services such as Netflix, Spotify and others. The staggering amount of time the average user spends on mobile devices daily, nearly three hours, means that in just a little over 8 years, the smartphone and the tablet have cemented themselves as the go-to recreational device of choice for consumers.

Comparatively, very little has been written about how traditional product retailers can leverage the growth of mobile in order to do things like coordinate multi-channel marketing more effectively, drive more users to their e-commerce sites and, of course, drive more revenue in turn.

So, how can product retailers distinguish themselves and reach new and existing customers on their mobile devices in unique ways?

Firstly, the use of the term “mobile device” in this context often confuses the fact the smartphone is by a good margin the dominant form factor for most mobile media consumption and browsing. Retailers have been good at adapting their HTML/CSS to accommodate smartphones of all kinds, but it is still fundamentally based around modifications to a desktop site.

The idea of creating content exclusively for the smartphone hasn’t really received much attention from retailers, for obvious reasons: such an approach would be viewed as unnecessarily fragmenting best-practice multi-platform frameworks.

However, with tablet growth slowing down and phablets becoming the dominant form factor of choice, exploring the idea of “smartphone specific” content becomes more intriguing, offering smartphone users a chance to explore a retailer’s brand and its offerings within an environment that was designed specifically for the smartphone.

One kind of smartphone-specific content that isn’t labor-intensive and immediately comes to mind is a digital catalog. Simply by creating a PDF catalog within InDesign for smartphones – for example with a single PDF page to accommodate a single product in your line-up – and then converting this into something that can run in a browser, you can offer smartphone users a unique experience tailored to devices with screens in the region of five inches. The potential applications for this are just as broad as that of any catalog, for example you could use this design template to launch your seasonal clothing line-ups if you are an apparel retailer, or a new range of televisions if you are an electronic retailer.

It’s even possible to combine this with responsive e-mail design, so for example the live link to the smartphone catalog only displays on devices of a certain device width, in lieu of that width, a standard catalog or some other appropriate link for desktop and tablet devices will display instead. This would help improve e-mail metrics, both in the form of user retention and driving engaged, ready-to-buy traffic back to your e-commerce site.

We will soon be releasing a new YUDU Guide on the subject, keep your eyes peeled!

If you’d like to learn more about how to exploit the rising tide of mobile devices, get in touch today.

2 replies

    • Hi Dina,

      Yeah, Google’s AMP – along with other mobile optimization methods – are a part of it. Tendency to get frustrated with mobile load times mean that these optimization methods are especially imperative for m-commerce providers of various kinds, since the average consumer will simply lose interest in potential impulse purchases.

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