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StrategyMar 28, 2018

Mobile Retail: Closing the Sale

Nathan Shaub

Over the past few weeks, we have explored the growth of mobile commerce and highlighted mobile retail tactics and best practices through a series of articles. If you missed the first two parts, you can learn more about mobile customer engagement and the mobile shopping experience. This is part three of our Mobile Retail series, providing insights on closing the sale.

We all have examples of times we added an item to our online shopping cart, but never tapped the all-important “buy” button. As a retailer, revenue is dependent on the number of items purchased, not those that simply make it into the cart. With that in mind, retailers must consider ways to reduce any friction a customer might experience during checkout. Retailers have to address shopping cart abandonment. The difficult part of the mobile shopping experience should be getting customers to make the decision to buy, not getting them to enter their payment information.

In this article, we offer perspectives on how to become more effective at closing the sale and increasing your conversion rate. We see three primary tactics to optimize your checkout experience and generate additional revenue: streamline, incentivize, and reengage.

Mobile Retail Graphic - Closing the Sale Cycle

1. Streamline the Buying Process

Imagine walking into your local sporting goods store. You have been thinking about buying a new pair of running shoes for a while, but you have not decided which ones yet. You walk inside, ready to pick and buy your shoes, but you see the checkout line wraps around the corner and out of sight. What do you do? More than likely, you turn around and go buy your shoes somewhere else.

When your mobile payment process is clunky or time consuming, it might as well be a checkout line wrapping around the entire store.

When your mobile payment process is clunky or time-consuming, it might as well be a checkout line wrapping around the entire store. Reducing friction in the checkout process is effectively the same as shortening the checkout line. Having five unique pages in the checkout process is a barrier for your customers, but features such as one-click ordering and easy guest checkout help remove these barriers. An efficient guest checkout experience is essential for mobile retail. More than 60% of mobile users choose guest checkout, and more than 25% will leave items in their cart if registration is required. Also consider supporting alternative payment methods (e.g., Paypal, Apple Pay, Visa Checkout, Google Pay, etc.), as these now account for more than 20% of smartphone purchases.

The most obvious way to streamline the checkout process is to reduce the time it takes a customer to checkout. More than 25% of customers in the U.S. abandon an order because of a complicated or time-consuming checkout process. One effective way to simplify checkout is to autopopulate information into required fields. Each point of friction you remove represents more purchases and a better experience.

2. Incentivize Completing the Sale

Maybe your payment and checkout process is fast and easy, but customers still abandon their cart just before they click “buy.” Sometimes we all need an extra nudge to get across the finish line. Incentivize customers to complete the purchase with flash sales and shipping discounts to provide that extra nudge.

Everyone loves a good deal. When you get a bargain on something, you brag to your friends (or really anyone who will listen) about what an amazing shopper you are. Increase the attractiveness of a sale by placing a specific time box on the sale to add a sense of urgency. Amazon does a great job recommending deals personalized to each customer, and each deal has a live countdown of time remaining or the limited quantity of items still available for purchase. The fear of missing out on a deal or product could be the extra motivation your customer needs to complete that purchase.

Shipping is another key for completing the sale and avoiding shopping cart abandonment. In fact, more than 90% of people say free shipping is the top incentive for them to shop online more, and nearly 70% say free returns would encourage them to buy online. Although no small business can compete with larger companies like Amazon and Walmart in offering cheap shipping, they can still create innovative shipping solutions to satisfy customers. In some cases, shipping can even be used to increase order value. For instance, free shipping thresholds influence 90% of customers to add more products to their order to qualify for the minimum.

3. Follow up to Reengage Your Customers

Once a customer buys your product, your next goal is to get them to buy again as quickly as possible. While some remarketing efforts can come across as pushy, staying top of mind is key for creating repeat customers. Here are a few tips to stay in touch with your customers.

Push notifications and emails are one of the most effective means of reaching your target market, but must be used in moderation to avoid becoming a nuisance. Similar to the direct marketing campaigns we discussed in the first article of this series, it is important to stay in direct contact with your customers. Use past purchases and browsing behavior to create offers on similar or complementary products. After all, 59% of customers say they want to receive personalized offers from retailers.

Mobile shoppers are frequently on the go and can be easily distracted by the outside world. Keep your products at the forefront of a customer’s mind by remarketing items abandoned in their cart, occasionally throwing in a discount. One word of caution: Consumers are smart, and they will learn to abandon their cart if they can count on you sending them a discount. Mixing up your approach will surprise and delight your customers while preventing them from taking advantage of your marketing tactics.

Finding ways to reward your top shoppers through loyalty programs secures their ongoing allegiance to your brand. Small gestures of appreciation can reward you with a higher customer lifetime value. The best loyalty programs are straightforward (buy nine and the 10th is free) and extremely difficult to cheat (no punchcards). Consider using a customer’s phone number as their unique ID, or partner with a service such as LoopyLoyalty for an inexpensive but sharp loyalty experience. Loyalty programs will drive repeat visits from your best customers and increase spending across the board.

The mobile retail world is growing and evolving at a rapid pace, which is both exciting and challenging. Although mobile retail can be intimidating, I hope this series has given you some practical ideas to get started. Whether you are brand new to incorporating mobile or an old pro, these concepts can help you mature and expand your mobile presence. Finding ways to establish relationships with customers is different than it was a few decades ago, but there are actually more opportunities to establish meaningful connections, not fewer. The customer journey is a continuous cycle of engagement, experience, and conversion. Take the initiative to be active in all three aspects, and I bet you will see the results.

If you would like to discuss ways to improve your mobile conversion rate, we are happy to give you some ideas on how you can start today. Feel free to reach out to Credera or send me an email directly at nshaub@credera.com.

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