3 ways consumers use mobile commerce


Eighty-five percent of mobile Internet users wait (i) for something, (ii) in the workplace or (iii) relax at home.

Eighty-five percent of mobile Internet users wait (i) for something, (ii) in the workplace or (iii) relax at home.

E-shop owners often make broad assumptions about their visitors – the settings, the environment and the context they visit.

I spent about four years helping build Walmart's mobile business. Based on that experience and further research, I have learned that about 85 percent of the use of mobile internet can be limited to one of three experiences:

  • Waiting for something to happen.
  • On a work break.
  • I am relaxing at home.

For each of these scenarios, it is important to consider the aspects of mobile visitor experience. Why are they visiting the site? What problems do they solve? How do you catch them at the moment?

Waiting for something to happen

The most likely scenario for mobile visitors to wait for something to happen.

Why are they visiting the site? An idea has come to them, and they have quickly Googled a relevant term. In this scenario, users usually focus only on 5 – 10 minutes. But they are not in the mood to perform. They simply compile a mental list of ideas to consider and places to visit.

What problems do they solve? Buying a product is not the problem they are trying to solve. Instead, they solve what I call the "landscape problem" – creating a list of potential stores and products. Most visitors do not know where to buy specific items. Take Band-Aids, for example. Many consumers would initially consider a pharmacy. But what about heavy bandages? A local pharmacy may not sell these. If not, who does? This is an example of the problem that most mobile buyers solve.

How do you catch them at the moment? Plaster opportunities to connect via your mobile site – via email (your best option) or social media. Give visitors a reason to join (in addition to just a discount). Then gently reconnect within a few days.

On a work break

Why are they visiting the site? In the workplace, users probably visit your website for boredom and look for something interesting.

What problem do they solve? Most visitors to the job are looking for inspiration and news. Many people return from a tough conversation or from a tough change. They look for experiences that distract or wake them up, to follow them up later. Visitors at work do not have a goal in mind, unlike those waiting in line.

How do you catch them at the moment? An easy thing to help users at work is to create a "Discovery" or "New Ideas" category or section. Update it at least quarterly to showcase your company's best ideas and products.

I am relaxing at home

Why are they visiting the site? Visitors access your site at home as it is probably the quietest part of their day. They may use a phone as a second screen for a football game in the background or surf while their children are playing video games before going to bed.

What problems do they solve? Mobile visitors at home are looking to buy a product that solves a problem. While the first two scenarios – waiting and waiting for a break – dealt with the discovery and boredom, the home scenario is to complete the sale.

How do you catch them at the moment? Start with the basics to make sure your site is fast and responsive. From there, make sure you can capture and update reviews – for products and for your overall site. Showing all your simple and efficient payment methods ahead is a long way to convince users that they can quickly make their purchases. Finally, consider allowing bookmarks or saved carts to help visitors evaluate other items but not forget them.



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