The year 2016 will be remembered as the beginning of the migration from desktop-first to mobile-first design and development. In many emerging markets the bulk of eCommerce is still funneled through desktops, the number of transactions executed through smartphones is increasing constantly. Mobile will soon be the primary B2C eCommerce channel in the near future.
It’s long overdue for the industry to design the next generation of mobile solutions. Among the forward thinking marketing and eCommerce experts leading the change is Kristine Lasam, the founder of Pink Entropy, a digital marketing agency.
A mobile eCommerce strategy is composed by a number of building blocks, but to build a solid house we first need to make sure the foundations are in place. Could you share what those foundations are?
The discipline of architecture, since the beginning of time, holds true today. It is the foundation by which formidable, future-proof structures are built. Without this, it would be delivery without the discipline. Sans the discipline, you cannot build anything that would have merit.
The late Correa, one of modern times most visionary architects has championed this phrase, “architecture of relevance.” His was a very simple rule of thumb—that good architecture should always be in context and functionally relevant.
Our foundations are a website or application designed first for mobile devices that helps our clients to find and buy what they are looking for easily.
What should marketeers be wary off when making this transition?
We have become used to design rich websites to be visited with powerful computers over fast connections, and moving to mobile is like stepping back in time: the screens shrink, the connectivity is less stable and devices have less computing power. We need to go back to be the artisans of code, where every detail is carefully evaluated and the superfluous removed. Every image, button or function has to have a rationale behind it and very well thought through—as each element will directly affect the experience of our consumers—or the people we wish to engage.
And what about those digital natives that started with mobile?
Talking about the experience, mobile users are now used to a great mobile user interface and their expectation also applies to native applications and mobile websites. Consistency is key, every venue becomes an important touch point for our consumers. You cannot buy an original piece of art and a cheap knock-off print, hang them next to each other and expect people not to notice. The design of eCommerce sites and applications should be up to par and accommodate all variations in screen size and resolution typical of mobile devices.
Mobile user patterns are inherently different from desktop ones, as users tend to reach out to their phone the moment they need something. It’s about utility. Designing a user journey that quickly allows the client to get what they need, be it dinner delivered to their door, an airline ticket or a face cream, it’s now important to avoid inflating the statistics of shopping cart abandonment.
Based on your experience, is there anything marketers should note about getting this right?
Mobile is the future of eCommerce, but it’s important to remember that customers don’t think in terms of channels. It can be mobile, desktop or in-store, but to them it’s just shopping. Mobile should be part of a more comprehensive strategy—founded on the consumer’s lifestyle, the context of their behavior at the time they engage, and the utilities that allow us to be immediate so we are always top of mind. Loyalty and advocacy are created through utility—it’s the frequency of how many times within the average 150x a person picks up the phone are we considered, or chosen as a venue, product or service.
What’s the process your team follows to work out a solid mobile strategy?
At Pink Entropy, first and foremost, we inculcate the discipline of good old architecture. Design within context. Think functionality within relevance. There would be numerous debates on what needs to be included — but by the end of the exercise, we would have done the rigors of defining the user cases, looked at research and findings on the attribution model, prioritized content – what to show where and when. We would have answered what utility functions we need to integrate so we can be immediate at the time our consumers would have to make a decision; this could be as simple as integration with phone functions such as direct dialing and location finder.
Secondly, the interface design needs to include a simple objective and a clear call to action on almost every screen. It’s task-based interface design that guides the user to the specific information they are looking for.
Lastly, and probably the most important aspect for the design of any mobile website is: keep it simple. Once our foundations are in place we can build a solid mobile strategy. One that extends the experience provided by our shop to enter enter our customer’s lives.