This post originally ran in MarTech Series.
As we rapidly enter the start of 2018, mobile transactions are expected to surpass record numbers set in 2017. For early 2017 holiday sales, the NRF reported 147 million consumers engaged in online shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and 63% of those consumers used their smartphones to make holiday shopping decisions. Given that the few weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are the busiest time of year for retailers, it is critical to make sure marketers craft a mobile strategy that allows them to stay ahead of the curve for the remainder of the year and beyond.
Here are six tips to optimize your e-commerce strategy in 2018, and strengthen your chances of getting in on the anticipated $682 billion dollar pie:
1. Drive conversions through search engine optimization and paid search
Ensure you have a solid search marketing strategy to capitalize on discovery through mobile search. To improve your organic search results, use a tool like Google Trends to understand popular terms and topics. Review your historical data to see what keywords have driven conversions in the past—specifically within the past year.
2. Separate your content
Ideally, you’ve already separated your web content from its presentation, so you can reuse it in new mobile experiences (e.g., a native mobile app) without duplicating efforts. If you don’t have a separate content hub, create a platform in parallel to your existing system that lets you isolate your content and begin delivering a mobile experience. Don’t invest in an architecture that you won’t use in the future.
3. Be thoughtful about user experience
The user path should be both meaningful and streamlined for each device to avoid unnecessary clicks and complex forms that encourage abandonment. If you don’t have time for a complete mobile overhaul ahead of time, focus on smaller issues, like optimizing site speed and eliminating page errors, that will improve the user experience.
4. Test your infrastructure
Do not be the online retailer that ends up losing customers because your site crashes, loads slowly, or is the victim of a global hacker. Be thorough with your performance and penetration testing, and stagger your communications such that you’re not encouraging a huge influx of traffic at once.
5. Connect the dots between online and offline
67% of smartphone users report that when conducting a search, they consider the most relevant information regardless of the source. If you have a physical retail presence, take advantage of this trend. You might leverage beacons to give users immediate access to more information about the products in front of them. If you encourage online users to pick up their items in store, use QR codes to expedite the process.
6. Understand your customers and how they’re buying
Do your customers like to talk to a sales rep on the phone before they make a big-ticket purchase? Are they using mobile payments? Make sure you can support different types of conversion paths, and that your online experience makes the conversion process as seamless as possible.
As consumers venture on an increasingly digital and winding path to purchase, it’s important to meet them everywhere they research and buy. According to recent research, the ideal customer intelligence solution includes a cross-channel integration offering.
When refining your mobile marketing strategy this next holiday season, make sure you’re connecting the dots across devices and platforms to deliver a holistic, 360-degree customer experience. This will ultimately turn your customers into brand advocates while increasing revenue streams.
Scott Anderson is CMO at Sitecore. Follow him on Twitter @ScottsVoice