The sharp rise in mobile commerce has created a new revenue channel for many brands and retailers, but also required retailers to launch their sites more quickly than usual. Newcomers to e-commerce are having to condense their mobile testing periods, resulting in pages that don’t function as well as they could — all at the expense of sales and repeat customers.
“Previously, new technologies could be tested over months or years, but now, retailers are under incredible pressure to deliver expanded services on a dime,” said Yaron Morgenstern, CEO of digital customer experience platform Glassbox. “For example, IT departments are overwhelmed and under incredible time pressure to deliver, naturally leaving things to fall between the cracks.”
One particular area of vulnerability is in website speed and page load times, which vary considerably between desktop and mobile. A recent survey by SEO company Backlinko found that mobile sites took on average 17 seconds longer to load than their desktop counterparts. Without the time to assess how their web pages function on smartphones, brands are unable to tweak the backend to fit the new format.
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And the risks of slow mobile sites are high: Landing page software company Unbounce reported that 70% of consumers had their purchasing decisions influenced by page speed. Its survey also found that 15% would move to a competitor if the site was too slow. With more shoppers choosing to both begin and end their purchasing journey on mobile, this is a channel that merchants can’t afford to fail at.
“Consumers are so resistant to lag times that if a business makes $100,000 per day, a one-second delay could cost the company upwards of $2.5 million in annual losses due to customers abandoning their cart,” said Morgenstern.
In addition to monitoring the speed of their mobile performance, brands must also consider the overall shopping experience. This means identifying glitches and friction points in the journey — and using technology to resolve them — while also looking for new ways to add value and excitement for the consumer. Once businesses have eliminated faulty inventory listings and dead-end navigation tools, they can explore additive elements.
Personalization is a popular way for retailers to serve customers the most relevant content, particularly when it can transfer across multiple purchasing channels. Advanced solutions enable customers to log into a company’s WiFi when in-store and then receive synced recommendations on their smartphones. But the proliferation of new technologies and tools also requires more oversight from the companies deploying them.
“Within websites and native mobile apps, there are now chatbots, live chats, product reviews, real-time feedback surveys and more,” said Morgenstern. “[These are] all creating new data points that must be properly managed and monitored to optimize the customer experience.”
Morgenstern believes that, just as one might utilize a third-party checkout tool or inventory solution, merchants should consider using a solution that tracks the customer journey in order to pinpoint problem areas. Glassbox users gain access to an augmented journey map that provides real-time insights into each omnichannel interaction. Equipped with a birds-eye view, brands can quickly spot anomalies and patterns; implement resolutions to keep consumers on-site; and establish a secure foundation upon which to build a greater customer experience.