Mobile marketing for e-commerce: how to boost sales from smartphones and tablets

So, you are just waiting for the bus and playing around on your phone. You are reading some interesting news and suddenly you see an ad for a t-shirt that you just love.
You click it.
And this is right when your nightmare begins…
As soon as you enter there’s a pop-up that you can barely close. When scrolling to see the pictures you click somewhere you didn’t want to. You want to click the page to read about its features and details, but it is impossible to reach such a small button.
Result?
No sale.
In today’s post we tell you about what mobile marketing for an online shop is and what you have to do so you don’t lose clients like in the previous example.
Are you ready to make the jump to the small screen? 😉

What is mobile marketing?

The concept of mobile marketing, as defined in Wikipedia, is a multi-channel online marketing technique focused on reaching a specific audience on their smartphones, tablets, or any other related devices through websites. It includes all the activities related to design, implementation, and execution of marketing actions.
From this first general definition, we are going to focus on the last part: “design, implementation, and execution”, because this is exactly what we are going to do: adapt our e-commerce actions to mobile navigation.

The importance of mobile marketing

It all happened at the end of the year 2016, but we saw it coming long before then.
On November 1, Global Stats published a report in which they stated that the usage of mobile devices was higher than that of PCs for the first time. Mobile marketing was in control and that’s not expected to change from here on out.

If you have a look at your shop’s Analytics (we will show you how later) you will see how that tendency is not different from yours.
People don’t only use their tablet or phone to check their emails or social networks, they also use them to compare and buy products.
Mobile marketing is no longer an option for online shops, it is an obligation.

Advantages and disadvantages of mobile marketing

We know that mobile marketing is off the charts and therefore a must, but before we get to work, let’s take a look at the advantages and the challenges you will have to face.

Advantages

  • Availability and immediacy: users always carry their phones with them and they check them about 150 times a day on average. Be ready for when it’s your turn! 😉
  • Simple design: designing and generating content for mobile devices is easier – less is much more here.
  • Bigger audience: while not everyone has or uses a computer on a regular basis, way more people use their phones daily. Getting your strategy ready for that audience amplifies your scope.
  • Growth: even if it seems impossible not to do it, the relationship between mobile and the Internet is a relatively new phenomenon with a huge potential for growth.
  • Ease of payment: the most common payment methods are already 100% adapted to mobile.

Disadvantages

  • Variety of screens: every device has a different size, and that is why it is almost impossible to make one shop adapt to all of them. You can check how your website shows up on different devices with this online tool.
  • Privacy: it is a good idea to ease the navigation, but interrupting it with messages and notifications can be annoying.
  • Navigation limitations: for a 5-inch screen with no mouse, you need to carefully choose what to show; there isn’t enough space for everything.
  • Habits: even if mobile navigation has surpassed PC navigation, we still prefer the computer when it comes to buying. It is very common to use a smartphone just to look and compare, but wait to make the purchase from a computer.

In order to make the most out of these advantages and limit the disadvantages, let’s see what we have to take into account to avoid losing a single client that visits our shop from a smartphone.
5 keys to mobile marketing for online shops
Each website and each e-commerce are different, but by applying these basic rules you will make sure that you don’t lose a single client as a “bounce” simply because you ignored the basic techniques of mobile marketing.

  • Responsive design: one may think it is an obvious thing, but there are lots of online shops whose designs don’t adapt to mobile devices.
  • Avoid pop-ups: apart from the fact that they are becoming worse and worse for SEO, they are even more annoying on a small screen.
  • Don’t use a sidebar: on a smartphone, the sidebar will appear below everything, therefore losing all of its usefulness.
  • Size and color of the font: don’t sway from the combination of a white background + black font, your readers’ sight will thank you for it. 😉 Even better if you don’t use a 100% black color, try #131313 on a white background for an optimal visual experience.
  • Shorter paragraphs: what may seem like a short paragraph on the big screen can quickly become a huge one that will scare the mobile reader away.

And now that we already know the basics, let’s dive into something more concrete.

How to adapt an online shop for smartphones

In order to show a different version of your online shop than the one you see on a normal computer, you have 2 options: a responsive design or a different domain.
1. Responsive or adaptable
It is the same desktop version that uses CSS (style sheets) to adapt to smaller screens. The common way of adapting it is by making some disturbing elements such as sliders or images disappear.
Normally, WordPress or PrestaShop themes will adapt by default without requiring any action on your part. However, if you do want to modify something, you need to use media queries.
This is a bit more advanced, and if you don’t know anything about CSS, don’t worry about it.
Media queries are CSS rules that say what to show or not to show depending on the screen’s size.
@media only screen and (min-width: 320px) and (max-width:480px) { … }
With this rule we can define how we want our website to be seen when the screen is 320 x 480px. These are common smartphone dimensions.
@media (min-width: 700px) and (orientation: landscape) { … }
With this other one, besides the pixels, we can also specify the screen orientation. Starting at 700px and larger we are normally talking about tablet screens.
As you can imagine, there are almost an infinite number of combinations regarding device sizes and orientations, right? This is the difficulty we were talking about before.

2. Different URL

This method consists of having a different version of your website at a different URL, i.e., not simply adapting the same one. This way, when users connect with their mobile devices, the mobile URL is the one they arrive at.
The standard is to use an ‘m’ before the original URL. This is how Twitter does it, for example. If you go to https://m.twitter.com, you will see the mobile version even if you are using your computer.
Our tip is that it is not necessary to go that far. It is more than enough if your e-commerce can be seen clearly and easily on a small screen.

3. AMP, Google’s initiative for mobile navigation.

Maybe you’ve already realized that when searching for something on Google, some results are shown with this mark.

It is a Google project that focuses on improving mobile navigation speed. It speeds the website up by limiting it to text and images, making it load much faster.
In Google’s own words: “AMP is ideal for e-commerce because AMP makes websites faster, and fast websites promote sales conversions.”
To adapt your shop in WordPress to AMP, you can use one of these plugins:

  • AMP WooCommerce: free plugin and super easy to use.
  • WP AMP: paid plugin ($39) that allows you to add videos and AdSense banners, among other things.

A good way of starting to get familiar with AMP is to adapt a blog post and measure the improvement in the loading speed before starting with WooCommerce.
If you use PrestaShop, these modules offer the AMP adaptation:

  • AMP Module: it is about €72.59 and it allows you to create AMP pages for categories, products, and home.
  • Google AMP: this module is a bit more expensive, but it is worth it. It allows you to customize almost everything you can think of and claims to make sites 7x faster. It is €149.

Another last option is to create your own app.
Using an app is advisable only if you have recurring sales because nobody is going to download an app to buy just one time. The Amazon one, for example, is one of the most used apps around, but then again, that’s Amazon…

How to see your mobile traffic on Analytics

If you have some doubts about these adaptations being worth it when it comes to improving your mobile marketing strategy, you can check your e-commerce mobile traffic volume beforehand.
We are going to use Google Analytics for that.
Go to the sidebar “Audience >> Mobile” and then “Overview”. There, you can see the number of visits and which percentages are from smartphones, tablets, or desktop.
If you want to go a step further, in “Devices” you can even see with which devices they visit you: iPhone, Galaxy,…

The norm, as you can see, is that the sum of mobile and tablet is slightly higher than desktop.
If that’s the case for your website too, and you haven’t done anything about it to adapt to all those users yet… don’t wait on it any longer!

Are you ready to make your mobile users fall in love?

Think of yourself trying to make the most of your free time when you are using public transport or waiting for someone. Surely you’ve bought yourself a little something during one of those moments.
Our online shop has to always be ready to get a visit, no matter when or how it comes.
Follow the steps in this post because besides selling more, you will also improve your web positioning.
It’s a win-win!

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