How To Mobilize Your Website

The three pillars of an improved user experience
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Today’s world is increasingly mobile first.

Eighty percent of all internet users own a smartphone, and 60 percent of global mobile consumers turn to their mobile devices as a primary or only internet source. What’s more, half of e-commerce website traffic now comes from a mobile device, indicating that not only are consumers turning to mobile for entertainment and research, but also to make purchases.

As shoppers move away from desktop and opt to browse on mobile, brands must be ready to engage with consumers on this new channel. However, as more companies invest in the digital customer experience and develop mobile-friendly websites, it can be difficult to stand out from the competition. When mobile websites are low-quality or are difficult to navigate, brands risk upsetting customers and losing valuable business to competitors.

However, when mobile websites are innovative and engineered with the user experience in mind, brands can earn major profits on the channel. A top-notch user experience on mobile can attract new customers with quick speed and useful content, engage browsers with a personalized experience and remove problematic digital friction from the entire mobile journey, offering shoppers smoother, more enjoyable navigation.

To make this a reality and please mobile consumers, companies must invest in a cloud-based mobile website and user experience that combines content management, marketing efforts and commerce. The core pillars of a website like this are:

Speed: Website speed is vital for SEO, user engagement and conversion, all of which ultimately lead to long-term customer loyalty. Almost half of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds or less, and 40 percent will actually abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load. When it comes to inspiring action, just a one second delay in page response can lower conversions by 7 percent.

On a device built around speed and convenience, it’s no surprise shoppers have a low tolerance for prolonged mobile results. A cloud-based solution is the best option to meet consumers’ rising speed standards, as it has the automation to ensure pages are delivered quickly. Cloud-based websites also offer the scale elasticity to grow and meet new demands and shopper needs as they arise.

Personalization: Ninety-four percent of senior-level executives believe that delivering personalization is critical or important to reaching customers. As such, serving the right information at the right time is key to driving mobile sales.

Again, a cloud-based solution enhances personalization efforts. When operating on the cloud, companies can create a unique mobile experience and path to purchase for every customer. This route is based on a customer’s previous mobile visits (recent and frequent searches, past purchases, etc.), as well as information gathered from other channels and at common conversion touchpoints (subscribing to an email newsletter, ordering, downloading a document, etc.). As is true on all digital channels, big data is king on mobile.

When prompting users for personal information, however, brands must ensure any calls to action are as simple to fill out and capable of remembering user information. To do so, they should make use of intelligent content assets, which are capable of learning more about users over time. These assets are great at developing strong customer lifecycles for two reasons. One, they help personalize the shopping experience by creating a single view of customers across all channels while also leveraging what is proven to be inspirational and educational for similar customer segments. And two, many shoppers are turned off if forms are challenging to complete on a smaller screen or if they are asked to reenter information and cannot pick up right where they left off on the last visit. Intelligent content assets avoid both of these outcomes.

All of this is achieved without straying from overall brand guidelines as all interactions are generated from consistent cloud-based assets. Likewise, as the cloud is non-restrictive in comparison to other digital solutions, brands can develop a greater number of differentiated customer experiences for each unique shopper. These customer journeys are deployable via adaptable digital forms, which allow brands to connect with shoppers no matter the required language or security permissions.

Usability: When browsing or purchasing on mobile, consumers are turned off by any sort of friction on a site. This can be anything that impedes the user experience, such content descriptions like popups and ads or infrastructural issues like poor design or a lack of responsiveness.

Developers can reduce mobile friction and improve the user experience by, again, generating a personalized experience based on user behaviors. Companies can also better facilitate mobile usability by improving the search experience on mobile sites. Strong search capabilities, such as intelligent automated search suggestions, help visitors more intuitively find what they are looking for.

Similarly, advanced natural language and voice technologies and Chat APIs can easily assist shoppers when additional support is required, all the while building strong customer relationships by leveraging data intelligence and personalized information stored in the cloud.

Many companies are already operating in terms of mobile, but those looking to find greater e-commerce success must also think critically about the user experience they are offering shoppers on mobile. With U.S. retail e-commerce sales alone predicted to surpass $534 billion by 2019, businesses must improve their mobile user experiences and earn a bigger piece of the growing online marketplace, of which mobile is a major contributor.

To start, companies can make significant mobile improvements by focusing on speed, personalization and usability. These factors are certainly important for websites, no matter where they live, but they are particularly important when operating on mobile -- a channel shoppers turn to for ease, quickness and convenience.

David Bowen is product management director at Episerver, a global digital services provider thatempowers online leaders to embrace disruptive, transformational strategies and deliver standout experiences for their customers wherever they engage.

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