With seemingly ubiquitous mobile device use, more and more of your customers are experiencing your brand on mobile phones, tablets and other devices. Are you ready to provide a great shopping experience on these devices this holiday season? This article provides a look at the strategies and tools needed to differentiate your offerings to the mobile shopper as you start to gear up for Cyber Monday.

Testing, Testing…

One of the best ways to understand what digital experiences your visitors prefer is to test and target. Even with the different technical requirements of mobile devices, it is possible to easily and effectively increase mobile engagement through testing. Common methods for running controlled experiments on both websites and mobile sites range from simple A/B testing to sophisticated multivariate testing. In A/B testing, one or more new versions of a page or single element compete against the original (control) version. For example, two new versions of a headline might compete against the original headline.

Multivariate testing, on the other hand, is like running many A/B tests concurrently, where there are multiple elements being tested at the same time. For example, two alternate product images, plus two alternate headlines, plus two alternate product copy versions create a total of 27 possible combinations (including the original control versions).

Mobile optimization using A/B and multivariate testing are proven, effective and immediate methods to increase visitor engagement, mobile application adoption and content consumption. The idea is to test everywhere your customers are, in order to create dynamic mobile experiences that convert visitors into customers.

There are many elements to test in the mobile shopping experience. For example:

  • Load times: Faster mobile websites and apps not only improve the user experience, but also boost order values and stickiness. Consider using multivariate testing and analysis to automatically apply the right speed optimization techniques at the right time based on user profile, browser type and a broad array of mobile device capabilities. An automated performance optimization solution will compress and optimize images and other resources on your mobile site to not only improve speed and the user experience, but also lift conversion and engagement
  • On-site search: Given the importance of on-site search, I highly recommend running experiments on this functionality. You could test layout of results, number of default items shown, size of product images, the ability to add to the cart right from search results, product badging, sharing options, filter options and more
  • Mobile checkout: Optimize your checkout flow by testing what works and what doesn’t for your mobile users. For example, you could reduce your checkout process from five to three steps for logged-in users and test that against the longer checkout for non-logged-in users to see which one converts better

In addition, you should consider targeting your testing using a combination of static and dynamic criteria. These criteria can include the type of mobile operating system, network speeds (4G, etc.), preferred browser and even device type. Smartphones and tablets provide very different opportunities to present an optimized experience to customers on-the-run. These are just a few of the ways you can target the mobile experience.

Optimizing Your Technology

But don’t stop there — make sure you are optimizing for every mobile platform. There are several technology options to build your mobile site or app. Which technology you choose depends on what is right for your business, but you’ll want an optimization solution that works regardless of the technical direction you take to build your mobile presence, so that you can test:

  • Traditional websites
  • Responsive design sites
  • M.dot, t.dot and other dedicated mobile sites
  • Angular, single-page applications and hybrid apps
  • Native applications

For example, most companies consider single-page application (SPA) for mobile websites where it makes sense to provide a more fluid and responsive, native app-like experience for the end-user. In addition to the user experience, there are additional benefits. SPA sites benefit from an improved site performance after the first request, a reduced number of network requests and lower bandwidth usage. And since speed is a big issue in the mobile experience, this can be a very effective way to go.

The bottom line is that if you are not testing, you’re not trying, and your customers will notice. Start optimizing all of your mobile experiences, and you will see the difference it makes to your digital business this holiday shopping season and beyond.

Creative Commons Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License Title image by  Beadmobile