From store closures to the need to incorporate new technologies into their stores, retailers are grappling with shifts in consumer preferences as they seek to find well-balanced strategies that meet the demands of a largely mobile-driven consumer base.

People are spending more time browsing on their smartphones, and use of mobile shopping apps grew 54 percent from 2016 to 2017, far surpassing the 6 percent average growth rate in overall mobile app usage, according to Flurry Analytics. This rise in the use of mobile shopping apps means that consumers are now able to engage with retailers right at their fingertips. This provides new opportunities for retailers to deliver personalized, targeted customer experiences that build loyalty and drive sales.

However, many retailers are finding that their mobile efforts are coming up short and they are facing challenges when it comes to translating their mobile efforts into sales. While traffic now comes largely from mobile devices, conversions are still taking place on desktops. Why aren’t retailers reaping the benefits of a largely mobile-engaged customer base?

Of course, desktop sales are not less valuable than mobile sales, but retailers want to provide the desktop experience on mobile devices to grow their mobile conversions and, most importantly, improve the customer experience.

As retailers embark on efforts to drive largely mobile digital strategies, they must evaluate their infrastructures and content strategies to optimize the shopping experience and reverse the desktop-mobile conversion ratio.

Here are four steps retailers can take to optimize mobile conversions and provide customers with engaging experiences.

Offer a Desktop Experience on Mobile

Mobile screens are smaller than desktop screens, but that doesn’t mean mobile content has to be pared down.

One of the greatest advantages of mobile phones is that they’re portable and allow for easy access to information. 

The visual component of how people view products on their desktops and mobile devices is key to the shopping experience and plays a big role in seamlessly carrying shoppers from one platform to another. However, problems can arise if mobile content isn’t as good as the content on a desktop. If content is distorted or too small on a mobile screen, shoppers will be wary of making purchases and will instead just use their mobile devices to browse retailers’ sites. 

Retailers that are unable to develop content that provides the same experience on desktop PCs and mobile devices — content that, above all, clearly displays critical product information in an easy-to-digest manner in both formats — will miss out on opportunities to close mobile sales.

Make It Personal

Personalization should be at the heart of your customer engagement.

People carry their mobile devices with them all day long, and using a phone to connect with retailers has never been easier. Consumers can go online and indulge in some retail therapy whenever they choose.

Retailers can take advantage of the ease and ubiquity of mobile connectivity by offering curated experiences through which they provide shoppers with personalized product recommendations or let them know about deals and discounts on the specific products they shop for. Such efforts are key to engaging with customers. Mobile gives retailers a great opportunity to keep customers engaged by sharing content that is relevant based on their individual interests.

Learning Opportunities

Diversify Your Content

With more retailers focusing on digital, the demand for content has exploded. And as shopping trends evolve, the competition to capture consumers’ attention is intensifying.

Retailers need to provide interactive experiences via mobile. Those efforts should include video content that allows customers to get a closer look at the products they are looking to purchase.

While shopping online, of course, customers are unable to touch things or try them on. Therefore, images and video play a vital role in helping people get a better understanding of the products they’re thinking of purchasing. Videos in particular can showcase products in a detailed way and help customers do a deep dive as they research and compare products.

Make sure video on your mobile platform is optimized so that it gives customers a clear view of the products they are considering. Low-quality images and video will be an automatic turnoff.

Make the Purchase Process Fast and Easy

From shopping cart to checkout, buying goods on a mobile device should be easy and efficient.

Complicated checkout processes and slow-loading pages can cause customers to lose interest and deter them from following through with their purchases. Instead of making customers click through several pages to get to a traditional checkout page, give them the ability to make a purchase directly on the content page. The easier this process is, the more likely customers will be to make purchases on their phones.

A Mobile-First Mentality Is Key

Today’s mobile shopping experience remains too similar to the traditional desktop experience. Retailers need to find innovative ways to transform their mobile experiences to improve their mobile conversion rates.

Creating a mobile-first content strategy and ensuring that all content is optimized to display clearly on mobile screens will be critical to those efforts. Retailers that fail to identify and address the challenges facing their mobile efforts will lose out on a prime opportunity to reach customers easily and conveniently.

Ultimately, retailers need to consider how they are curating the customer experience and, if necessary, simplify it for mobile so customers can quickly and easily make purchases through their phones.