We are living in a mobile-first world. Millennials and GenZ have foregone the window shopping of their parents’ generations and are instead browsing storefronts on their mobile devices, constantly on the hunt for their next purchase. Studies show that, in the US, more than 50% of eCommerce website traffic comes from mobile, and this number jumps to as much as 80% in China. These numbers are only expected to grow year over year, yet surprisingly very few brands are prepared to meet and capitalize on this demand.
Most brands have a pretty standard mobile commerce strategy: they’ve either launched a native mobile app and created a responsive mobile site. These technologies may have been sufficient in the past, but those days are long gone. Brands have experienced a drastic decline both in app downloads and mobile site conversions in recent years, leaving many understandably confused. People love to buy on mobile, right? So what’s missing?
In this blog, we’ll walk you through how to develop an effective, engaging, and conversion-optimized mobile commerce strategy.
Why Your Mobile Commerce Strategy Isn't Working
Before we start talking about how to create an effective mobile-first experience, let’s make sure we understand what isn’t working about your strategy.
Native Mobile Apps
For many companies, mobile-first is synonymous with native mobile apps, which your consumers can download from their app stores. Retailers often rely on organic adoption of their apps or on paid advertising to encourage installations. However, this approach is fatally flawed.
Studies show that US consumers are downloading fewer new apps every year – only 32% of survey respondents downloaded a new app in June of 2019, down from 49% of respondents in June 2017. Most respondents had downloaded only 1 or 2 apps in the past month, and the majority had also un-installed any apps that they weren’t actively using, a phenomenon known as "app fatigue". To add insult to injury, supporting a standalone mobile app on iOS and Android is incredibly costly. This just isn’t a profitable mobile commerce strategy for your business.
Most companies have invested in a responsive website, which is basically just a shrunk-down version of a website designed for desktop users. While it is visually appealing on mobile devices, the experience is far from engaging, which explains the low average session times across the board. While responsive websites make your page accessible from a customer’s smartphone or tablet, they do not support the features that make digital commerce so attractive in the first place, such as location-driven search or camera features.
Page load times are the major issue here - 70% of mobile-optimized responsive websites take more than 5 seconds to load. The math is simple: the longer the load time, the higher the bounce rate, meaning people will exit your website. According to Google, a 4 second increase in load time correlates to a 106% increase in bounce rate and directly impacts conversion rates.
Many of these companies use promotional app interstitials to encourage users to download their native mobile apps. According to recent study by Google, “69% of the users that came across app install interstitials abandoned the page. These users neither went to the app store nor continued to the mobile website.” This means losing 69% of your inbound visitors because of one misstep - it’s about time you re-evaluate your mobile commerce strategy.
Your Commerce Strategy: Mobile-First in 2020 and Beyond
If you’ve found yourself in the mobile commerce strategies described above, you’re hopefully convinced you need a makeover. Modern commerce storefronts simply need to support the speed, personalized content, and visual experiences that customers crave. So what if we told you that you could have the best of both worlds: combining the benefits of responsive mobile sites and native mobile apps, without any of the cons? The answer is PWA (Progressive Web Apps) - a special web application that enables a native-app-like experience.
PWA and AMP - An Introduction
Let’s start with a brief history. In 2015, Google introduced two new and exciting technologies to combat lackluster mobile experiences: progressive web apps (PWA) and accelerated mobile pages (AMP). PWAs are mobile website experiences designed to look, feel, and work the way native mobile apps do, while AMP allows developers to build web pages that load almost instantly through a unique coding language. In general, PWA improves the experience of your repeat customers, while AMP is most effective in wow-ing and engaging first-time visitors.
We recommend building PWA websites instead of native mobile apps in order to capitalize on organic mobile traffic whilst still providing an engaging experience to your customers. If you do choose to create a mobile app for your loyal customer base anyway, we recommend leveraging PWA technology once again. Users can install PWA to their home screen just like a native app, and it can be accessed anywhere on the web without the friction of installation. Due to the significant improvement in the quality of PWAs, innovative companies such as Twitter are now choosing their PWA as the default option on the Google Play Store for Chrome OS devices.
Benefits and Features
- Instant load time
- App-like experience on website
- Offline browsing
- Push notifications
- App icon on home screen of a mobile
- Better indexing and ranking on Google
- Ready to launch on Apple App Store and Google Play Store
Tangible Effects of PWA and AMP on Your Business
- Increase conversion rate
- Improve user experience
- Increase average session time on site
- Increase organic search traffic
- Reduce cost
Forward-thinking retailers are already reaping the benefits of PWA and AMP. George, one of the UK’s leading clothing brands, recently reported a 31% increase in mobile conversion since they upgraded their website to a PWA. If you’re still not convinced, you can access statistics published by other companies at PWAStats.
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If you’ve been looking for ways to better engage your mobile customers and increase mobile conversions, this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for! Set up time with the HotWax Commerce team of experts to learn how our platform leverages PWA and AMP technologies to improve your mobile experience.