2018 was unequivocally the “year of mobile holiday shopping.”
- 51% of traffic came through mobile, driving 31% of revenue, up 55% YOY
- 48% of orders were processed through mobile, up 19% YOY
- Mobile drove 68% of traffic and 54% of orders on Thanksgiving, up 15% YOY
- 67% of Black Friday traffic and 49% of orders came through mobile
- Shoppers say half of their holiday purchases were made through mobile
Holiday's the season to reach new customers -- according to Google, 61% of shoppers were open to buying from new retailers during the 2018 holiday season, and 46% did buy from a new retailer in the 2017 season.
While promotions, creative, new features and code are typically locked down by August, there’s still time to pull a few extra levers to make holiday 2019 your best ever.
Let’s explore 6 opportunties to optimize your mobile experience (without changing code!) for Holiday 2019.
Speed up your site
You’ve heard it before -- even a 1s delay in page load time impacts page views, customer satisfaction and conversion rate. With 47% of shoppers expecting sites to load in 2s or less, and 53% abandoning sites that take longer than 3s (Google), mobile sites have a need for speed.
Mobile SEO is desktop SEO
Not only does this impact customer experience, mobile page load speed is a critical search ranking factor (yes, Google measures the time it takes for a click to your site to bounce back to the SERPs). Considering Google is increasingly moving towards mobile-first indexing (using your mobile URLs as the default in the index), optimizing mobile speed should be a top priority for every ecommerce site.
Site speed checklist
Poor cellular reception and slow WiFi networks exacerbate the page load problem for mobile users. Make sure you check all the mobile-speed boxes below:
- Your hosting house is in order and ready to handle increased server loads
- You’ve minimized HTTP requests
- You’ve optimized file sizes and compressed images
- You’ve optimized server response time and TTFB (time to first byte)
- You’re loading critical, above-the-fold content first (lazy loading)
- You’ve minimized third party scripts and redirects, scripts appear at the end of HTML
- Consider leveraging browser caching, and sessionStorage localStorage in place of cookies (in HTML5)
- Consider using a mobile CDN (content delivery network)
Use rich snippets and structured markup
If you haven’t taken advantage of rich snippets and structured markup, you’re missing a massive opportunity for higher search click-through. Studies show rich snippets can increase CTR (click-through rate) by 677% and drive 20-40% more traffic than product links without them.
Highlighting star ratings, review count, price, promotions and stock availability make your listing stand out in search and give shoppers more pre-click context.
Consider voice SEO
Google shares 20% of search queries now come through voice, and ComScore predicts 30-50% of all searches will be conducted by voice by 2020 (yes, next year)! SEO firm Stone Temple surveyed shoppers and found 60% use voice at least “some of the time” -- and Google hints that a lot of the time it’s to locate “near me now” queries (growing 150% over the last two years).
As Google increasingly becomes an ask-and-answer engine, online merchants may wonder how to capture voice search traffic -- especially since Google serves only one site per “answer.” We do know voice results are ranked by semantic relevance (using “natural language processing”) -- it’s less about keywords than it is about context. Until Google offers more directive advice for ecommerce, providing Google with a product datafeed, leveraging structured markup such as price, inventory and customer reviews (which use natural language, naturally) and providing local inventory for “near me” searches may help.
Consider exit intent popups
Mobile conversion rates are still single-digit (peaking at 3.9% on Cyber Monday), leaving over 96% of visitors unconverted within a session.
One way to “micro-convert” such traffic is through popup offers and opt-ins. This tactic can boost “conversion” by 5-10% (depending on what you consider conversion). But beware -- Google’s Mobile Interstitial Penalty may ding your search rankings if you trigger popups too soon. Using exit intent instead of entry popups is less intrusive, thus safer for mobile SEO. (To uber-comply with Google, make sure your popups only take up 25-30% of the screen, and add a no-index tag to your code).
If exit intent popups are triggered by certain mouse movements -- how do they work on mobile? Some popup tools allow you to write an exit intent script such as this one from Wisepops that trigger modal windows after a user rapidly scrolls back to top, hits a back button or (strongest of all) keys into the browser’s search bar.
Advanced popup tools allow you to customize content and offers based on specific user context and triggers, such as pages viewed, searches conducted, time on site and more. Giving customers time to “behave” on your site allows you to show more relevant popups, thus convert more mobile visitors.
73% of smartphone owners confess to showrooming -- using mobile in-store to comparison shop. Having already experienced a product in person, showroomers are often very close to conversion. They typically arrive via paid or organic search, land directly on a product page and don’t spend time browsing. Consider segmenting this behavior and triggering a time-limited coupon to persuade and create urgency.
Most popup offers ask for email in exchange for discounts. This adds friction to the mobile journey. Consider tap-to-apply offers or an easy to remember code such as 15OFF or SHIPFREE.
Leverage SMS marketing
Don’t forget, consumers drown in marketing messages during the holidays, with many retailers pushing multiple messages per day. This makes it harder for your messages to stand out.
What’s more, up to 94% of B2C email is never opened (average open rates range from 6-20%)! Contrast this with SMS marketing, where up to 98% are opened and 90% of messages read within three minutes (versus 90 minutes for email).
SMS marketing also has 60x faster response time than email coupons.
If you don’t already use SMS marketing, NOW is the time to build your list. Add your SMS option to entry and exit popups, bake it into your checkout flow and promote to existing email subscribers. You can also build your list fast through social contests and in-store signage.
Add a chatbot
Chatbots are expected to tackle 85% of customer service interactions by 2020, and 80% of businesses say they want one in place by then.
Consumers are keen too. 63% of shoppers are open to buying through chatbots, and 40% are open to deals and offers through them. LivePerson reports chatbot engagement rose 261% during Cyber Weekend 2018.
Mobile chatbot benefits
The key benefit of ecommerce chatbots is accessibility and speed. In todays text-savvy world, 56% of people would rather message than call customer service, and 53% of people are more likely to shop with retailers they can message. HubSpot reports 71% say believe chatbots answer questions faster.
Mobile chatbots also offer a quicker way to find products without struggling through complicated navigation menus, applying layers of filters and facets and henpecking search queries. Think of them as “product finders 2.0.”
Image: Etail East
Chatbots also help visitors find information such as shipping and return policies (most commonly found in the footer menu) without trying to out-scroll forever-autoloading content.
Choosing your chatbot
Adding a chatbot is a way to dip your toe into conversational commerce. Implementing a chatbot today allows you time to A/B and user test, and gather feedback before the holiday rush hits. It’s also important to give AI-driven applications time to “learn” your users.
The most popular retail chatbots integrate with Facebook Messenger, as many shoppers already have it installed on their phones, and the launch icon is easily recongizable. KiK is also popular among retailers with younger customers (e.g. Sephora, VS Pink, H&M). Retailers are also experimenting with WeChat, WhatsApp, Google Assistant and Amazon Echo bots.
A minimum viable chatbot (MVC) can be set up in 10-30 minutes with a self-service tool such as Chatfuel, even for a non-developer. A more complex chatbot may take a few weeks (or around 500 hours) of custom development and integration, depending on your use cases, business logic, degree of personalized targeting, and whether you’re using IFTT (if this, then that) dialogs AI-driven natural language processing.
Like popups, chatbots can be targeted to specific visitor segments or based on certain actions, and personalized. Some chatbot vendors have such targeting capabilities. Consider segmenting holiday shoppers based on referral source or campaign. Remember, during the holidays, personalization based on browse and order history is less relevant, as purchase intent can be all over the place!
Also remember that WISMO (where is my order?) requests accelerate the closer we get to Christmas. Chatbots are an excellent way to help customers track their packages quickly while reducing service calls and emails. Mobile users may be able to bypass logging in (the biggest point of friction in order lookup) using chatbots that can recognize mobile numbers used in the order, device tagging or cookies. Updates can also be pushed regularly via text or Messenger integrations, viewable without visiting your site, or with direct links to order information.
We’re 108 days away from Black Friday. Are you mobile ready?