Written by CMG News Contributor, Doug Carleton
Back in the old days (two or three years ago), websites for retailers were designed first for the desktop computer to function well and catch a buyer’s eyes to look further into the possibly making a purchase. How well it functioned for mobile devices was often a secondary consideration, although that was beginning to change. Between the pandemic and the rise in computer power and smartphone use, suddenly mobile has become a critical part of the consumer buying experience. As we know, consumers are buying more and more on their computers. The general term that has described this form of commerce has been labeled e-commerce. E-commerce has been described as almost anything bought online from a computer. As buying online is becoming more frequent, another term is coming into play dubbed m-commerce – purchases made almost entirely from smartphones. For example, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter have added “buy” buttons to their mobile apps that allow people to purchase without ever leaving their device.
This brings me to omnichannel marketing. As more and more purchases are made from smartphones, a company’s marketing and web strategy have to create a seamless opportunity for a consumer to purchase. The shoes you viewed on your laptop are the ones you saw while Instagramming on your phone and the same ones you received an email about when they went on sale, after which you purchased them and went to the store to pick them up at the curb. The transaction began on one device and ended on another, never leaving the string. Had the string been broken, such as the customer having to go separately to the company’s website to buy, the sale could've been lost. Customers want convenience and ease of shopping. If a site is not easy to navigate, loads fast, and the purchase section not easy to use the customer may buy, but not come back. If the buyer wants it now, make sure your marketing strategy allows the customer to buy anywhere on your site – including your apps.
Depending on how active your consumer business is and how sales from smartphones are increasing, you might consider designing (or re-designing) your website as though you were designing it for your phone and then your laptop and then your desktop. Think about it as working backward. It doesn’t matter what device your customer finds you on just make sure that when they look, they can find the same thing on each of their devices. The buying opportunities or shopping on your website should be seamless – easy, convenient, and fast.
Think omnichannel marketing.
This blog entry is a slightly edited excerpt from Doug Carleton's 'The Daily Life Of A Small Business Owner' series. Doug was a mentor with SCORE, Startup Virginia, and Lighthouse Labs, and has 25+ years of experience in small business finance including 12 years in SBA lending. To contact Doug directly, please email him at email@example.com.