It's not easy running a business in the modern world. Increasingly, your competitors are not just those local businesses offering the same product or service, but every business offering that same product or service, or indeed all those other businesses which claim that your product or service isn’t even required anymore because of what they have to offer. There is such a cacophony of noise that it's really hard to get heard. And yet, if you do get heard, it is more important than ever to try to establish a link with that customer that means they will return. Even better, not only will they return, they will tell their friends about you – and remember, word-of-mouth is still the best form of marketing, hands down. In short, what you want to create is that elusive brand loyalty.
And in the online space, with statistics revealing that customers are increasingly moving towards mobile devices to conduct their e-commerce. According to data from OuterBox, on Cyber Monday 2019, 54% of online traffic came from mobile devices, while sales accounted for about 30%. Furthermore, 40% of Amazon’s sales are now made via mobile devices, with that percentage climbing year on year.
The process of completing a monetary transaction, as in the above example, is what is called MCommerce. Traditionally, ecommerce was an electronic transaction, so here we are at the logical next stage. How so? If you think of the almost vital role mobile devices in the shape of phones and tablets play in our everyday lives, it is really no surprise to see people increasingly use these devices to make purchases and transactions that would have been previously completed by other means. That means everything from booking concert tickets to ordering takeout is being done directly from mobile devices.
In fact, there are three distinct strands of MCommerce, which are:
If you are a business who hasn’t optimised your site for these very devices, then you are missing a massive trick.
That is because of the inherent benefits that MCommerce brings, such as:
Increased convenience. The transaction can be completed anytime, anywhere.
Growth possibilities. Think of the audience that can potentially be reached with the offer of services through a mobile device.
The mobile-first rule as employed by Google. Sites that are optimised for mobile devices will get more attention in page rankings.
What can we ascertain from these details? Quite simply, if you want to effectively establish brand loyalty, increasingly MCommerce is positioning itself as the means to achieve this. So here are five effective means by which you can start to establish strong loyalty towards your brand through an MCommerce offering.
Make MCommerce essential
MCommerce is not just the future, it is the present. We saw the stats at the start of this article, and these numbers are only going to grow. That means that engaging customers through MCommerce will soon become ubiquitous, so your brand will be judged implicitly on the MCommerce experience it offers in comparison to your competitors, or even just other brands in general. This represents a challenge, of course, but at the same time, it is a huge opportunity. Strike now and make your MCommerce experience the best in your niche, and very quickly you will win over your audience by the ease in which they can complete what they want to achieve by using your mobile site. In contrast, wait too long, and you could quickly become a dinosaur who is no longer relevant to an evolving audience, in the same way that brands who were slow to move online lost out in the past.
Here’s a pertinent example: statistics show that those people who want to book a table in a restaurant are more frequently doing this through a mobile app instead of the conventional means of calling. Therefore, if your restaurant does not offer this facility, that’s a lot of potential business that you are going to lose out on because you did not set up the relevant MCommerce solution.
Give the user a fully-integrated mobile experience
It’s not just about the design layout, as Bobby Torrence, a brand manager at Paper Fellows explains: “What the modern user is increasingly demanding is the full mobile experience, meaning that they want every interaction they have with your brand to not only be mobile optimised, but optimised through the eyes of their experience too. So that means giving them the information that they want and in some cases giving them other relevant information that they didn’t even ask for, because they hadn’t even considered it. Then you need to build in loyalty schemes which interact uniquely through the mobile experience. So, for example, if they make a purchase through the mobile app, you can offer a discount next time they do the same. Or you could operate a referral system that operates exclusively tough the mobile device. It needs to be all factored into one, integrated, mobile-friendly experience.”
This practice of connecting up all approaches is sometimes referred to as telling your brand story through mobile. Create a content marketing plan that can be executed exclusively through the mobile platform, and link it to your social media channels for starters. From there, link it to your content pillars and ensure that not only all offers are also available through mobile, have exclusive-to-mobile promotions that speak directly to your mobile users.
Make everything achievable through the user’s device, and offer rewards to encourage the experience. Remember, in this growing MCommerce world, you actively want your users moving to mobile because this is where audiences in general are moving to.
Rethink what is displayed
Optimising for mobile doesn’t simply mean adapting your existing desktop-friendly site. Far from it. In order to optimise, you must maximise too, and here is how.
First up, you do need to adapt to what the user sees, because the screen of a mobile device is fundamentally different to that of a desktop – it’s a lot smaller to start with, and the dimensions are different. So, start with making the mobile site simple – overcrowding is a basic yet often-repeated design flaw when it comes to mobile pages. Make sure the text is of a suitable size, and tone it down when it comes to images and videos, because these cannot just slow down the loading speed of your site, they can change the formatting and make the experience less user-friendly. It is worth noting that any slight issue with the mobile experience will immediately turn off the user, and slow loading pages will be the first to get clicked off.
Then you need to be sure that you are showing the products that the user is interested in, because a mobile device simply does not have the capacity to express all the options that you can via desktop. That means first and foremost that search criteria must be detailed to bring up the most relevant results, and secondly it means that the display of the results must be conveniently displayed.
Make it impactful
We already live in a world where attention spans are probably as short as they have ever been, and the situation is exacerbated on mobile devices because of the sheer number of things that can be done with a mobile device and the speed and ease by which apps or functions can be jumped between. That means that you have an extremely small window of opportunity in comparison to almost any other medium – even an annoying TV or radio advertisement may remain on long enough to capture the attention before it is switched off, with mobile devices this timeframe is even shorter. So, what can be done?
First, and as already mentioned, any action required must be simple and easy to complete – no complications or the user will be lost, potentially forever. But from here you quickly need to escalate matters, and a great place to go next is your mobile app.
Don’t just make your mobile app an extension of your desktop site, make your app a whole new experience of interaction and opportunity, after all, what was the point in downloading it otherwise? Users immediately what to see something new and unique with the app that they have just spent time downloading and is taking up valuable memory space on their device – if it’s the same thing with no new opportunities, it will get uninstalled even more quickly than it got there in the first place.
So start with the way it looks and the way it interacts, and quickly kick things on from there – make it clear what can be done with the mobile app, and then quickly promote any possibilities that are achievable exclusively through the app, such as availing of discounts or promotional offers, utilising tools which are unavailable anywhere else, and conversing directly with your social media sites for maximum engagement.
Pair up with another brand
This is far from an idea that is unique to MCommerce – brand partnerships have been in existence for many years – but as the user experience is frequently moving towards MCommerce, this offers a whole new beginning to this tried-and-tested tactic.
First up, be very careful who you decide to partner with – it should be a brand that speaks to a similar demographic and has the same brand values as your own as far as possible. But it’s more than that: you should really pair up with a brand that offers something that your users would find useful and would actively be looking for. In this way, it shows your users that you have been considering their needs and have actively sought to jump on board with and get them special offers and discounts from, a brand which sells products and services which are of real benefit to them. Not only will you be able to leverage the partnership to its full effect, but you will also be realising that aim that you set out to nail: building brand loyalty.
At the same time, you have to make sure this works for you too, so set favourable terms for referrals, and yours is similarly a business offering products and services that the other brand’s users will be interested in it – you are not in the business of free advertising for anyone else. That is why you need to be careful and selective about who you go into partnership with. Examine the market for pertinent examples of how brands have successfully integrated their MCommerce approaches, and then seek about doing the same.
Building brand loyalty has, in some way, never been harder, but, in many ways, have never been so awash with opportunities, and there lies the challenge. Yes it is true to say that the nature of the competition has never been so fierce, but at the same time there are not so many ways you can work to set your brand apart that to anyone who thrives on creativity, the possibilities are almost endless.
Then you must also think of it like this too. With so many options, people are crying out for one brand above all others that they can trust and stick with into the future. Shopping around for the best prices, best products and best user experiences is exhausting, and so finding one brand that offers everything all in the same place is a distinctly attractive proposition.
What we know is that Ecommerce is quickly becoming MCommerce, and herein lies one of those opportunities we previously mentioned. As the experience increasingly becomes mobile, as that migration takes place this is your opportunity to stand out from the crowd and offer users an experience that ill have them coming back for more and, at the same time, waxing lyrical about your brand to anyone who cares to listen. And listen people do, because when it comes to the web, we all carry the same frustrations of too much choice yet not enough brands we can trust. Be that brand.
About the author: Ellie Coverdale is a technical and marketing writer, who is involved in marketing researches, as well as in teaching content marketing for businesses.