Converting mobile browsers into buyers

September 21, 2020 | By RetailME Bureau

Converting mobile browsers into buyers is the task at hand, states Kalika Tripathi, MENA head of marketing, Visa.  It’s unequivocally exasperating when a website that doesn’t work on mobile, especially in 2020 when hours of our time every day spent online is on our smartphones.

In January, Digital 2020 – a global social media and digital trends report by Hootsuite and We Are Social – predicted that the average internet user would spend six hours and 43 minutes per day online in 2020. Added together, globally, we are expected to spend a collective 1.25 billion years online this year – a number likely catapulted far higher following the usage surge due to COVID-19.

And of the now 5.19 billion unique mobile users globally, more than half (50.1%) of all internet time is spent on mobile devices.

Yet how often do we visit sites on our devices only to find them unresponsive, slow and impossible to navigate?

In a time of constant hyper-connectivity, consumers demand instant information on the go as a standard – a need amplified by the pandemic as users became solely reliant on online services amid safety measures and restrictions enforced worldwide.

A Back to Business study was conducted by Visa global to provide small and micro businesses (SMBs) with insights that will help them weather the crisis. The initiative was part of ‘Where You Shop Matters’ found that nine out of every ten consumers in the UAE have changed how they pay for purchases, including preferring to shop online when possible (59%).

Additionally, Visa’s COVID-19 Impact Tracker, also noted that two-thirds of UAE consumers (68%) surveyed said that COVID-19 has led to their first online grocery purchase. In comparison, 70% have made their first online purchase from pharmacies. Overall, the report points to a shift to online commerce, with cash transactions replaced by digital payments.

The bottom line: there’s simply no excuse for a site that isn’t mobile-friendly anymore.

Businesses that don’t offer sites designed for mobiles won’t just miss out on sales but also be driving away customers to their competition.

But converting your mobile experience to a positive one is easier than you think. If you are updating your own site, even the simple tweaks such as compressing images can make a huge difference. The basic building block of an excellent online journey is speed, and a website that loads quickly provides a much better experience than one that loads slowly.

Large image files may make your website look beautiful when viewed on a desktop, but that can be frustrating for people accessing your website from a smartphone while on the move and often with limited connectivity. If you have large images, use a free online compression tool to reduce the size of the image without unduly impacting quality so you can reproduce the lovely look and feel of your desktop site for your mobile customers.

Designing for touch is also central to providing a more seamless experience to your mobile browsers. The touch is the primary way that people will interact with your website on their mobile, and fingers are less precise than a mouse-click. To make sure your mobile browsers can still “click to buy” make sure your action buttons are large, comfortable to see and not close to other buttons which users might touch by accident while trying.

Following the same logic, design a mobile experience that makes it easy to fill in forms. Completing forms on a smartphone can be a real challenge, and the last thing you need is a frustrated customer mid-transaction. Instead, simplify form-filling on your mobile site by using stored information to pre-populate fields, using drop-down menus where possible and visual calendars instead of manual entry to enter dates.

Finally, if there’s one thing that drives any user crazy, it’s those annoying pop-ups, so make sure to avoid them altogether. With the smaller screen size of a smartphone, pop-up windows can lead to bad user experience by blocking out the whole screen or essential parts of your website.

As internet usage and e-commerce transactions continue to soar, businesses now have a window to attract more browsers than ever before. Don’t miss the opportunity of converting mobile browsers into buyers.

For more insights, tools and resources, small business owners and sellers can also access Visa’s Small Business Hub, a merchant platform launched as part of Visa’s regional ‘Where You Shop Matters’ initiative.

By Kalika Tripathi, MENA head of marketing, Visa


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