By Deborah Loh, Marketing Manager at Eurostop

As a consumer, we are constantly enticed to purchase the next ‘must have’ item. We are presented with new and exciting ways to shop or are reminded to take advantage of that bargain promotion just received via email. The ways in which to browse and complete that purchase are becoming ever more seamless and slick. In this digital age, there are a multitude of ways for shoppers to connect with your brand, and anyone else’s. Providing a superior customer experience online as well as in store, is crucial to building customer loyalty. So what is going to help entice new customers to see what you have to offer and ensure that your existing customers keep coming back for more?

Omnichannel is more than just a buzzword

Mobile is an essential part of the omnichannel/cross channel/connected customer experience. The lines between online shopping and shopping in store are blurred. Consumers expect to be able to browse, research, purchase, return and choose delivery options wherever they are and on the device they have to hand. Mobile is even often part of the in store experience. As customers pick up an item in store, they are swiping their mobile device to check if they can get a better deal online or in another store.

As a retailer, you need to ensure that you provide an interface that encourages them to remain loyal, or encourage them to look at other upsells. Do this by providing a content rich website that is mobile friendly.

Become mobile friendly or lose out

Statista, an online statistics service says ‘In 2017, figures suggest that more than 90% of internet users will access online content through their phones.’

The statistic speaks for itself! Something else to consider is that in some demographics we may already be at that figure. If your website doesn’t look good on mobile devices, you could be losing out already.

Mobile first forces you to focus on what’s important

The principle of mobile first means that you take a practical approach to design. With limitations on screen real estate, only elements vital for the user experience are included. Adding more only as screen space increases means screen bloat is reduced when optimisation is essential.

This approach means that when browsing your site, your customers get the information they need quickly and clearly. We’ve all given up on a site and moved to the next one, because it was slow, clunky or simply didn’t work properly.

Browser or App?

If budget is a consideration, then the most cost effective solution is a mobile first website. The solution is optimised for mobile, meaning that not only is it smart phone compatible, it will adjust layout to scale up for tablets and desktops. You will have one website to maintain, without the overhead of an App that needs different versions to run on different mobile operating systems. With a mobile first website, one size really does fit all.

Google’s mobile ranking

In April, the giant search engine made changes to the way in which it ranks results on mobile devices. Keeping in mind that screen size is reduced on a mobile phone, you need to ensure that your website is returned nearer the top of the list in a search. You can check how mobile friendly your pages are by using the Mobile Usability report in Google search console (Webmaster tools)

In summary, if you are looking for the biggest bang for your buck, take a mobile first approach to your website, because it is much easier to scale up than to scale down. Ensure that you look for a solution that provides fully integrated links with your other channels, both head office and the bricks and mortar stores. With good integration there will be no clumsy interfaces, and you won’t need to rekey or double maintain your product information, stock inventory or customer loyalty information. A good content management system will ensure that you keep control of your website and ensure that it is always up to date.

So the question ‘can I afford to invest in mobile commerce?’ has really got to be ‘can I afford not to?’