Google Search On Apple iPad2 - mobile marketing for retailersAn increasing number of consumers are using mobile handsets for shopping. Google stats show 67% of online consumers are using a mobile device for at least one stage of the purchasing process.

Furthermore, the search engine giant announced it would be including mobile-friendly sites as a ranking factor. If you do not have a responsive website that can be easily viewed and navigated in a mobile screen by 21st April 2015, expect to drop down Google rankings.

By now you are probably well aware of the mobile mania sweeping across search engine land. Now all you need to know is how optimise your website for mobile shoppers.

First thing to remember is that search engines are online consumers want a good UX – user experience. You can give them this by making your website easy to navigate on a mobile device and making the purchasing process quick and easy.

Mobile usability

Mobile screens do not have as much landscape to view as desktop PC’s and laptops – therefore the amount of info is limited. But you still have to get your message across…

…so we are talking about the wonderful artistic concept of less is more. Well kind of. The real purpose here is getting straight to the point rather than going round the houses to explain your point.

If visitors want further information they should be given the option to find a detailed description on a separate page. Therefore, your content must have a place of its own and be clearly labelled.

Add a feature that allows users to bookmark pages. If you have an eCommerce site give users the option to add products to a wish list or shopping cart. Make it easy for consumers to make decisions.

The rule of thumb for mobile-friendly designs is to think about how users will navigate your site on a 4-inch screen first, and scale up from there.

Think conversions

Is it impossible to pre-determine why a visitor is browsing round your online store – it depends what stage of the purchasing process they are at. However, keep things simple and gear your mobile site towards conversions.

Images are a great way to attract attention and get the most click-throughs. On your landing pages, images should be accompanied with brief copy stating exactly what you are offering – so advertise tempting offers on your landing pages.

Another effective tool you can add to your arsenal is a virtual assistant that enables you to connect with visitors in real-time.

This presents you with a great opportunity to offer help and advice, just like you would a customer visiting your physical store.

Geotarget prospects

Modern mobile handsets are fitted with location sensors that allow you to detect when prospects are in your neighbourhood. Providing you have the authorisation and contact details of customers to send promotions, geotargeting is a great way to surprise prospects with great offers.

However, you should be extremely careful how you play the geotargeting card. Don’t be a pest and bombard customers with messages every day. They are probably just passing to go to work.

You also have to be extra careful to send promotions that are relevant to the recipient. Studies have shown that over 70% of consumers will unsubscribe after three misplaced ads.

Promotional ads should also have a personal touch that makes the customer feel special rather than a random bulk message that could be aimed at anyone. That doesn’t mean you have to write individual messages to each of your prospects, but use consumer data wisely to determine what type of products or service they will be interested in.

Easy subscriptions

Mobile users do not mind subscribing to brands they know and trust, but they do not want to have to fill in a lengthy questionnaire just to browse through your online catalogue.

Therefore make subscription quick and easy by getting them to sign in using social media details. You will have seen this tactic employed by numerous online companies and appreciate its benefits so is a no-brainer, but still worthy of a mention.

You could go one step further and offer an app as part of a loyalty program whereby you can send direct newsfeeds to users, whether they are special offers for them or not – you never know, something may take their fancy without them having thought of it before.

Payment details should also be easy to set up and secure. Offer Paypal as well as popular credit cards and give customers the option to save their payment details to the account so the next time they purchase something online, they can proceed to check-out with little ado.

So, to optimise your site for mobile users, the take-home advice is to keep decision making and actions simple and make your products appealing without having to explain a great deal.