Mobile commerce, or mCommerce, is the browsing and purchasing of products from mobile devices including smart phones and tablets. mCommerce is the fastest growing subset of the eCommerce industry yet. Even if you don't own a website, or you aren't even currently selling anything on eBay or anywhere else on the internet, you need to know a few basics about mCommerce and how it can affect your business.
In 2011, there were $13 billion dollars worth of sales made on mobile devices. In 2012, there were over $24 billion worth of sales from mobile devices. Who knows how many billion will be spent on mobile-based purchases in 2013? One thing is for sure, though: mCommerce isn't showing any signs of slowing down.
On of the biggest differences between shopping on a mobile device, compared with on a computer is that mCommerce is simpler. Web-based checkouts often have lengthy forms and complicated systems. Mobile optimized checkouts, however are fast and easy.
Retail giants are spending millions on developing apps that make purchasing goods easier. Quite often, a retailer's app will be more recently developed than their website, so it's usually easier to use which makes purchasing more enticing for buyers.
eBay's mobile app
Billions of dollars of eBay purchases are now done via mobile and eBay has developed a fantastic app for buyers (and sellers). The app has great reviews on the iTunes app store and has earned eBay a lot of sales. The difference between visiting the eBay website via a mobile browser and using the app is that the app was built for small screens. The buttons are also finger-friendly so its easy to navigate around. In the image below you can see what an eBay listing looks like on the eBay mobile app on my iPhone.
Below that you can see what the exact same listing as it appears in my iPhone's version of Safari. The differences might be subtle to you at first, but from a design point of view, the app version is far superior because of the way that it occupies the visual space on the screen. Buttons such as the show price button are much larger which makes it easier to tap. There's also some more important information showing, as opposed to the browser version which shows less information.
The eBay mobile app version
The exact same listing viewed in Safari mobile web browser
Why am I showing you this? Just in case you're not familiar with mobile apps and how they are different from using a mobile browser to visit a website.
Seeing as the eBay app is so popular, I though I'd share a few tips on how to optimize your eBay listings for mobile shoppers. Everyone can benefit from having mobile optimized eBay listings, but some say that men are more likely to shop via mobile, more so than women so if you sell products that are more male-orientated, pay careful attention!
Item photos: eBay recommends uploading your images to eBay picture services (rather than self-hosting) because it ensures that they render properly when viewed on mobile. If you embed pictures with an HTML listing, they may not be easily visible to buyers.
Item specifics: Use item specifics such as color and brand. This helps users find your products more easily.
Accept PayPal: This allows many mobile shoppers to make a quick purchase. I hate to admit, but there have been times when I've just about bought something via my mobile, but was too lazy to get off the couch and grab my credit card! If I could have just logged into PayPal, I would have gone through with the purchase.
Make the most of these tips and you might just see an increase in sales.
Have you ever purchased an item via your mobile device?
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