9 Mobile Commerce Tactics For Companies Without an App

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There seems to be an app for everything these days, and ecommerce businesses are no exception. Many of your favorite online brands likely have an app—even if you had no idea—because an app makes it easy to shop from any mobile device at any time. 

Still, not every ecommerce business needs an app, and it may not even make sense for those that can’t afford to build and maintain one. 

In either case, though, there are many browser-based tools and functionalities that can create an optimized mobile shopping experience for customers—no app required.

These are some of our favorites that online brands do:

Add One-Click Checkout

Amazon may have been among the first to market a one-click checkout, but other ecommerce retailers quickly followed suit. Nevertheless, Amazon still ranks highly among websites that are effective at easing the buyer towards a successful purchasing journey.

With Amazon’s Buy Now button, shoppers who have an account can purchase an item with a single tap or click. Previously stored payment and shipment information sets the transaction in motion, and all the customer has to do is wait for their package to arrive.

Product listing for stained glass light bulb on Amazon

There are other variations of one-click functionality in a mobile user’s journey as well, including digital wallets like Shop, Apple Pay, and Google Pay. With this particular feature, ecommerce shoppers run into less friction during the checkout process. 

Similarly, customers can usually tap a single auto-fill button rather than manually entering shipping and billing address information or sensitive credit card data. The stored data auto-populates, saving the customer time and reducing the chance of data entry errors.

The ultimate goal of one-click functionality is to finalize a sale as quickly as possible. This is because over 70 percent of online shopping carts are abandoned by users before payment, so trying to close the deal as fast as possible makes sense. In other words, adding one-click functionality to your website can be a great way to convert more browsers into buyers because it gives customers a purchase-based alternative to leaving something in their carts. 

When used in the wild, the benefits of having a one-click purchase option go both ways, too. As the customers enjoy a streamlined and convenient experience, the ecommerce retailer’s bottom line gets a boost.

It is also important to keep customer satisfaction in mind when you implement this technology. For example, with features like a Buy Now button, it’s pretty easy for users to make accidental purchases. Customers might not even realize it until an unexpected package arrives on their doorstep, leading to frustration and customer dissatisfaction. 

This is why Amazon includes a feature to turn off one-click purchasing at the device, browser, or account level. Giving your customers options to fine-tune their shopping experiences like this is a good move.

Optimize Your Website for Mobile

Mobile ecommerce sales topped $2.2 trillion in 2023 and make up roughly 60 percent of ecommerce sales globally. If you have an ecommerce website, you obviously want to give site visitors the best possible experience—especially when they’re browsing your website on a mobile browser.

Consider these essentials:

Responsive design—Your website has to be mobile-friendly and deliver a seamless experience whether visitors are on their desktops, tablets, or mobile phones. This is easy to do, as all the best ecommerce platforms have integrated ways for you to view and test your site across all device types.

Fast loading speed—Site speed is critical. For years, Google search results have penalized sites with slow loading speeds. Meanwhile, for every second faster your site loads, conversion rates increase by 17 percent. You can make sure your site is as fast as possible by optimizing images, coding efficiently, and using CDNs (content delivery networks).

Easy navigation—Make sure your site is easy to navigate, especially on mobile. Ecommerce sites should have both the search function and shopping cart link in prominent places that are easy to see at all times, no matter how much scrolling a mobile viewer does. Skip unnecessary designs and texts so you can focus on the essentials.

Ulta Beauty does a great job of this, putting both the search and shopping cart icons at the top of its mobile landing page.

Ulta Memorial Day Sale email

Offer Diverse Payment Options

People love options, especially when it’s time for checkout on your ecommerce site. Not everyone wants to provide sensitive credit card information to make an online purchase, especially when they’re trying to buy on a mobile device.

This is where digital wallets and one-click checkouts come in again. Prospective buyers are often more comfortable using services like Apple Pay, PayPal, Google Pay, or Samsung Pay to finalize an online purchase. The transaction is fast and secure, and the purchase is completed with a single tap on the screen. Customers also don’t have to type in a 16-digit credit card number, expiration date, and security code on their mobile device.

Etsy is a good example of an ecommerce site that leverages the power of digital wallets to make the shopping experience easier for its customers. With options like Apple Pay, PayPal, and Google Pay, shoppers never have to provide credit card information at all.

Etsy shopping cart page

Use SMS Marketing

Don’t underestimate SMS as a viable marketing channel for reaching customers. People have their mobile devices with them practically all the time and are quick to check when new messages arrive.

You can use SMS messaging in a variety of ways, and all of it can be automated. SMS messaging is especially good for:

  • Customer engagement—Send loyalty program updates, surveys, and personalized messages. The ease of clicking on a link embedded in an SMS message increases customer responses compared to other means of outreach.
  • Promotions—Send a quick SMS that includes images and a link so you can quickly spread the word about deals, special offers, and lightning sales.
  • Customer service—Keep customers updated on orders right away. You can send order confirmations, shipping updates, and tracking information with links to help them stay informed. 

The online furniture retailer Nathan James has a strong SMS marketing program. 

Nathan James SMS text

While SMS marketing can be a powerful tool, don’t implement it without a solid opt-in and opt-out procedure for customers to receive or stop receiving your messages. If you just start blasting away, customers can look down upon your brand for invading their privacy—and it’s also illegal under the TCPA. 

Finally, be mindful of how often you do SMS outreach. Bombarding a customer with daily SMS messages, even when they opted in, can be a quick way to get them to opt out. You’ve not only annoyed them but perhaps lost them as a customer altogether.

Follow a Mobile-First Email Marketing Strategy

When you’re optimizing your ecommerce experience for mobile devices, don’t forget about your email campaigns.

You want all of your email correspondence to be responsive, just like your website. Make sure the design looks as good on a phone or tablet as it does in the recipient’s desktop inbox. This includes making your CTA links (or buttons) easily identifiable and keeping the text concise.

Also, make sure you resist the urge to include data-intensive images in your emails or add attachments that could be caught by spam filters. A simple and streamlined design that you’ve tested on an actual mobile device is your best bet for a mobile-friendly email experience.

Integrate Your Social Channels

If you have profiles on the major social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, include links to these channels on your mobile-friendly ecommerce website. Most social media shopping is done on a mobile device.

Once you have your profiles live, start selling. Social ecommerce revenues topped $570 billion in 2023 and are expected to exceed $1 trillion by 2028. That’s a lot of social shopping, and you want to be part of it.

There are two ways to leverage social media to grow your ecommerce brand:

  • Shoppable posts—Set up your Instagram Shop, TikTok Shop, or Facebook Shop, then create posts and stories that have embedded links to the featured products within the images themselves. Prospective buyers can follow the links and purchase products directly in the social app.
  • Social proof—Encourage your customers to share their purchases and review products on their own social media accounts. One way of doing this is to ask customers to tag your brand or use a particular hashtag in any posts they make containing your products. People are often influenced to make their own purchases by what their friends and family share on social media.

Upgrade Your Customer Support

Keeping customers satisfied is a big part of building loyalty and increasing the likelihood of repeat purchases. Mobile-friendly technology is a way to deliver top-notch customer service with features like the following:

  • Chatbots—Customers tend to have the same questions about similar purchases. You can use chatbots on your mobile-friendly website to provide automated responses to common inquiries and to guide shoppers through their journey from browsing to buying.
  • Live chat—Not every customer will ask your chatbot a common question. Giving these customers a way of receiving real-time responses from a live agent could be the difference between making a purchase and leaving the site.

Start a Loyalty Program

Loyalty programs are a great way to build customer relationships. Starbucks understands this and has designed its own system to maximize customer attention and loyalty.

Whether you use the Starbucks mobile app or visit the website in a browser, you can access your Starbucks account, join exclusive promotions, and use your accumulated stars to purchase things. Starbucks has also gamified the loyalty program by creating games and time-sensitive promotions that let members earn extra “stars” or loyalty points.

Starbucks Rewards page

Note that the Starbucks loyalty program is fully accessible and manageable from a mobile browser, so you don’t need to download the Starbucks app. Building your own loyalty program to be as good as this one can help drive up additional sales and bring back repeat customers.

Create an Exceptional User Experience

If you don’t have a native app, you want your mobile website experience to be as effortless for visitors as it would be if they were using an app anyway. 

This includes making sure your site has a touch-friendly design. For example, all buttons and interactive elements should be big and far enough apart so that tapping the screen delivers the expected result.

You also want to make sure that all forms and checkout processes are as simple as possible. The fewer pages a customer has to navigate and the fewer fields they need to fill in, the better. 

The goal of creating an exceptional user experience is to make your site as enjoyable and stress-free to navigate on a mobile device. If you’re successful, more people will be willing to make a purchase and your business can grow.

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