Mobile Commerce Strategy: A Case for Responsive Design

If you are like most B2B organizations, you may question whether mobile commerce is applicable to your business model and, if so, how it can be best used to drive results. Don't miss the complimentary white paper that explains how mobile commerce affects your B2B business and steps you can take now to integrate it with your existing site. Learn how to choose the right mobile commerce format, incorporate responsive design, and prepare content for optimal results that help you position your business for strong growth over the coming years.

MOBILE COMMERCE STRATEGY: A Case for Responsive Design 110 North 5th Street, 8th Floor Minneapolis, MN 55403 1.866.746.0377 612.367.8600 INSITE SOFTWARE: ECOMMERCE STRATEGY CONSULTING COPYRIGHT © 2013 INSITE SOFTWARE / P 866.747.0377 / WWW.INSITESOFT.COM2 INTRODUCTION Around the world, mobile commerce continues to grow as online merchants recognize the power that it brings to a comprehensive Commerce strategy. published research by Forrester Research, Inc. that estimates by the year 2016, mobile purchases made on smart phones will total $31 billion dollars, up from $10 billion in 2012. Additional growth potential within mobile commerce may be possible as this estimate does not appear to take purchases made on tablet devices into account. As more and more people transition to having smart phones in their pockets and tablet devices in their bags at all times, mobile commerce presents business-to-business (B2B) organizations with a clear way to drive sales growth. Without a functional mobile commerce strategy as a component of an overall Commerce initiative, manufacturers and distributors are likely to lose an increasing number of sales to mobile-optimized competitors in the coming years. With this in mind, it is essential that B2B organizations develop and deploy a comprehensive mobile commerce strategy sooner rather than later. WHY MOBILE COMMERCE MATTERS If you are wondering what drives an individual to purchase using their smart phone or tablet device and why mobile matters for B2B organizations, you aren’t alone. Most B2B organizations question whether mobile commerce is applicable to their business model and, if so, how it can best be used to drive results. Internet Retailer found that the top four reasons that consumers buy via mobile commerce include on-the- go convenience (63%), availability of special offers and coupons (52%), finding the best deal (48%) and product not available in stores (41%) (Source: InternetRetailer. com) What does this mean for B2B organizations that sell their products via eCommerce? Let’s look at each of the cited reasons individually. • On-the-go-convenience. The number one reason that online shoppers pick up a mobile device to make a purchase is the at-the-fingertips convenience that mobile commerce provides them. 43% of US mobile phone users already own a web-enabled smart phone and 58% of all new phones sold today are smart phones (Source: Coupled with the fact that tablet PC and iPad sales are climbing, these statistics indicate that a sizeable number of consumers effectively have a computer in their pocket or bag at all times. The widespread availability of these devices and their steadily increasing market penetration suggests that more and more business and personal purchases will be made on them. In addition, a B2B organization’s salesforce can effectively utilize mobile commerce to drive sales and engage with customers while in the field by providing immediate feedback on pricing, shipment status or order history. As mobile purchases increase, companies without mobile-optimized sites are likely to lose business to competitors that are able to meet today’s mobile buyer’s needs. • Available special offers and coupons. Shoppers love a good deal, regardless of whether the purchase is for business or personal use, and in today’s economy, businesses are paying an increasing amount of attention to ways that they can cut costs. Online purchasing offers B2B organizations a significant way to save money via lower purchase prices, and in some cases, avoid state sales tax. Organizations that leverage the online shopper’s drive for an exceptional deal with special incentives, offers, and coupons will experience a greater channel adoption rate. • Easy to compare prices and find the best deal. On-the-fly price comparison is one of the most powerful consumer-focused benefits of mobile commerce. In today’s eCommerce driven society, a person can be standing in a shoe store wearing a specific make and model of shoe and use a smart phone or tablet PC to check pricing online and purchase the same shoes—often for less. With this phenomenon in play, those B2B organizations with physical store locations must remain cognizant COPYRIGHT © 2013 INSITE SOFTWARE / P 866.747.0377 / WWW.INSITESOFT.COM3 of how competitors such as or Google Shopping for Suppliers are promoting and pricing the same or like products. Likewise, it may be necessary to take specific actions such as email promotions or guaranteed pricing to ensure that as few sales as possible go to a competitor. Even if it doesn’t appear to be the case now, B2B organizations are cautioned that their current customers are indeed shopping online. They must take steps now if they wish to remain relevant and avoid the “showrooming” phenomenon that shook some B2C companies. Products not available in-store. In a day and age when nearly every consumer has ready access to a mobile device capable of facilitating mobile commerce, it is essential that an organization’s in- store and online strategies consistently focus on the customer. Organizations with local stores or dealer locations where a customer might be left stranded while searching for a specific product should consider utilizing in-store signage that directs customers to an online site for obscure or out-of-stock products. If an organization only sells its products online, it should make sure that its website site is optimized to pull up when a shopper searches for a competitor’s products to secure any “stranded customer” sales that arise from the competition’s showroom. Mobile commerce adoption is growing and shows no signs of stopping anytime soon. B2B organizations with active Commerce initiatives need to think about how mobile commerce will affect their businesses—positively or negatively—as it certainly will. CHOOSING A MOBILE COMMERCE FORMAT While mobile commerce requires a web presence and works in concert with a traditional eCommerce site, it is important to recognize that having an Commerce strategy does not replace the need for a comprehensive mobile commerce strategy. Mobile commerce has unique requirements that must be addressed if an organization is to experience any success in the channel. By far the largest strategic mobile commerce question that an organization faces is whether to: • Invest in responsive design; a technique that uses a singe code base and a single set of web content that detects the screen size of the device that is requesting the page and delivers the page optimized to fit the screen. • Build a device-specific mobile application such as one for the Android or iPhone platforms. • Build mobile sites for each major mobile device platform individually using browser specific requirements. While each of these mobile commerce strategies can be effective, building platform-specific applications and developing browser-specific versions of a traditional website can result in a higher total cost of ownership over the life of the project. By comparison, a responsively designed site ensures that the greatest number of mobile users will be accommodated automatically and is the most cost-effective solution in the long run. Technology is continuously evolving. The applications, devices and browsers that are popular today are not likely to be the same applications, devices and browsers that will be popular six months from now. Optimizing a commerce site to automatically recognize a visitor’s mobile device ensures that they get the information they need in a format that works on the device they are using. Additionally, once an organization’s commerce site is optimized for the various mobile browsers, additional browsers can be added and changes can be made to the necessary code in one central location rather than in disparate applications or mobile sites. While this is not the least expensive option, optimizing a traditional website to recognize various mobile browsers and serve up the most appropriate content automatically is the solution that is most likely to ensure mobile commerce success. RESPONSIVE DESIGN TO OPTIMIZE YOUR ECOMMERCE SITE FOR MOBILE Mobile commerce requires more than a smaller version of an organization’s traditional eCommerce site. To be successful, mobile commerce demands a unique site design, page format, and way of presenting product content that works well within the confines of mobile devices. It must also take into account the shortened attention span of the mobile consumer. Once a mobile commerce-optimized eCommerce platform is selected, there are three key guidelines to consider for mobile site success: COPYRIGHT © 2013 INSITE SOFTWARE / P 866.747.0377 / WWW.INSITESOFT.COM4 • Provide “miniaturized” content. Mobile commerce’s smaller format demands that an organization reconsider eCommerce content before deploying a mobile site in order to assure maximum effectiveness.On-the-go mobile users demand immediate access to the most essential information, so break site content into small, digestible chunks. Headlines and calls to action should be powerful and concise. Supporting copy should cut to the chase and provide the best information up front. Limit page length to avoid forcing mobile site visitors to scroll down too far on their small screen. • Make it easy to use. Human beings tend to over engineer their creations with the idea that if a little of something is good, a lot of it must be better. Mobile commerce is no exception. Considering the small screen format of the average mobile device and the diminishing attention span of the average mobile device user, a simple and highly intuitive user interface is essential for mobile commerce success. Overall site design, including specifics such as look and feel, images, color scheme, and font choice; and site functionality such as navigational structure and how buttons and menus function should be understated and easy to use. On-site processes, such as adding items to a cart and checking out should be reviewed and streamlined to make the mobile commerce shopping experience as simple as possible. • Include essential links. Mobile commerce is most effective when a site is automatically served up in the most appropriate format for the mobile device being used. That said, there are also times when a site visitor might wish to bypass the mobile optimized site and view the traditional site instead, in spite of the small screen format. Consider hyper linking from a mobile site to the corresponding traditional site from the bottom of each mobile site page. Likewise, consider including a direct link to support in the same spot. THE TAKE AWAY As companies quickly evolve to include mobile commerce as a part of their overall Commerce strategy, taking into consideration the long-term cost of ownership of the approach is a very important assessment. Adopting a single platform that supports multiple sites using responsive design is a recommended consideration. Without an integrated mobile commerce strategy that compliments traditional Commerce, B2B organizations risk losing sales to mobile commerce optimized competitors in the coming years. Putting a strategic mobile commerce strategy in place now ensures they will secure industry leader status as well as position them for strong growth over the coming years. ABOUT INSITE SOFTWARE Insite Software is the leading eCommerce and shipping platform provider for manufacturers and distributors requiring B2B, B2C, and mobile solutions. Approaching 1,000 customers globally, InsiteCommerce™ is used by many leading companies for end-to-end eCommerce across their dealers, franchisers, stores, contractors, consumers, and others. Many of Insite’s customers also leverage InsiteShip™, which is an internationally enabled supply chain shipping solution to gain efficiencies in shipping and delivery of products. Both enterprise offerings are fully integrated with the leading ERP, content management and many other cloud platforms. Learn more at and connect with us via Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.