Mobile devices are something no modern person can imagine their life without. Wherever you look there’s someone with a mobile phone or tablet almost glued to their hand. Whether they are scrolling through a social network, listening to music or looking for the next place to eat lunch. It’s all as simple as tapping a screen.
This simple and easy access is also one of the key elements of the exponential growth of e-commerce. In fact 58.9% of all e-commerce sales worldwide were completed via mobile devices in 2017. To put it into a monetary perspective, that’s over 800 billion dollars. And experts estimate that number to go up three-fold over the coming years.
So how do you prepare for this influx of new and returning customers over their mobile devices? As I mentioned above, an e-commerce store built with mobile users in mind should be easy to access and easy to use. To achieve this, there are at least a couple of things you should take care of.
Hosting an e-commerce store requires computing power, bandwidth and storage space. If you’re using a shared hosting plan for your store, it might be time to upgrade. This will ensure a more stable server with less downtime and more space for your databases.
A VPS server, while customisable, requires someone with good coding knowledge to set up and use. If you lack these skills, you will have to hire someone to do the job for you. VPS does have a high level of performance, but it might be affected by other sites that use the same physical machine. In general, VPS is great if you have outgrown your shared hosting plan and want to expand. You will face some limitations along the way though.
Cloud Hosting works in a similar way as VPS. Except it divides the resources for your server into several different physical machines. While it doesn’t allow as much customisation options as VPS, it does have near unlimited possibilities when it comes to scaling. This fact alone means you would be able to increase your server’s power to meet the influx of traffic head on.
Security is another very important factor for e-commerce. While more secure than any shared hosting plan, both options do have some drawbacks. VPS operates separate from other users on the same physical network. Yet shoddy security of another user on the same physical server might put your own data at risk. As mentioned before, cloud hosting splits the resources between physical machines. This makes them a target for attacks like DDoS (deliberate denial of service). However, there are tools like Cloudflare to prevent these as well.
Gone are the times of dial-up connections and scary sounds coming out of your computer when it’s connecting to the internet. Nowadays it’s all about how quick you can reach the information you seek on the website that holds it. The same applies to any online store. Getting on and buying the item you want or need within as small a window of time as possible is vital.
There are two things to consider when talking about speed of your website. Especially for mobile devices, as consumers use them on the go. Except unlike the previous part, these are not options, but must-haves.
Page load time might seem irrelevant for the uninitiated. Still, it has a direct effect on both bounce back rates and stress levels of the user. Sure, the page load time depends on the users’ mobile providers and quality of the connection. Studies like the 2016 Ericsson Mobility report provide valuable insights. The report says people experiencing mobile delays tend to blame the content provider. The same study also revealed that mobile delay can increase the stress levels in consumers.
Making your website mobile device friendly is the second part of the speed equation. Let’s face it, no one wants to try and navigate a standard desktop website on a 4 inch screen. Some of us can’t even hit the right button on our phones’ keyboards on the first try. Not to mention a tiny button in the middle of three similar ones.
This is important for many reasons. Improved user experience and retention just to name a couple higher priority ones. Besides, having a website designed for mobile phones increases your SEO. More organic traffic in the long run means more transactions as well. All you have to do is lock down these two parts of the speed equation. Once you’re done, your site will accommodate even the pickiest consumer.
Mobile transactions in e-commerce are growing fast. It’s clear that it’s not the ‘next big thing’ in online sales anymore. It’s starting to look a lot like the next step instead, and it’s here to stay. Some larger web stores have noticed these trends earlier. They are already prepared to take on whatever the mobile device users throw at them.
There are more ways to prepare yourself for the upcoming wave of new and returning mobile visitors. A visual redesign, discounts or special offers are a few of the options. Like a brick and mortar store down the street, an online store needs a good backbone. For e-commerce it’s a stable server and a beautiful eye catching website to browse. Keep these things in mind. They can and will increase conversion rates and time spent in your store. And if you keep it up, it will lead you to more profit and more possibilities to grow.
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