Guest Blog Contributer: Helen Golubeva, Marketing Manager and Storyteller at X-Cart. 

X-Cart is an open-source PHP eCommerceshopping platform powering more than 38,000+ high-performing online stores in 111 countries. It is incomparably fast, 100% SEO/mobile-friendly, and easy to use. A wide range of services and 300+ extensions, built with unrivaled flexibility and extensibility in mind, allow businesses to customize their stores to their exact needs.

More than ever, people feel stressed when forced to stay away from mobile devices.

It’s hard to believe, but a staggering 75 percent of the US population bring their phones into the bathroom. Moreover, according to Mobile Consumer Habits Study, conducted by Harris Interactive, 12 percent  of them continue using mobiles even while taking a shower.

What does that all mean for e-commerce businesses? It means there has never been a better time to focus attention on mobile users.

Providing a compelling shopping experience, as well as keeping customers happy, can help increase mobile conversion rates and boost mobile sales.

In this definitive guide to mobile marketing, we’ll share seven tested techniques that should help improve mobile conversion rates and capitalize on mobile audience.

1. Get a mobile-friendly website.

On April 21, 2015, Google made a notable announcement about the new changes in its algorithm that was designed to give a boost to mobile-friendly pages in its mobile search results. That algorithm was also called ‘Mobilepocalypse,’ or ‘Mobilegeddon.’

As a result, Google penalized all non-mobile friendly websites and downranked nearly 50 percent  of the sites that took more than 30 seconds to load.

And if your e-commerce website is not optimized for mobile yet, it's not too late to revive it. Here are the three things that should be taken into account:

●      Responsive design. There is an ever-increasing number of mobile devices with various screen resolutions. Mobile-friendly sites are those that look beautiful on any device.

●      Browsing experience. According to SmartInsights, if a landing page is cluttered with pop-up banners and your page load times are over 1-5 seconds, mobile visitors are 90 percent more likely to bounce.

●      Mobile site performance should be improved. This can be done by moving to better hosting, enabling image compression, or implementing other techniques to boost speed.

However, a mobile-friendly design isn't the ultimate solution for giving users what they are looking for.

2. Take SEO into account.

Particular attention should be paid to search engine optimization (SEO) to help potential customers find your mobile site in Google.

The first thing that can be done is using Google’s mobile testing tool.

The tool is rather straightforward. It displays the list of issues that can affect the way Google understands the given e-commerce website.

Below is an example.

Optimizing titles and descriptions is another effective tool that should help improve positions in search engines. It’s important to use the keywords search engine users are looking for.

Such useful SEO tools as MozPro or SemRush should also give the insights on how the website’s search rankings can be improved.

Link building is another effective way that should help move mobile sites to the first page of Google search results. This strategy is used to earn backlinks from different authoritative sources. 

The more backlinks the site has, the higher the rankings.   

3. Improve the checkout user experience.

For e-commerce businesses, there’s no metric more meaningful than the checkout conversion rate.

Boosting conversion rates won’t be too troublesome if the right strategies are used to stop visitors from leaving your checkout page.

Here are the most potent tactics that won’t let buyers abandon your site without a purchase:

●      Checkout process should be simplified to a single step.

Simple easily understandable checkout process saves customers’ time, as there’s no need to reload the checkout page multiple of times to make a single purchase. As a result, it improves their shopping experience.

One-page checkout is available in X-Cart shopping cart platform by default, which means there’s no need to code anything.

Add a progress bar. If your shopping cart does not offer a one-page checkout experience, you can display visitors' progress through the checkout.

●      Make sure checkout looks friendly to mobile visitors.

●      Choose the right payment processing tool like Authorize.Net, for instance, that allows accepting payments from customers using mobile devices. When a purchase is made, shoppers are taken to a secure hosted payment form (PCI DSS compliant) to enter credit card information.

●      Use guest checkout. Attract registrations without creating a barrier to checkout, but offer to save your shoppers’ personal information automatically after the purchase is fulfilled.

The flawless checkout process is like conversion optimization elixir that can dramatically improve mobile experience and raise conversion rates.

4. Use SMS and Push Notifications

SMS messaging and push notifications should not be underestimated. Done right, both can exponentially increase mobile conversions.

Stats show that more than 90 percent of text messages are read within the first 3 minutes (Source: ImpigeMobileStrategy.com, 2011). Plus, SMS can boast a higher response rate than mobile advertising, which means text messages sent by businesses won’t be left unnoticed as well.

Speaking of push notifications, they might seem a bit complicated to get started with. And though Localytics’ 2015 report proves that 50 percent  of mobile app users find them annoying, they are still leaders in mobile marketing.

Another research, conducted by Localytics in 2014, shows that push notifications can boost engagement rates by as much as 88 percent.

5. Optimize for voice search

More and more people start using Google’s voice search to find the information in search engines, and that’s entirely explainable—it helps them save time and get things done on the go.

There are a couple of ideas that should help optimize your online store for voice search:

1.     Use structured data. Schema markup does not affect search engine rankings directly, but it can help website owners keep ahead of the competition providing their customers with immediate search results.

For example, the following markup displays contact information right on the search engine results page (SERP).  

2. Share relevant information about your location and claim your free Google My Business listing.

When people are looking for some local business, for example, a bakery near the corner, Google relies on their location and turns toward Google My Business listings.

So if a store’s name, address, and phone number are accurate, its listing will be displayed in search results.

6. Test it.

Without a thorough testing and quality assurance, even the top-notch software may  be full of issues.

If a new mobile-friendly product page design doesn’t work the way it is expected to, it is wise to apply another mobile template, also responsive but with a different layout.

The same goes for SMS, push notifications, checkout page, SEO strategy, and voice search.

Understanding what strategy works better should also help store owners boost their mobile sales.  

7. Make strategy cross-platform

According to Criteo Q4 2015 State of Mobile Commerce Report, 40% of transactions involve multiple devices. Your potential customers are likely to use more than one device, too, when browsing your mobile site.

It means that they can start making their purchases on an iPhone and end them in a brick and mortar store using a mobile point of sale.

A right solution for a business owner could be going omnichannel. This powerful strategy hasn’t been fully explored yet. However, it can help guarantee shoppers enjoy the seamless mobile experience.

To sum up

Implemented the right way, all the above techniques will help push mobile shoppers through the sales funnel toward while enabling fast checkout, which makes for happy customers who are hooked on your products.

To learn more, visit X-Cart.