Do you have a mobile optimised site? If the answer is no, then how long can you continue to ignore the lost opportunity as customer preferences shift? And are you interested in maximising the volume of customers who visit this site?

Optimising the Mobile Journey is no longer optional…

Mobile email stats

There is a proliferation of stats at the moment showing how important the role of mobile is in the customer ‘journey’.

As Graham Charlton of the Econsultancy manor reports, The Email Marketing Census from Econsultancy found that 88% of UK individuals view their emails on a mobile device but just 39% of business did not have a strategy for this.

We cannot ignore this… there is no obvious reason to my knowledge why this growth will not continue unabated.

With this being the case, the obvious message these stats deliver is that mobile customer journeys must be adopted and optimised to ensure that business is not lost to the competition.

The vast majority of e-commerce sites track and analyse customer journeys, and the ‘mobile journey’ should be no different.

Do you have a mobile optimised site?

If the answer is no, then how long can you continue to ignore the lost opportunity? I would argue even if you don’t have an optimised site, it’s important to at least get the email side correct, to ensure that you are getting the maximium number of customers and prospects to your site.

1. Knowledge

First and foremost, who are your mobile browsers? You cannot optimise your email marketing without first understanding who your mobile browsers are.

Thankfully, this is a straightforward addition to your segmentation schema and a valuable one, and can be provided by your ESP who has this data in the feedback information from the ISPs.

Build these segments into your database, but don’t do it on a one-time only basis. Build this as a standard feedback file because you don’t want to make the school-boy error of assuming that customers always behave in the same way.

Static segmentation is a thing of the past, your segmentation needs to be up to date, and needs to inform you not only if your email is ‘always’ or ‘never’ viewed on mobile, but what the usual method of viewing is and what the last action was.

2. Understanding

Marketers need to understand the motivation of mobile browsers, and the only way to do this is through research. There are obvious differences in behaviour related to email. For instance, the attention span of a mobile browser is shorter, users tend to ‘triage’ emails on their mobile, mobile users seem to react to more specific information.

But why, and what do your customers want from their mobile journey? Once you have your segmentation in place, survey those customers who utilise mobile handsets on a regular basis and back this up with data on drop off points and bottle necks in the process.

3. Structure

The first and most obvious consideration for a mobile journey is the size of the screen. On mobile devices the user is unable to interact with a desktop designed website with as much control. 

Their eyes are strained when reading the content and finding the all-important calls to action. So they need to zoom in – which solves the immediate problem but then introduces another one – navigating an email, or later in the journey a web pagewith tunnel vision – when you can only see a small portion of the screen at the same time. 

This makes it difficult to fill in long forms and almost impossible when form fields are spread across more than one column. Again, locating the calls to action is then a process of illumination “I’ve looked down there and can’t find it, let’s now try looking to the right!”.

4. Interaction

The way users interact through touch rather than pointing with a mouse has obvious implications if your email and webpages rely on too much “mouse-over” behaviour. 

Many retail websites out there make it very difficult for mobile users to zoom in and see the high definition images in close-up, as this functionality often relies only on mouse-over. 

A good accessible website of course allows you to access functionality like this by clicking or tapping as well. Also a pointing device is a lot more accurate and so clicking on smallish links is not a real problem, whereas on a mobile device it can be a nightmare. 

We see this so called “fat thumb” syndrome cause havoc with users in our mobile usability testing sessions! 

5. Context

Finally, the way customers and prospects behave will be totally different when casually browsing from the comfort of the sofa on a mobile device compared to quickly buying that item of clothing during their lunch break at work, or walking along the high street and in the stores checking out prices on mobile

The user’s frame of mind is very different when using a mobile to using desktop versions of email communications and websites. Motivations, aspirations, levels of trust differ.  

Our research has shown how mobile users are more wary of security issues when accessing websites on the move and less likely to enter credit card details, but more likely to pay by Paypal. This is due to security fears around 3G networks or free wireless networks outside of their home.

Hence, the message from our research and the customers we work with on mobile journeys draws us to the conclusion that mobile journeys are both increasingly relevant but also completely different from the perspective of not simply structure and rendering but also customer motivation and requirements.

It is time all good e-commerce businesses properly split out mobile browsers and considered their needs and requirements. After all, not to do so is effectively leaving cash on the table for your competitors.