Mobile is booming. Chances are that, if you’re shopping online in 2012, increasingly you’ll be carrying out part of the transaction on a mobile device.

The majority of smartphone users are now using a mobile device to browse and shop online while, in the UK, 5m tablet owners are expected to purchase a second device in 2012.

IHS screen digest recently released research predicting that in-app purchases will hit £3.6 billion in 2015, accounting for as much as 64% of mobile app market revenues. 

So one thing is clear: if optimising your mobile channel isn’t high on your list of priorities in 2012, it really should be.

Steps towards a better mobile customer experience in 2012

Any company not carefully managing its m-commerce channel in 2012 will risk losing out to more tech savvy competitors.

Mobile is a convenience channel. We are increasingly using mobile devices because it’s quicker and easier than using the web on a desktop or laptop.

But, because of this, as soon as a mobile transaction gets complicated, we’re more likely to lose patience and go elsewhere. So the fundamental focus for etailers looking to capitalise on mobile must be a watertight mobile customer experience strategy.

Here are my top five tips to get you started:

1. Focus on ease of use

There’s a huge opportunity for online retailers to make ease of use a competitive advantage, both for mobile sites or apps.

With limited space on a mobile phone screen, retailers must ensure customers have the necessary context to easily navigate the purchase path on a mobile device. 

2. Listen up

Consumers have more ways than ever of sharing feelings about a brand and the customer experience with their friends, family and wider online community.

From negative reviews in the app store to posts on Twitter and Facebook, customer feedback will shape the purchase decisions of other potential buyers.

In the mobile space, retailers need to be open to learning and optimising based on customer feedback.

3. Buck the trend

In 2012, retailers need to move away from chasing the latest trend to making changes to their online channels that will help customers through the final stages of the booking funnel.

Think of the impact on the customer’s online journey before opting for complex processes and always consider a mobile service from the customer’s perspective. This could be something as simple as implementing forms that shift orientation from vertical to horizontal in order to enable easier data entry.

4. Understand that the mobile channel is different

To ensure customers become evangelists instead of naysayers, retailers need a clearunderstanding of the reality of the mobile experience they provide. They need to uncover the sources of customer struggle and quickly remedy them before additional users are affected.

Remember, mobile devices lead to new behaviours, such as like rotating screens, swiping and ‘pinching’ to adjust screen view.

5. Take your time

As shoppers are turning to mobile channels in droves, many retailers are rushing to release mobile services, rather than first ensuring they’re providing productive and satisfying mobile experiences to their customers.

When mapping out mobile priorities for this year, retailers should take a proactive approach to confronting customer struggles across this rapidly growing channel.

M-commerce in 2012

As more and more consumers adopt a multi-device, multichannel approach to researching and purchasing online, it’s essential to deliver a seamless mobile customer experience.

M-commerce is not ‘the next big thing’, it’s already an established trend in online retailing that’s set to change how consumers approach online shopping.