ULTRACART Ecommerce Articles



Mobile Shopping Carts: They're Not Just For Early Adopters Anymore


Mobile devices boast the ability to keep people and their ideas connected. This promise has enticed millions of people each year to revere these devices as essentials, thus demanding online businesses adapt their websites to meet the mobile market. Instead of making online purchases strictly from a home desktop, mobile devices allow users to browse the web while they are riding a train to work, eating out, or sitting in a doctor's waiting room. This convenience is an exciting shift for eCommerce retailers, and those who want to maintain competition will adapt their websites to meet consumers who use mobile shopping carts.


Don't think you need a mobile version of your shopping cart? Tech research group Gartner predicts that by 2014, more people will reach websites via their phone than through personal computers. Comscore recently reported that nearly 7% of all internet traffic originates from either smartphones or tablet type devices, an increase of nearly 20% over the previous year. Further evidence for this need might come from retailers like hundred million dollar per year online bookseller Alibris who reported a 100 percent increase in their mobile sales after creating a mobile specific website, with a commensurate decrease in bounce rates.


Mobilizing Your Mobile Shopping Cart Effort


Companies can either seek out specific mobile application conversion platforms, or expand their sites themselves using more customized "ground up" approaches to meet the mobile demand. In the past, businesses commonly either didn't bother to change their websites, opting to simply leave mobile browsers to zoom, scroll and suffer with slow load times. Or they created separate websites for mobile users that were really just cumbersome versions of their desktop twins. But current mobile devices have device-specific browsing capabilities, galvanizing companies to rethink their mobile strategies. So what are the key considerations when designing mobile shopping cart versions?


Business Objectives


ven when targeting the tiny screen, online merchants still need to look at the big picture. For instance, what are the merchant's business objectives? To what audience does their product line appeal? With smaller screens to lure consumers, mobile sites will need to sharpen their advertising focus to deliver sales. Efficient Mobile media shopping carts are an inevitable add-on for any business wanting to maintain competition. Companies need to have a solid strategy to reach the mobile user which likely will have to go beyond a simple hook or gimmick, or just a mildly enhanced image of a product, the company's logo, or catchy text. Use of solid testing of different mobile formats with different potential users, studying demographic profiles of those who are visiting their sites (available from their website analytics) and carrying over what they have learned from other segmentation techniques in other mediums can help an online merchant decide upon what appeals they should employ in the mobile realm.


Data

Tracking software like Google Analytics makes recording website traffic relatively simple. Companies should take note of the size of their mobile audience and what types of devices are accessing their sites. Determining which devices are most likely to visit a site will help companies plan a mobile shopping cart version that best serves its broadest consumer group, i.e. smartphones versus tablets, etc. It will also help them understand what characteristics the user base has for potential other purposes like designing mobile applications.


Media Queries


Media queries are essential to any modern mobile media site design. In effect, media queries respond to not only the type of device being used, but also the specific screen size, and can tailor the formatting of a website to fit each user's mobile device.


Here's a typical media query, which typically has two main sections: 1. The media type (i.e. screen or other another option can include print) 2. The media feature (which can be one or more parameters such as the maximum width of a screen and the actual value such as 320 pixels).

In the above example, the query asks the device if the screen is equal to or less than 320 pixels in width. If the answer is "yes," or, in other words, if the device contains a smaller screen, like an iPhone, then the site will load with specifications appropriate to that environment. If not, the link is ignored. But media queries can check for a variety of style features beyond screen size. Basically, these conditionals address the variety of ways customers view websites. Businesses must use media queries to hone web viewing.


White Space


A website's white space speaks to consumers just like its text or pictures do. On a mobile device, the issue of white space is even more significant because there is less screen space to work with. Typically, white space should decrease with screen size. Some web pages may be revised for a mobile shopping cart launch by merely cutting white space so that the content fits tighter on the screen.


Column Layout


An important consideration for mobile shopping cart websites is how to convey a large amount of information in a small amount of space. Choosing a single-column layout with extendable and collapsible lists can really tidy up a webpage. These lists could be used for basic navigation on a homepage as a way to categorize information about products or to enhance the shopping experience with an easy-to-read mobile media shopping cart. Single-column layouts are also easier to access on touchscreens when moving between landscape and portrait modes.


Buttons


Mobile media eCommerce demands special navigation considerations. Ideally, websites should avoid the need to pinch or zoom, and instead opt for larger buttons. Companies should reexamine their links which may have been appropriate for desktop navigation with a mouse, but will cause the human finger some difficulty. Swift navigation delivers content efficiently and maintains user interest, combating shopping cart abandonment.


Feedback


Consumers are accustomed to receiving immediate feedback with each click of the mouse. Mobile media websites must maintain this expectation. For example, when a mobile shopping cart user touches a link, the button could change colors to indicate that a change is in progress. On the iPhone, white links turn blue after they are touched. Because many mobile users are familiar with this change, this style choice could be mimicked with success.


Testing


Finally, it is imperative to test a mobile website before its official launch. There are many tools available for checking to ensure everything meets a company's expectations. Some of these tools include mobiReady, W3C mobileOK Checker, iPad Peek, Opera Mini Simulator, Google Mobile Testing, and Test iPhone among others. These tools allow designers to insert their URLs and preview their content in mobile mode.


Mobile Media Shopping Cart Design Considerations


Websites must deliver a safe environment for eCommerce to thrive; therefore, businesses must take steps to avoid mobile media shopping cart abandonment. Mobile media designers should consider the same issues that lead to desktop shopping cart abandonment:

  • Naming a shopping cart something other than "shopping cart"
  • Including buttons that say "Buy" rather than "Add to shopping cart"
  • Providing no visual feedback when users add something to the cart
  • Requiring users to view the cart after each item has been added
  • Making it difficult for users to find the "Update cart" button
  • Requiring registration in order to add something to the cart
  • Requiring a user to type "0" in a quantity box in order to delete an item from the cart
  • Requiring a user to finish a purchase without showing a total including tax and shipping
  • Asking for demographical information before the purchase is made
  • Refusing to save the contents of the shopping cart

eCommerce companies should also consider purchasing shopping cart software which not only helps refine the shopping cart experience, but also provides a multitude of other security, design, and marketing tools to help jumpstart a mobile business. So it's a fact that the right approach to websites development can optimize the mobile media shopping cart experience. Ample resources exist to support any novice or professional desiring a mobile extension for a company. For example, if you are considering a mobile front end to your website, UltraCart's Pro Design Services department can extend the same environment to your front end, making a seamless user experience.