When to create a mobile website for mobile commerce.

Aug 21 2018 | PayPal editorial staff

With the skyrocketing popularity of smartphones and tablets, it only makes sense to create a mobile website for your business. Read this article to learn where to start, and how to start with mobile commerce.
Mobile key facts:
  • Mobile devices are growing in popularity and will likely overtake wired computers in the future for most purposes.
  • To reach mobile shoppers, you must optimize your mobile website for faster load times, easier viewing, and smoother navigation.
  • There are three levels in the mobile maturity curve: beginner, intermediate, and pro.
  • Beginners have not yet optimized their sites or payment processes, intermediates have streamlined their sites but not their payment processes, and pros have optimized both, often with the help of mobile payment solutions like those offered by PayPal.
  • PayPal makes mobile-optimized payments easy with Mobile Express Checkout, Mobile PayPal Payments Standard, and PayPal Here.
  • PayPal provides you with the necessary tools to streamline your checkout flows with little effort on your part.

Where Do You Fit in the Mobile Maturity Curve?
With the skyrocketing popularity of smartphones and tablets, it only makes sense that businesses are prepared to accommodate mobile shoppers. Some businesses are ahead of the curve, with streamlined mobile websites that offer intuitive interfaces and smooth checkout experiences. 
On the other end of the spectrum are companies that don’t know where to start, or aren’t even sure they need mobile commerce capabilities. And in between are those who know the importance of working with mobile shoppers and have started to make some changes, but aren’t quite working at full capacity.
So where do you fit in? Read on for an in-depth look at mobile commerce, the stages of implementation, and how PayPal can help bring you up to speed.
Mobile commerce breakdown.
At its most basic level, mobile commerce is using a mobile device, such as a tablet or smartphone, to complete a transaction – whether buying or selling, either online or in person. Mobile commerce also includes letting a shopper use his or her mobile device to compare prices. So, a commuter purchasing a new dishwasher on the morning train, a farmer accepting a payment on her smartphone at the local farmer’s market, and a Web developer comparing prices on new computers are all examples of mobile commerce.
To get ready for mobile commerce, you should make the mobile shopping process as easy as possible for both you and your customers. This means optimizing your website for mobile viewing and streamlining the payment process, among other things.
You don’t have to jump in all at once, though. Let’s take a look at the various stages of mobile commerce implementation.
From newbie to pro.
Not everyone is a mobile commerce pro right from the get-go. But you have to start somewhere, right? Let’s work our way up from the beginning.
  • The newbie stage. If you’re a small business just starting out, you might think that mobile commerce doesn’t apply to you. Maybe you assume that your customers aren’t likely to shop via their mobile devices. However, there’s a lot of research out there that suggests otherwise – according to a 2012 study from comScore, 50% of people who own smartphones have used the devices to shop online, and the same is true of 62% of those who own tablets.1 The interest is out there, so you need to be ready for it.
  • At the very least, as a mobile commerce newbie, you need to make sure your website can be accessed by smartphones and tablets. However, even if your website is viewable on mobile devices, if it isn’t optimized for those devices, it can be sluggish to load and difficult to navigate. It may require lots of zooming or scrolling, and the buttons and links may be too small to tap on a touchscreen.
  • According to a 2011 Harris Interactive survey, 85% of customers expect the mobile shopping experience to be as good as shopping on a computer.2 If a website is hard to get around on a mobile device, potential customers simply just aren’t going to do it – in fact, 75% of smartphone shoppers never get past the first page of any site that’s not optimized for mobile.2 That means missed sales, or even lost customers to competitors who have more intuitive mobile sites. You can still make sales on your non-optimized site, but it will be more difficult for your customer and may prevent future repeat business. You can prevent this by implementing a mobile-optimized site, which will bring you to the intermediate stage of mobile commerce. 
  • The intermediate stage. Businesses in the intermediate stage generally have mobile-optimized sites, but their checkout process is still cumbersome. Users can navigate the mobile site easily – the buttons are big enough to tap, the pages load quickly and they’re free of clutter, and it’s easy to navigate from section to section. The ease of navigation means customers are far more likely to visit your site when they want to do some online shopping via their mobile devices.
  • However, if your checkout process is still slow or inconvenient, there’s still more you can do to improve. Your customers may be able to browse your inventory more quickly and easily, but checking out and paying for your products might still be difficult unless you implement an intuitive payment method, such as PayPal Mobile Express Checkout or the mobile version of PayPal Payments Standard. Adding in this capability bumps you up to the pro stage.
  • The pro stage. Your mobile site is quick and nimble, and with the help of mobile payment options like those offered by PayPal, your customers can check out and pay with ease. And now that your site is streamlined and easy to use, you can start branching out to other capabilities, such as custom apps or conversion tracking.
The key to a successful mobile commerce site, though, is the payment process, and PayPal can help make it intuitive and easy for your customers.
PayPal makes it simple.
PayPal’s mobile payment solutions can be implemented easily, just as they work on the full website, with little effort required on your part beyond adding a few lines of code. We’ve optimized our payment offerings so that they recognize what type of device the customer is using and adjust the appearance to match the device specifications.
If you’re already using PayPal to accept payments online, you won’t be charged anything extra to use the mobile versions of PayPal Express Checkout and PayPal Payments Standard. And you won’t have to re-integrate the products. PayPal can help you with the nitty-gritty of getting the applications to recognize devices and display versions that are optimized for specific devices. Our goal is to make it as easy as possible for you – just leave the legwork to us.
To customers, the mobile payment option will look the same as it does on your full site, and will be just as easy to use. PayPal’s Mobile Express Checkout is optimized for smaller mobile screens and keyboards, and you can choose to have your customers pay on your site or via PayPal directly. They’ll also have the option to enter their billing information in order to pay by credit or debit card.
If you conduct in-person sales, such as at trade shows or farmer’s markets, you can also use PayPal Here, which uses an encrypted card reader that plugs into a smartphone to process payments. You simply swipe your customer’s card through the reader and you can process the payment from anywhere.
Get on the mobile bandwagon.
Mobile devices are here to stay, and will likely become more popular than their wired counterparts sooner than you think. Getting your business ready for mobile commerce now can get you ahead of the curve, and PayPal is there to help.

The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

1 “The Multi-Device Mobile Shopper,” comScore, June 2012.
2 “Improving the Customer Experience for Mobile Consumers,” Harris Interactive, February 2011. Commissioned by Tealeaf.

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