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Mobile Commerce Strategy: How eCommerce Brands are Building Mobile-first Experiences

Kaya Ismail • 08 December 2022

There are over 6 billion smartphone subscriptions worldwide. As an almost essential part of everyone’s lives, mobile devices should be one of the primary channels for any eCommerce store. With an ever-growing number of customers browsing for their favorite products and making purchases, having a mobile-focused commerce strategy is a priority.  

mobile commerce strategy

What Is Mobile Commerce?

Mobile commerce or m-commerce is any transaction that is completed via a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet. It is but another piece of the omnichannel puzzle where consumers now have the ability to shop on multiple channels and devices. Retail m-commerce sales are expected to reach $728.28 billion, accounting for 44.2% of all retail eCommerce sales in the US in 2025, according to Insider Intelligence


While mobile commerce is typically associated with transactions made on an eCommerce store, it also includes in-app purchases, mobile banking, mobile transfers, and any monetary transaction completed via a mobile device. 


There are three primary categories of mobile commerce: 

Mobile Shopping: Consumers can make purchases via their mobile devices rather than using a desktop. 


Mobile Banking: Online banking is done via a mobile device, usually through a dedicated app provided by a bank. 


Mobile Payments: Consumers can make purchases using digital wallets on their mobile devices, such as Android Pay or Apple Pay, which includes a feature that enables consumers to make a purchase and pay for it later, just as a credit card. 


Advantages of Mobile Commerce

Mobile commerce offers several advantages that explain why it continues to grow in popularity and warrants consideration from eCommerce store owners. 


Increased Market Opportunity

Mobile commerce provides a huge opportunity for businesses that are able to capitalize on it. By 2023, there will be almost 17 billion mobile devices on the planet, representing a tremendous market opportunity and one of the largest customer-facing channels available. When coupled with a large amount of mobile commerce sales already occurring, mobile can’t be ignored. 


More Payment Options

With digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Android Pay, Amazon Pay, and a host of other options, mobile commerce enables shoppers to quickly and easily pay for the items they’re interested in, often with one-click payment options for their favorite brands. 


Better Customer Experience

Mobile commerce improves the customer experience simply through the flexibility and freedom it provides. Shoppers can make purchases wherever they are. If a potential buyer comes across an item while on the train on their way home, they don’t need to wait until they get home to complete the purchase. Mobile devices also offer another opportunity for brands to personalize the customer experience with relevant content, for example, for people traveling to other countries who need to see products closer to them.  


Mobile-friendly vs. Mobile-first Experiences

For many eCommerce merchants, m-commerce might convince them that they only need to make their stores available on mobile devices, which often comes standard with platforms like Shopify. However, brands must go a step further and aim to create mobile-first experiences for their customers. 


But aren’t all eCommerce stores and marketing campaigns mobile-friendly? Sure, but there’s a difference between mobile-friendly and mobile-first.


Mobile-first means creating an experience primarily geared towards optimizing the experience on mobile devices. Users are accustomed to browsing social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok that provide mobile-first functionalities, fast loading, and smooth scrolling. Consequently, they expect a similar high-quality experience when browsing anywhere else using their phones, which means your eCommerce store. 



Advantages of Mobile-first Experiences

There are a few advantages of being mobile-first rather than just being mobile-friendly:

Improved User Experience

Focusing on being mobile-first has a positive impact on UX design. Brands can ensure that their eCommerce stores are optimized for the way customers already navigate apps on their mobile devices. It creates a consistent experience for customers that can entice them to spend longer on a store and boost customer loyalty. 


Better Conversions

Traditionally, the conversion rates on mobile devices are lower than desktops. Brands can improvise this conversion rate by optimizing for the mobile experience. More payment options available via mobile devices, additional checkout options even for guest accounts, and the mobile frontend experience can all help to improve these conversion rates dramatically. 


Increased Responsiveness

In today’s multichannel environment, optimization doesn’t end on a desktop. However, optimizing for mobile devices can improve the user experience and consequently improve conversions on other devices as well since mobile devices are traditionally harder to optimize for. 


Better Search Engine Rankings

Optimizing your eCommerce store for mobile devices can also improve search engine rankings since the mobile experience is a crucial consideration for Google. The search engine giant often leverages mobile-first indexing for ranking websites. While it isn’t a requirement, it is strongly recommended due to the fact the majority of consumers access Google from mobile. 


How to Implement a Mobile-first Strategy

Now that you understand why you need to consider a mobile-first approach let’s analyze how you can accomplish it. 


Mobile-friendly Live Chat

Brands can adopt mobile-friendly live chat and WhatsApp Business buttons to streamline the process of communicating with shoppers. Several countries around the world in Latin America and Europe, in particular, rely on WhatsApp almost exclusively, so optimizing for channels such as this further improves the user experience. 

Include Loyalty Programs 

Brands can introduce loyalty programs through custom mobile apps or progressive web apps (PWAs). These programs can further improve the user experience by rewarding them for their engagement on mobile. 


Leverage Headless Commerce

Building a mobile shopping experience with mobile commerce can be beneficial but also challenging. Through headless commerce, brands can connect to mobile devices, in-store shopping kiosks, and other channels to create an omnichannel ecosystem for their customers. 


Connect Frontend as a Service

Headless commerce can be challenging for some brands as they need to create new frontend experiences from scratch for these additional channels. With frontend as a service (FEaaS), those experiences are easier to build, regardless of the channel. Additionally, eCommerce merchants using Shopify can upgrade slow Shopify-powered shopping experiences by replacing Shopify themes for a FEaaS without losing the slick Shopify backend that manages the rest of the eCommerce functionality. 


Drive Mobile-first Shopping Experiences With Instant Commerce

A mobile commerce strategy powered by mobile-first shopping experiences can help brands to capitalize on one of the most popular customer channels today. However, for companies that lack developer resources or that want to make things easier for their development team and non-technical team members, front end as a service can be the best option to go mobile-first.


Instant Commerce’s frontend as a service solution helps eCommerce businesses to build their headless storefronts using a component-based approach. This user-friendly experience with pre-built blocks makes creating that frontend experience much faster and easier. Brands can increase conversions, lower developer dependency, and adopt a headless commerce approach. 


Ready to combine headless commerce and mobile commerce? Take a look at Shopify Speed Checklist: 6 Ways to Speed Up Your Shopify Store for ways to optimize the customer experience on mobile devices and other channels. 

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Author / Writer
Kaya Ismail
Content Marketer