“e-Commerce” may be starting to sound like a tired buzz word, but make no mistake: the growth of online sales is nothing to take lightly, even in the aftermarket parts sector. As the data comes in for the past year’s sales, we’re getting a better picture of how the online marketplace is changing. More than ever, buyers are turning to online tools to help with shopping, whether they’re ordering items at home, on the go, or even making decisions inside a store. Most of that growth has centered around smartphones, making it more important than ever to have a solid mobile presence.
In the past year, the biggest growth area in e-commerce has been focused squarely on growth through mobile devices. There are over 125 million smartphone users in the United States, and 62% of these people have made online purchases from their phones in the last six months. What does that translate to for overall sales? Last holiday season, shoppers used smartphones for 1/3 of all online purchases.
For those businesses with a physical location, e-commerce is still important. Last year, 40% of sales for Black Friday at brick and mortar stores came from online sales. Even when buyers are coming to your stores to buy, over 80% used smartphones in-store to look up product information and reviews or to search for other locations where they can find the products they need.
What happens when these users shop from their phones? 40% of users will go to a competitor if they have a bad mobile experience, yet a whopping 84% will still have problems completing transactions. If your company can get its e-commerce system working right, this gives you a massive opportunity to both retain current customers and gain new ones.
How do you increase your e-commerce presence? You need a complete system that works well on mobile devices without ignoring users on traditional computers. Start by making your digital marketing mobile friendly: ads should be visible on small screens, and they should point to your mobile website. Geotargeting lets you advertise based on the phone’s location, so you focus ads on people who are likely to need your services or those who are near a store. Also, don’t forget that data is limited: having a solid image or text description to lead a video is more likely to get a view than the video by itself.
Once the customer is on your site, make sure your phone number is written in plain text, preferably using the “tel” HTML tag. This tag lets the smartphone recognize it as a telephone number, allowing the customer to dial it easily by just tapping the numbers.
Where possible, your store should be accessible on a website and via an app, but if you have to choose between the two, set up a mobile-friendly site first. This site should be able to adjust to different screen sizes, using a desktop-friendly interface on large screens and a mobile-friendly interface on small screens. For the mobile site, have buttons and text boxes that are easy to operate using a touch interface, and break down shopping tasks into multiple pages so that the screen is never too crowded and the user doesn’t have to scroll excessively.
How can you get started building your aftermarket mobile presence? Vertical Development’s ShowMeTheParts database is designed to work equally well on computers, tablets, and smartphones with interfaces designed for both touchscreen and mouse-based inputs. By using our tools, you can build a mobile-ready website using a refined interface, giving your customers everything they need to know about your parts. That includes compatibility information, technical documents, photos, and even 360-degree views. We can adapt our system to work on your standard and mobile sites, and we can even package it as an app for Android and iOS. We have been developing mobile access for our tools to help you build your website around ShowMeTheParts, making your parts catalog accessible to all Internet users.
Ready to take your business mobile? Contact us at (847) 609-9540 or email email@example.com to build your mobile-friendly catalog.