Eight Email Tactics To Help Close The Smartphone Browse-To-Buy Gap

Your mobile user stats likely indicate more readers are viewing your emails and visiting your website on their smartphones. But are you seeing a parallel increase in conversions?

If not, you aren't alone. IBM's 2013 Holiday Benchmark Study found that smartphones drove 21.9% of online traffic but only 5.4% of online sales. Tablets, on the other hand, accounted for 13.2% of online traffic and 12.3% of online sales. Tablets also rule average online order values, too: $126.30 compared with $106.49 for orders on smartphones.

Smartphones are for Browsing, But Tablets are for Buying

The figures above probably won't surprise you if you've tried to browse or buy something on a smartphone. The following are some of the key drivers of lower ecommerce conversions:

  • Mobile-unfriendly site: You click from a mobile-friendly email to a cluttered landing page or non-responsive, non-mobile website.
  • Mobile context: Smartphones are a “sit forward” device because we are typically mobile, multitasking or in public environments less convenient for entering credit-card information. You also might have a spotty WiFi or cellular connection.
  • Registration and payment process: You find the product you want, but you bail the purchase process because completing the account registration and/or payment process is too awkward or time-consuming on your small screen and keyboard.



How Email Can Narrow the Conversion Gap

Addressing the controllable conversion roadblocks might require extensive website and ecommerce makeovers, such as revamping your registration process or adding one-click payment sources. Don't give up, though, if that's beyond your email jurisdiction.

Besides being a prime-selling channel, email is also your best tool to help take the friction out of smartphone shopping, using tactics such as the following:

1. Use responsive design techniques that simplify your email with fewer offers, bigger buttons, larger fonts and sizzling copy.

2. Add an email message to your onboarding program that encourages customers to register an account and/or store payment information in order to make shopping by smartphone as close to an Amazon-style one-click experience as possible. Add any other content in this email that might make the mobile shopping experience a bit simpler.

Repurpose the email message and send as part of your broadcast email program on occasion, perhaps with an incentive to sweeten the deal.

3. Add social sign-inso that customers can use their Facebook or Twitter accounts to log in or create an account instead of filling out multiple data fields. Then promote this convenient feature in your onboarding program.

4. Add an alternative payment option, such as PayPal, and allow customers to choose a stored credit card instead of typing in the same number, expiration date and security code each time. Promote these options in your onboarding and "white space" emails.

5. Create an educational email for your shoppers who browse your site on mobile devices but don't buy or otherwise convert. This email could trigger after the customer browses a certain number of pages on a mobile device within a set period of time.

6. Add a "remind me later" button to web pages. When clicked, it asks for the shopper's email address and triggers an email with product information and a link back to the product page. Follow up with a soft, service-oriented reminder email to those who haven't clicked or converted in a set time.

7. Resend an email to those who open and clicked your message on mobile devices but did not convert within a short time (12 hours or fewer). Revise it (different subject line or supporting copy) so that the email doesn't look like an exact duplication.

8. Make your emails more memorable. If you don't want a smartphone shopper to delete and come back to your email later on a tablet or desktop, then it needs to be memorable.

Make your emails an engaging (and mobile-friendly) experience that will lead consumers to keep your messages in their inboxes until they're ready to act. Give them a reason to come back, click and convert.

Until next time, take it up a notch!

1 comment about "Eight Email Tactics To Help Close The Smartphone Browse-To-Buy Gap".
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  1. Andrew Kordek from Trendline Interactive, June 26, 2014 at 5:48 p.m.


    What about having the email just drive them to a mobile app? Some companies have killer mobile apps and the experience is much better than a mobile site?


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