Online shopping has reached an all-time high. Unfortunately, however, too many e-commerce businesses ignore or remain oblivious about a hot online shopping trend. It's the shift from desktop to mobile.

Why are so many e-commerce businesses ignoring that shift?

Remember the 'phone' in smartphone

Though we want the flexibility to access the Internet and text, we've also made a conscious decision to purchase a phone rather than a portable computer that does Skype or FaceTime.

Think about it: You could buy an iPod Touch, or some other device that is not also a phone. It would be cheaper than paying a wireless provider monthly for telephone capabilities. But whenever I ask people why they don't do that, I always get the same response with the same bewildered look: "But what about when I need to call someone?"

They don't say if but when.

Understand the complete mobile shopping experience

Here are a few stats for context:

  • 63% of people expect to be doing more shopping on their mobile devices over the next couple of years. (Latitude)
  • Roughly 58% of consumers who own a smartphone have already used it for store-related shopping. (Deloitte)
  • Almost half (47%) of consumers expect transactions to be easier on mobile than the in-store experience. (Tealeaf, IBM)

Moreover, consider the experience of using your smartphone. You decide to buy an item, and you reach a cart or a checkout process. What happens when you have a question? 30% of mobile shoppers abandon a transaction if the experience is not optimized for mobile, and this is where e-commerce often hits another pitfall.

When most marketers think of mobile optimization, they think of having a responsive site and nothing more.

But if you're on your smartphone and have a question about the checkout process, what is your natural next step? Are you going to peruse the site on your tiny mobile screen? Or when presented with a one-click method to be connected in conversation with a sale or support person, are you going to call?

When mobile shoppers look for ways to simplify their checkout, they make a phone call; what we have in our hand is, above all else, a phone. That's why the volume of phone calls to businesses is soaring, with calls driven to businesses from search reaching 73 billion by 2018, estimates BIA/Kelsey.

So how can you supercharge your mobile e-commerce experience?

Here are five ways:

1. Recognize once and for all that customers are experiencing the Web from a smartphone

Consider the implications of this from all angles: design, paid search strategy, site layout, calls-to-action, everything

2. Embrace voice and the smartphone's role in e-commerce

Get over the fact that you thought the phone was dead. (We all did!) Calls are the new click, and the sooner you embrace that fact, the sooner you can begin to maximize that potential.

3. Make user-generated content a priority

Ratings, reviews, and photos give your brand credibility, so make sure you display this content prominently on your site or mobile app. Be aware of online review sites, where customers might be venting about a bad experience. Those places give you another platform to go and respond to reviews, which makes you look even more trustworthy to shoppers on the fence.

4. A/B test your checkout experience

Different types of shopping carts might perform better than others for your product or service. Make sure you're thinking about how your checkout experience is for mobile users. You want it to be clean and simple with no distractions and to include a phone number that connects shoppers to a representative immediately if they run into questions during the checkout process.

If you want to reduce mobile users' shopping cart abandonment, give them the means to address concerns in a way natural to their device.

5. Don't forget social and blogging

Content not only boosts SEO but gives consumers new routes to your site.

E-commerce orders coming from social media grew a whopping 202% in 2014, according to Shopify. It's called "discovery commerce," and if you want customers to "discover" you, you must give them the means to do so.

Back to mobile again: we all know most social traffic occurs on mobile devices, so get creative with how you market on social media.

* * *

With the buzz about mobile optimization, e-commerce businesses are tripping over themselves to optimize for the mobile experience and forget about the importance of voice as the natural human mechanism for asking a question.

Voice does not have to be complex, or require new infrastructure, it just requires a partnership with a call analytics and automation company.

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Five Tips for Supercharging Your Customers' Mobile Shopping Experience

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image of Irv Shapiro

Irv Shapiro is CEO and CTO at DialogTech, a voice-based marketing automation company. He is responsible for overall business strategy and corporate leadership.