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By Ian Jindal, experienced multichannel retailer and Editor-in-Chief of InternetRetailing

Retailers worldwide have been experiencing major growth in mcommerce sales. In the last year alone mobile spending has increased by 77.8%[1]. However, despite this boom, the possibilities this form of shopping could bring are even greater.

A recent survey showed that only 3% of merchants said they are up to speed with being mobile-ready and a staggering 70% said they did not have mobile-enabled websites or apps in place.

A retailer’s website which isn’t mobile-enabled means that those who are attempting to buy products on their mobiles will not only have difficulties visualising the website on their devices but, also, will have to face lengthy and complicated checkout processes, which is unacceptable for consumers.

Best case, consumers will endure the process and finalise the purchase, but a lot of revenue will be lost by those, who tired of fighting with their mobiles, will abandon the products in their basket. In 2013 alone, cart abandonment resulted in over £6bn in lost revenue for UK retailers[2].

Consumers are now demanding a more convenient and streamlined mobile shopping experience, particularly with regards to the payment process.

Paying for products online is a “pain point” and should be simplified as much as possible, according to New Look’s group digital director, Jack Smith. “You’re asking customers to do something they don’t want to do, and you’re making it really arduous for them at the same time.” To remedy this, New Look reduced their mobile checkout process down to two pages and found that their conversion rates soared as a result.

Currently, the mobile shopping experience for a lot of retailers is a tiring and difficult one and it is putting customers off. If retailers want to maximise revenue, they need to improve their mobile payment processes.

While this is quite a complicated task, there are four simple steps that retailers can implement to make their processes friendlier and to stay ahead of the competition.

  1. Understand your customers’ needs

Retailers who understand their customers will always have a competitive advantage. Merchants that take the time to tailor the shopping process to the way customers want to buy are going to see greater conversion rates. By carrying out consumer research and studying analytics, retailers will be able to find out more about the shopping habits of their customers.

A great example for this practice is retailing giant M&S. When the company was redesigning its website ahead of the launch of their own platform in 2014, they were able to discover some useful information about the habits of their customers. Shoppers would often browse products and place them in their shopping baskets whilst on their mobile devices, but would then use their desktop computers to complete the purchase. For M&S, this demonstrated the importance of having a shopping basket that was available across all sales channels.

  1. Be mobile

Making the process of checkout easier and the consumer experience swifter will only result in greater sales for retailers. For instance, customers hate having to enter their payment details on their mobiles every time they purchase, but at the same time fear their information might be intercepted or filtered.

Retailers are overcoming this complication by offering ‘one-click’ payments, mobile friendly payment methods such as PayPal and adopting new and innovative technologies such as Apple Pay. In the same way, they are embracing security by adopting new technologies such as tokenisation, encryption and layered authentication to their payments platforms.

  1. Embrace the differences in your marketplace

Consumers all around the world have different payment methods of choice and retailers moving to new territories need to consider local currencies and preferred payment habits.

Research is key. Whether it’s iDeal, used by 60% of Dutch online shoppers, or bank transfer, popular in Germany and the Nordic countries, if those are the markets of influence, retailers need to have the infrastructure to accept them all or risk losing customers to rivals who do.

  1. Offer a secure environment

Consumers are every day more aware of the threats online and mobile commerce pose to their information and money. It is of paramount importance to protect shoppers’ data and provide a safe environment.

Retailers need to implement robust fraud strategies to leave consumers at ease when shopping on their mobile devices but also protect their reputation. They should take advantage of new technological advancements such as tokenisation, which underpins one-click payments and means retailers can avoid having to store their customers’ payment information online.

But, it is ultimately up to the retailers themselves to ensure that their payment processing meets the requirements of the PCI Security Standards Council.

By following these four key steps, retailers are well on the way to ensuring their payments are easy, secure and convenient for shoppers. The latest trends in payment strategy and technologies will be discussed in April this year on the show floor, and at the dedicated digital payments theatre at InternetRetailing Expo in Birmingham.

Find out more and register for free at www.internetretailingexpo.com

[1] http://internetretailing.net/2015/02/uk-m-commerce-spend-to-grow-by-77-8-to-14-95-billion-in-2015-outstripping-the-rest-of-the-world/

[2] https://www.jumio.com/2015/08/up-to-6bn-in-revenue-left-on-the-table-by-mobile-businesses-last-year-due-to-poor-user-experience/