Could one word really make or break the sale? The answer is yes. On today’s handheld devices, booking travel only requires a few taps of the thumbs. What’s the down side? Consumers opting for smaller screens mean less real estate to market the destination and the supporting ancillary offerings. For travel companies and others, mobile selling calls for an intensified focus on quickly compelling the customer to purchase within an experience designed for the platform, with the consumers’ needs and behaviors in mind. Beyond precision in word count and choice, there are a bevy of other factors that make travel sales on mobile complex.
Wondering why your company should invest in ecommerce optimization for mobile? Well, it’s common knowledge that everything is mobile these days. Consumers prefer to get their news, talk to their friends and family and manage their bank accounts via an app; increasingly, customers are opting to shop on mobile. According to a forecast recently covered in Skift, mobile travel sales will account for one third of all digital sales by 2017. In anticipation of the sheer volume of consumer traffic and sales, travel companies need to have a well-developed strategy for experience optimization through effective testing that includes the measurement and integration of ancillary products that will help increase revenue.
In terms of the purchase path on mobile-friendly websites, historically ancillary offers were featured on a separate panel, which guaranteed a view. Now, because of longer pages (a result of changes in website design trends) ancillary offerings are easier for the consumer to miss. Longer scrolling pages have grown in popularity, because of the increasing use of different devices. Overtime, user experience experts, web designers and consumers found the panel-design approach is not user-friendly on an iPad or mobile. Today, instead of being at the top of the page, ancillaries are typically embedded in the middle of the functional sales page. Beyond careful placement consideration, we’ve found that ancillary offers shouldn’t: take customers away from the page, be disruptive within the purchase path or stand out in negative way.
When developing a mobile commerce testing strategy, a methodical approach allows for more sustained and long term growth of the data captured. A preliminary phase should include customer segmentation, which will assist in providing results that allow for extremely targeted future efforts. With the volume of traffic that mobile platforms will attract in the coming years, it will be critical to have an extremely controlled testing method in order to identify what’s driving conversion rates. Within your testing program, prioritize ancillary and core conversion rates to gain conclusive results.
Typically, core conversion rates are higher than conversion rates of ancillary sales. Incremental testing is more vital for measuring ancillary sales performance because generally speaking, higher conversion rates means less need for change. It is best to measure small changes, for example length of the copy, positioning of the offering, placement in the purchase path and so on. To capture more data, design a controlled multivariate test to measure ways to maximize ancillary sales, without impacting core sales. Keep in mind that multivariate testing takes volume; testing strategies are best defined by the level of traffic.
Tracking a customer from initial inquiry to purchase is a capability that companies didn’t have before the web, and now the frontier includes mobile devices. With mobile ecommerce being relatively new, many struggle with testing design and interpreting the abundance of data. The evolution of web and mobile practices is continuous, as should be your efforts to target, sell to and maintain relationships with customers. For now focus on identifying a testing strategy that your team will improve and develop for increasing sophistication. Future considerations may explore the importance of social proof in purchasing core products and ancillaries, which is powerful now and into the future.