It all started with a phone from some sort of fruit company!?
The mobile revolution as we see today actually started when Apple launched its iPhone 2007. At that time there were few who really realized the mobile’s role in e-commerce. Neither what challenges the smart mobile brought with it or what opportunities it created. Few also did not understand how fast traffic from mobiles would increase.
Now 11 years later we have a « mobile gap » between mobile devices and PC in conversion and sales. At the same time, we are getting our first « MobileOnly » generation. A generation of young consumers with an extremely short attention span, and neither have nor want a PC!
When the mobile e-commerce traffic reached 15-20% Tom Gajdos and I realized that there was a need for a better way of shopping on a mobile device than only responsiv design based on the PC. A new, better way based on using an existing e-commerce platform’s features and technology, optimized for mobile devices with touchscreen.
Even though traffic from mobile devices today is significantly larger than the traffic from PCs, all development is based on a PC behaviour with keyboard and mouse. The development is also based on the mindset that shopping is a logical ordering process. And that mobile devices are devices with limitations due to a small screen – not possibilities due to a touchscreen.
With this insight we started Touchize and set out to develop our first product -Touchize Commerce
Tom and I turned our thinking 180 degrees and developed a solution based on mobile devices’ advantages besides being mobile.
One of the main advantages is the touchscreen. The touch screen provides a completely unique tactile relationship between the human and the device. A physical proximity not provided with keyboard and mouse. Some other benefits of mobiles and tablets are also that the interaction is based on symbols and images rather than text.
Basically, there were 3 key factors that were fundamental in developing a new, easier, faster and more enjoyable way to shop via a mobile or tablet:
1. Do not see the mobile as a « device » with restrictions – Utilize Mobile Benefits Visual, Intuitive & Tactile.
2. Go from order process to a shopping experience. Like in a physical store and minimize the step from inspiration to purchase.
3. Cross and up sale. Give the consumer the ability to complete or upgrade his product / purchase in an easier way than today.
Our mobile solution is basically based on trying to mirror the process of physical commerce. The consumer enters a store, takes a shopping cart / basket. Everything that the consumer sees can be easily placed in his basket and then go to checkout and pay. It may sound easy, but if you are studying physical commerce today, you will see some important things that e-commerce could benefit from. First, it is the knowledge that shopping is not a logical process but an emotional activity. Then it is the ability to get the consumer to buy much more than planned from the beginning. What is called spontaneous purchase. In some industries, up to 75% of purchases at a physical store can be unplanned, spontaneous purchases!
My shopping basket – my stuff.
Let’s first look at the basket / shopping cart in an ordinary store. Then it is crucial to get a product in the basket as early as possible in the store visit. There is a psychological barrier here. Once the first product is in the basket, the next product is much easier to put in the basket. Surveys from the physical trade, shows that the cart is a safe point during the buying process. This is one of the reasons that we always show the basket in our solution so that the consumer has full control and feels safe
Being able to touch a product is a determining factor for how willing a consumer is to actually finish the purchase and pay. The visual and tactile experience is for many industries crucial for the sale. How does e-commerce solve this challenge? The most common solution is that you have many pictures, videos and a lot of information text. It is a difficult challenge to create a physical relationship via a keyboard and mouse. It creates a form of distance or proxy relation to the product.
But when you put your finger on a picture of a product, a closer relationship with the product is created. Just like when we touch a picture of someone we love. Scientific research shows that if a customer uses a touchscreen instead of a keyboard and mouse, psychological ownership increases by almost 30%.
Therefore, we have removed all shopping buttons and replaced it by dragging / swiping products to the cart.
Easy to find, easy to buy
Finding a way around in a physical store is important for the consumer who want´s to « browse » around, inspire and add products to the basket. This is one of the reasons that there are no walls and doors between the different departments in a physical store.
Looking at the structure of a regular PC web shop, it consists of many ”rooms” that you have to move between. Studies show that one of the biggest reasons why a customer leave a web shop without making a purchase is that it is difficult to orientate. And on a mobile shop it is often harder to orientate than on a PC shop.
This is why each category have a « floor » as we call it. When you tap a product, the floor stays directly behind the product presentation and the basket is always visible.
The pilot shops, group interviews, and A/B testing shows that with a simpler, faster and more enjoyable mobile shopping experience consumers add more items to the basket. And that the average order value increases significantly giving improved mobile sales and conversion.
One Size do not fit all
Until now, all e-commerce solutions have been based on essentially the same PC based process for a consumer to make a purchase independent of product or industry. Take for example a web shop for high end fashion or for food. Off line two very different type of shopping experiences. But online they are based on the same structure and order process. The differences between fashion and food is the graphic design, quality of the pictures and the amount of product information but they still have the same basic structure
Today’s cross channel strategy demands more UI optimization for different industries, products and customer profiles. It also has to take in consideration different context in which customers do their purchases. Independent if it is in the subway, on the couch in front of the TV or with the fridge open in the kitchen.
Consumer’s rapidly changing behaviour and technology are demanding a higher differentiation than today. Some signs of this are the e-commerce platforms’ development towards the ”headless” disconnecting of frontend from backend. Enabling different frontend solutions on the same e-commerce platform.
Simpler, faster and more profitable mobile shopping experience
After several commercial pilot installations that all resulted in more products in the basket, increased average order value and better mobile conversion, we now take the first step into the PrestaShop world. At PrestaDays in Paris, we launch Touchize Commerce as a 1-click module for PrestaShop. The Touchize Commerce solution provides all PrestaShop e-retailers the opportunity of a unique solution that provides the mobile consumer not only with a superior mobile shopping experience, but also a better profitability. The future is mobile and it is here and now.
About the authors:
Tom Gajdos, CTO / Founder Touchize Sweden AB
Over ten year’s experience from Sony Ericsson as software and product developer.
Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering
and has a number of patents in mobile technology and interactive solutions.
Stefan Mumm, Product Manager / Founder, Touchize Sweden AB
25 years’ experience in business development, communication and UI development for IBM and other Internet companies
Engineer, Industrial Design, Communication