Social & Search ‘Buy’ buttons, and what SMEs can learn about Mobile Commerce

Despite the fact that most of us have been addicted to our smartphones for the last five or six years, not many companies have truly perfected the art of getting consumers to actually buy things on their mobile device. Few have truly cracked the concept of Mobile Commerce. Most of us shop online at least some of the time, but while we tend to search a lot on our mobiles, when it comes time to actually opening our virtual wallets and parting with our cash, consumers have shown time and time again a preference for taking to a desktop to complete the purchase.

This could be because it’s a pain in the ass filling out payment information on a small screen, or it could be due to a psychological pre-disposition from a consumer behavior point of view. Either way, online retailers haven’t been helping themselves by generally having pretty crappy e-commerce set-ups on their site. Things are improving all the time though, and in the last year alone we have seen many of the biggest players in the space starting to lead the way in encouraging, and facilitating, mobile shopping.

google purchases

Just last week Google announced a new feature called ‘Purchases’ which adds a BUY button to mobile search ads so that users are prompted to make a purchase there and then. This takes you to a product page hosted by Google where you can find out more information about the product and complete the purchase using your stored payment information while the order fulfillment is carried out by the merchant as per usual.

Facebook and Twitter have also been using similar BUY buttons in their product ads on mobile over the last year, with both Instagram and Pinterest following suit over the last couple of months too. It’s clear that this is quickly becoming a standard feature across most of the big tech platforms’ advertising offerings but of course this means that to take advantage of these features, you have to be running ads with Google AdWords, Facebook etc. in the first place. It is essentially just another way to increase the direct impact of an ad to encourage impulse purchases.

The main aim of these features is to reduce the friction of making a purchase on a mobile device when engaging with Search and Social, but I think there is a more important lesson to take for smaller companies with regards to their own online sales experience. It’s all well and good optimizing an ad on a digital platform for selling on a smartphone, but if the buying process on your own mobile website isn’t up to the same standard, than you are putting your company at a disadvantage. Many brands today put a lot of effort into digital and social media marketing, and that’s great, but it’s not much use if you lose the sale at the final hurdle by having a terrible mobile e-Commerce process.

Don’t rely on the big tech companies to convert your sales for you. Invest in a decent mobile e-Commerce experience.