Let's take a look back at some of the very first websites created in the late 90s. It’s glaringly obvious how far we’ve advanced: when it comes to layout, usability, graphics, and definitely the overuse of fonts and colours (with early websites resembling bad PowerPoint presentations). Flash forward to today: companies are not only focused on optimizing the overall user experience and navigability of their websites, but they are also primarily concentrating their efforts on creating the best mobile experience.
Why? Because just as the difference between a website from 1995 and one from 2020 is plain to see, so is the difference between a desktop website transplanted onto a mobile device and a website developed specifically for a mobile experience. By designing a website that first considers mobile device users (mobile first), or perhaps not even creating a desktop website at all (mobile only), companies can guarantee that their content is readable and accessible on one of the most ubiquitous devices there is: the smartphone.
Why is mobile critical?
This mobile-first or mobile-only approach has become especially crucial for countless business sectors as more and more consumers rely less on their desktop computers and more on their mobile phones for everything from banking to fitness to news updates to shopping. In fact, 60 per cent of Internet users spend their time online on mobile browsers or apps. With mobile devices serving as the primary interface between users and countless services and offers, businesses need to get mobile right. Nowhere is this more evident than in the e-commerce sector, where the digital customer experience (DCX) can mean the difference between a successful sale and a lost customer. The mobile experience can define business success.
The E-commerce platform Zalando is a prime example of why mobile matters. 84 per cent of Zalando website visits in 2019 were via mobile. With 31 million active customers placing up to five orders a year, providing a DCX that kept customers coming back was a driving force behind Zalando's 224.9 million euro EBIT in 2019.
If the financials aren’t reason enough to invest in mobile first or mobile only, consider that Google bases its website ranking and indexing on the mobile version of a company’s digital content. So if your mobile version is just a copy of your website that “hides” content in accordions that Google doesn’t index, it will show in your ranking.
Making mobile even better with deep linking
One of the primary ways to differentiate the mobile and desktop experience is through deep linking. Few things are more frustrating than broken links or hyperlinks that lead to a website's home screen instead of the specific content requested. Deep linking helps companies avoid this major customer frustration by providing direct links from:
- website to app
- app to app
- ad to app
- social media to app
- email to app
- SMS to app and so much more.
Let’s go back to the example of Zalando. Perhaps a potential customer is scrolling Instagram and sees an ad for this season’s latest fashion trends. With deep linking, Zalando can direct the consumer from the Instagram app directly to the listing for a specific item on its mobile website or directly to the listing in its app if the user has the Zalando app installed.
Why does this matter? Deep linking has been shown to double user activation and retention rates. If a consumer doesn’t have to waste time trying to find an item, but can instead immediately purchase it, the chances of completing a sale increase significantly. And the chance that customers will return for such a seamless and straightforward DCX is also much higher.
What else can deep linking do?
Deep linking isn’t just about making the sale. It’s about creating an overall better customer experience. This means keeping customers engaged, giving them what they want, and creating a secure online environment.
Deep linking analysis helps you better understand what your customers want. Companies can provide customers with more targeted and customised offers by assessing which ad campaigns and offers have the most traction. These tailored offers, new deals, reminders, and more can be sent via push notifications so customers know that a new product or a special deal is waiting for them. And cutting out any middlemen apps or websites helps ensure customer security and data safety during any and all transactions.
Straight to the source
E-commerce providers intent on creating the best digital customer experience must start by going straight to where the customers are: their mobile devices. Combining this mobile-first strategy with deep linking bolsters usability by eliminating unnecessary navigation, enhances security by excluding intermediaries, and boosts revenue by ensuring customers always return for more!