Mobile is quickly becoming the default way to surf and shop the web, as smartphones and tablets become bigger, more lightweight, and more common. In combination with the increasing availability of internet and data everywhere, many consumers are abandoning larger devices and desktops altogether.
As a result, more than 50% of all searches are performed on mobile devices, and Google suggests that 88% of consumers research products on their phone before buying them (in person or online), and 40% of all eCommerce sales happen on mobile.
Optimizing for mobile usage is becoming an increasingly important part of selling online, and most eCommerce stores have the option to integrate an app, a mobile website, or both.
Mobile apps, such as those offered by Amazon or Walmart, offer a better user experience, but many consumers aren’t willing to make the commitment to download an app, even from favorite brands. Instead, they use mobile websites to dig deeper, learning more about brands and what they sell, and then switching to a mobile app, desktop, or other store only when they’re ready to make a purchase (if they don’t simply make the purchase through the mobile website).
This means that eCommerce stores must focus on creating a quality and highly engaging user experience for mobile visitors right on their websites to increase conversion and therefore sales on your platform.
Risks of not optimizing for mobile
If consumers are taking a step away from large platforms like Amazon and Walmart, they need to be able to know they can trust your site. Providing a quality mobile experience allows consumers to research your brand and your products.
Consumers research and purchase products through their phones and tablets. If your mobile website doesn’t provide a good user experience, they move elsewhere, often to a competitor.
How does mobile optimization affect your conversion and traffic? Think with Google says that the probability of a visitor bouncing goes up to 123% if your mobile site load time is longer than about 7 seconds. So, a slow-loading site adversely impacts visitors’ experience, and more when running paid promotions through digital platforms.
In short, not optimizing pages for mobile visitors will actually drive customers away and decrease conversion.
Responsive design for better mobile engagement
Responsive, fluid, or adaptive design are created specifically for mobile traffic, with front and backend design catering to smaller screens and slower Internet. Responsive design allows users to engage with a well-optimized site, regardless of device or browser, at any given time.
The result is typically a stripped down and simpler version of the site with larger buttons and images, a faster loading profile, and simpler navigation. This is important because ease of use, simplicity, and speed affect user behaviour and, most importantly, conversion.
For example, Google shows that an increase of 400 to 6,000 page elements (such as tiles, text, images, etc.), decreases conversion by 95%. While that’s a large increase, you can see how adding too many page elements would make navigation more difficult, and therefore decrease a mobile visitor’s ability to use the site well, which will decrease conversion.
Total eCommerce sales hover between 40 and 60% mobile-only, and anything you can do to increase mobile conversion will only drive more sales. Consumers are increasingly switching to mobile-device only households, mobile-only eCommerce is expected to grow to some 77% of online retail by 2020.
How to optimize your eCommerce website for mobile conversions
A good mobile eCommerce website takes the best of both worlds from apps and eCommerce sites, bringing a clean, functional, and responsive or adaptive design to users.
A quick look at any popular eCommerce shopping app (take Walmart, Amazon, Google Express, etc.) will show that they’re all following the same process of building simple and clean applications around products, so that most of what you see is a product image and the ability to add it to the cart.
Looking at backend design, you’ll notice that filtering, checkout solutions, and signing up are all as easy as possible, catering to busy mobile users working with small screens. Taking these and other major eCommerce apps and websites as inspiration will help you to make better choices for your own mobile site.
1) Reduce Page Size to Improve Load Time
Page size and complexity are crucial to conversion, because long load times and overly complex pages decrease conversion (by up to 95%). This means creating a stripped-down mobile version of your site with less text, fewer page elements, and better-compressed images. Google’s recommendation is to aim for around 400 page elements for optimal conversion.
Have simpler page structure to improve page loading time. Use compressed images instead of Hi-Res images, have custom data instead of API /Ajax calls, have important content on the first scroll instead of a static banner. These are a few ways to reduce the page load time and improve user engagement on site.
2) Design for Omnichannel
Mobile consumers will move from your social media to your website and perhaps to your app or blog. Designing a single experience across all your channels, using the same branding, and working to be consistent and accessible across each will build brand trust and therefore boost conversion.
Ideally, you should make it easy to get to social media or your store with one click and to go back and forth, so customers can easily access your webshop, read information, and check your social media for reviews of your business.
3) Implement Deep Linking for App users
Implementing deep linking to mobile app pages from web pages enables users to directly access mobile app pages if they have installed your app. Especially if the user is navigating to a product page from social/paid campaigns, bringing them directly to the app increases chances of converting. Saved payment methods and addresses can fast forward a user’s purchase funnel when they are inside your app.
4) Prioritize Important Product Information
It’s always a good idea to keep pages simple, but you still want to be able to offer product information, product comparisons, and other assistance. Integrating video, lightweight product information, and the ability to expand information sections to view more details or even a Q&A (think Amazon) from customers is a great way to improve conversion.
5) AMP Site and AMP Carousel for Product Display
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a feature that Google rolled out a couple of years ago to reduce page loading time for mobile users. It follows certain technical and architectural best practices to prioritize speed on your site, and speed plays a significant role in retention for eCommerce sites.
Initially, AMP was used majorly by content sites, but now AMP can be used even by eCommerce sites. AMP carousel is one feature where eCommerce sites can provide product scroll options even within AMP optimized site.
6) Mobile-First Payments
Mobile payment solutions like Apple Wallet or Google Pay are increasingly being adopted across the U.S. Integrating them allows consumers to check out quickly, without sharing their credit card information or even using a password.
This will help boost conversions by increasing the simplicity of the transaction. In addition, customers are more trusting when they can use payment methods they are familiar with. Payment is a crucial stage in the eCommerce conversion funnel, any complications here will decrease trust and create drop outs.
7) Use Automation for Personalization and Information
Increasing personalization and providing more information that shoppers want can boost conversions. For example, chatbots can automatically answer important but repetitive questions, can remind consumers of shopping carts, and can offer instant upgrades or services. At the same time, you can personalize customer experiences based on their device, traffic source, location, etc., to create a more relevant and valuable shopping experience.
8) Look to marketplace apps for inspiration
Marketplaces like Walmart and Amazon have mobile apps that are optimized for user experience (and conversions). Look to their apps to see what they’re doing that could give your store an extra boost. For example, the Walmart app shows fast shipping, which indicates it’s something that mobile users are on the lookout for.
Good mobile design and UX are crucial as conversion tactics, but they’re also necessary for your brand. Consumers are increasingly switching to mobile-only shopping, and mobile eCommerce is expected to grow significantly in the next 5 years alone. Optimizing your mobile website for conversion now will help you to drive sales and will help you to keep customers coming back as they switch to mobile devices.
However, it’s important to offer a truly mobile-focused solution, especially as Google is now following mobile-first indexing. Provide smarter, faster, and more flexible solutions that cater to mobile who are in a hurry, may be comparing your products, and want solutions to be as easy as possible.
Any quality mobile eCommerce website combines the best elements of good web design with the intrinsic solutions offered by apps (help customers answer questions, compare pricing, and talk to real people).