We’ve known for years that mobile, in the majority of cases, is more important to optimise than desktop when it comes to web design. In 2018, 52.2% of all internet traffic world-wide was generated from a mobile device. That’s up 50% from the previous year and as the trend suggests, we’re likely to see that number keep growing.

In eCommerce however, transactions on mobile devices only make up around 40% of all online world-wide transactions. In this article we’re going to look at why users opt for a desktop buying experience, how to optimise your store for a better mobile experience and the future of Shopify mobile eCommerce.

What’s Wrong with the Current State of Mobile Ecommerce?

As with any progressive move in technology, it’s good practise to analyse the pain points. This lets us optimise and create a better user experience. Ignoring the basic principles of making a website mobile friendly, such as a responsive layout. Here are some common pain points customers may be facing on your site on mobile devices.

Speed

Speed on mobile needs to be so much faster than speed on a desktop. There are 2 main reasons for this:

  1. 3g, 4g and even 5g speeds still aren’t as reliable or in a lot of cases as fast as broadband/fibre internet connections. This can be especially true if a user is travelling. What better time to target a customer than on their commute home? But if the site can’t load the user will change site or scroll through the social media channel of their choice.
  2. Mobile users have a shorter attention span on average. Mobile based users are likely to have less patience when browsing, and so a fast website is key to a successful shopping experience.

We’ve talked in several articles before about how important speed is to a digital marketing campaign and an online shopping experience. If you’re looking to optimise your store, here are 8 ways to speed up Shopify stores.

Usability

We spend a lot of time doing UX audits and usability testing for our clients, and the first thing we always look at is the mobile site. You might have a responsive website but if the UX isn’t intuitive on mobile then the user isn’t going to make it to the checkout process.
The design of the sites UX should be optimised for mobile this not only enhances the users experience on the site, but we’re actually seeing better usability affecting the overall SEO properties of a site. Here are some usability tips that you can implement:

  1. Don’t have buttons and elements too close together. Even Google tells you when their crawler finds this issue, if a user has any doubt as to which button they’re pressing then the elements are too close together.
  2. Stop worrying about the fold. While there is a still a place for above-the-fold design on mobile, too many merchants put an unfounded importance on it. This usually leads to cramming as much in as possible and makes it look messy, which will inevitably lead to a higher bounce rate.
  3. Make the navigation intuitive. If a user can’t get to the page they want in as few clicks as possible then you’ll likely see a drop off. Try not to overcomplicate the menu by having levels within levels within levels.
  4. Make search a priority. 48% of mobile users prefer search rather than category browsing. We’ve seen search optimised for mobile and that’s skyrocketed conversion rates. That’s because users that engage with on-site search are 5 times more likely to convert! Find out more about the importance of on-site search.

Accessibility

When we talk about accessibility, we mean how easy is it for a user to find the item that they’re looking for. Unfortunately, too many merchants don’t make their mobile website as accessible as it can be for their customers. On desktop it’s easy, because you can have several products, blog articles and different content pieces in a row.

But on mobile you’re limited to a maximum of 2 a row. The screen sizes are a lot smaller and users spend less time on a site when on a mobile. By optimising the usability and the speed of the site, you inadvertently optimise the accessibility of the site anyway. But here are some quick ways you can instantly optimise the accessibility of a mobile site.

Personalisation AI

Using a personalisation integration such as Nosto to change the content on the page depending on the users search and on-site browsing history is a very powerful tool. The user only has to search once and the content and recommended products change to provide them with the content more relevant and personalised to them.

This not only makes the products and content a lot more accessible to the users, but this data can then be passed onto email marketing programs, ad campaigns and much more to make all your marketing accessible.

Intelligent Search

We’ve already talked about the importance of making the on-site search prominent on mobile. But the actual search engine can be improved by integrating a program like Klevu. Klevu will use real-time recommendations, so as the user is typing in their search query, recommended products will appear. This makes the search faster and much more accessible, meaning the user is engaged with the product they want faster.

Using an intelligent search engine also means that if a user is searching for a product you don’t have. Rather than going straight to a “sorry not found” page, it will offer alternative recommendations that are similar. This is an invaluable way to keep users engaged on the site.

Halo Effect

The “Halo Effect” is where a user is browsing on a mobile and finalises the sale via a computer or laptop. Understandably it’s hard to measure how smartphone users move to desktop and back.

However, a study of 1.2 billion users journeys has been conducted by Qubit. It shows that 19% of desktop transactions originally started as a mobile based discovery. In the fashion industry this is as high as 24%. This is up from a 2016 study that showed only 10% of desktop transactions started as a mobile discovery.

Why is the halo effect import?

The Halo Effect is important because it shows us an outline of the state of mobile eCommerce. The growth of the halo effect means that either;

  • Mobile UX is not as good as desktop UX
  • Consumers don’t trust mobile eCommerce

We know from our personal experience that merchants put less time and effort into the mobile UX. We also know from surveys that consumers often struggle to find the products they’re after or have a bad experience on mobile sites.

What’s next for Mobile eCommerce

The future of eCommerce is mobile. Traffic and conversions on mobile vs desktop are growing year on year. While this growth is obvious, there are a lot of merchants that aren’t capitalising on the benefits of a truly mobile friendly eCommerce experience.

Google is putting a big onus on mobile optimised sites, because they know the importance of a good mobile experience. I would expect to see the guidelines for mobile become more stringent in the future. Optimising mobile eCommerce will affect your online sales, organic reach, customer retention, conversion values and brand reputation.

Get in touch to see how we can improve your mobile experience.

AUTHOR

Will Lynch

Will is Head of Marketing at ELS Media. He can be found fixing Google penalties, optimising eCommerce sites and creating automated email marketing strategies.