Gone are the days of desktop computers being the only form of accessing websites. Mobile phones are now greatly overtaking computers in both number and usage, with mobile-responsive design shifting from being a “good to have” to a “must-have” in terms of website design.
Furthermore, it’s clear to see that even responsive design is no longer enough. As a way for converting more website visitors into customers, online retailers need to keep up-to-date with the latest trends in digital transformation and make sure their sites are also accessible through mobile effectively.
Mobile optimization is the adjustment process to ensure visitors are accessing your website through mobile devices and have an experience tailored to their device.
You may have had an experience along the lines of simple compressed and rearranged content onto a screen. A mobile-optimized site is completely different to this and is designed with the small screen user experience in mind.
Why is mobile optimization important?
If you have not lost interest already, you might still be wondering – why is mobile optimization as important as made out?
Retailers need to find out what’s involved in a smooth purchasing experience. Not only does this include considering offline communication and its importance, but also the process of identification and optimization of online touchpoints – with mobile being the key to converting users into buyers.
Consumers are digital wanderers who have a tendency to browse and purchase products across a variety of devices. This creates the challenge of giving users an uninterrupted experience across all the devices they use – especially on mobile. Retailers now must adapt and adopt a ‘mobile-first’ approach, otherwise consumers will click away to another site.
Barriers to converting to mobile devices
Here we have highlighted the five key areas of mobile commerce cited by consumers which involve basic usability difficulties:
The mobile purchasing experience falls short
Accessing a website on a mobile device can be incredibly frustrating. Tiny buttons, hard to see links and unclear forms all add up to a poor user experience – not to mention the endless scrolling options.
Should users find themselves waiting for slow pages to load, or are unable to quickly add items to their carts, they will naturally become stressed and impatient. What happens as a result? Abandoned carts and unfinished transactions.
No retailer needs this. It is a common and difficult-to-avoid scenario. Imagine you’re browsing an e-commerce site with the intention of buying a set of wireless headphones. Most of us try the search button but might find it doesn’t work. Then, an attempt to navigate a way to the desired item via the top-bar menu.
Finally, you may find a list of headphones which ticks all, if not nearly all of the boxes. At which point, you’ll need to click each one to see the specifications. You may have to pinch, scroll and manipulate the screen to access the information you require.
If there is no option to compare items, you’ll instead have to keep tapping back and forward to view the information again.
As crazy as it may sound, if you do then make it to the checkout process after all this, you are likely to be asked to create an account before purchasing. If the form is too much of a challenge to complete or you are then required to confirm your email address then this form can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back.
Tasked with a series of frustrating tasks, many customers decide to scrap a transaction they are due to make either because they have simply lost patience or just don’t have the time to do it any longer.
A mobile-optimized website affects your conversions
A number of key factors have led to mobile internet access skyrocketing over recent years. Whilst rates of conversions still remain lower on desktops, the mobile market share is now standing at over 55% compared to desktop at 41%.
Taking all of this into account, it’s clear that mobile optimization is essential for online retailers, which means ensuring the buying experience is as friction-free as possible.
What are some of the features of a frictionless mobile experience? Here they are:
- Providing users with larger buttons
- Keeping images small
- Using auto-fill form fields and auto-detect location settings
- Giving users the option to checkout as a guest
- Offering multiple screens as an alternative to scrolling through
Where to start? RESPONSIVE DESIGN
There are various ways to ensure your site is optimized for mobile. How you go about this all depends on the type of site in operation. Generally, it is best to use a clean, minimal design. This is by all means no easy job though, especially if you run an e-commerce site that’s jam-packed with products and services. Overall, the most important thing is choosing a web design that’s 100% responsive.
Depending on the screen size, responsive sites adapt when viewing. Instead of a top bar, users tend to see a ‘hamburger’ menu and images will become smaller.
Responsive design provides the building blocks to enable you to create a complete mobile-ready site. By doing so, your site will look attractive and be more easily navigable to users, and this will help to increase conversions. In order to achieve the highest conversion rates possible, you need to further optimize for mobile.
What does a mobile-optimized site provide? THE BEST EXPERIENCE
By using mobile optimization technology, sites will reformat themselves completely for that device, guaranteeing a better experience for the user. A mobile-optimized site looks different from a responsive site because the configuration with the mobile user in mind usually has a separate URL.
Features of a mobile-optimized site
On a mobile optimized site, the images are lighter, so the site loads more quickly, while the buttons are sized to adapt to broader fingers. They’re usually designed to reduce the need for pinching and scrolling.
When optimizing for mobile, text which is short, sweet and easy to read requires minimal steps to conversion. Viewers need to be reassured that their details are safe, so optimized sites usually offer a range of payment methods including ones which don’t require entry of credit card details such as PayPal, Apple Pay, or Google Pay.
Mobile sites are also easier to navigate and offer a simple navigation menu, like HubSpot’s.
Mobile optimized sites have few if any, popups and reduced graphics. Icons are used effectively as well as ‘splash screens’, which is the very first screen a user will see once they open an app.
As online screen real estate is so limited, having just one Call to Action (CTA) per page is a recommended feature as well.
If your marketing strategy is strong, if you’re using advanced SEO to drive traffic to your site, or if your website is not mobile optimized, you’ll fail to turn that traffic into conversions. By implementing a ‘mobile-first’ mentality, you will see substantial results when it comes to converting visitors into purchasers. When developing your mobile-optimized site, make sure you test changes on a regular basis. Once you’ve executed this process, you can see what’s working, what’s not, and tailor your site to fit the needs of your customers and keep conversion rates high.