UK shoppers are set to spend £27bn through their mobile phones this year. Over 75% of shoppers who visit physical stores use their mobile phones at the same time to assist with their shopping; either for looking at other product options, comparing prices to other stores, or searching for specific products in store. The phone has officially taken over as the most used device for online shopping.
When the world of eCommerce first took off, a lot of companies put a lot of effort into making amazing desktop sites. After all, this would be the virtual representation of their physical stores, so it’s extremely important to replicate the shopper experience and retain their customer base.
And the effort paid off. In the UK alone, we’re now set to spend £67bn online this year, all from the comfort of our sofas… or so it was.
Now, we buy on the tube, on the train, on the bus. We buy when we’re at work pretending to write really long emails. We buy at 3am sat in bed when our newborn Will. Not. Go. To. Sleep. The mobile phone is the new 24/7 store front.
The problem is, the experience is not the same. Mobile sites can be over-crowded, unclear and unoptimised. There has been so much time and effort getting the online store right for desktop, it is, understandably, quite often too much of a task to do it again for the mobile. For many SME companies, the budget often gets called into question. “Why do we need to spend money on another site?” It frequently comes down to affordability.
Perhaps the question should be: Can you afford not to be taking your share of a 27 billion pound pie?
For new companies, or those new to eCommerce, it’s much easier to get ahead on mobile devices, because there’s no existing design to work to. You get a clean slate and can build around the mobile experience. But for all online stores, the end result needs to be the same: the best possible mobile experience for better conversions and better business. The average conversion rate for mobile sites last year was 1.51% - half of that on desktop, so there is vast scope for improving the user experience on mobile here.
So what do you look at when you shop on your mobile? What makes you buy from one site instead of the other? Here are some points to consider when looking at the mobile layout:
They aren’t just for holding spears anymore. When you browse a site on your mobile, if you’re on the go, you tend to scroll up and down with your thumb as you hold the device; freeing up the other hand. So call to actions are best used along the arch of a thumb. When you factor in the height of a smartphone, and the length of an average thumb, you’re probably looking at the bottom two thirds of the screen along an arch from the middle to the edge.
If you’re stationary whilst browsing, you tend to scroll with your finger in the middle of the screen, so buttons along that line could get pressed accidentally, which leads to user frustration.
Phones now tend to be long and thin, and where people would previously rotate the phone so it is landscape, it’s becoming less and less of a thing the less we stop still to buy, so think about stacking your content with the most important stuff at the top. Your images sell your products on mobile, because people first and foremost want to see what they are buying. We hold a phone and we’ve literally got the world at our fingertips, so your products should be the first thing a customer sees so they don’t get distracted.
If you try and condense everything on a page at desktop into a mobile site, and then try to digest everything, you can see how easy it is for users to become overwhelmed and frustrated. The whole idea behind buying on your mobile phone is convenience. Customers need the essential information then and there so they can buy the product and be on their way; like a Drive Thru. Banners that look enticing and attractive on a desktop or a service counter very often just get in the way on a mobile screen, and often stack over the top of things a customer really needs to see instead. Think about the first thing you want a busy customer to see when they land on your page in order for them to be convinced to buy. If they’ve only got a few minutes, your site needs to enable them to buy your product in that time.
Speed is key
Wi-fi hotspots aren’t always the speediest. Add that to a badly optimised mobile site and you’ve got sites moving slower than the M1 at rush hour. (Don’t shop and drive folks). Back in the day, it used to be one site for desktops and another for mobile. Nowadays, it’s standard practice to have one responsive site across all devices, so all content is managed from one place. This can be a problem on mobiles, because sites can often try to load desktop-sized content onto a hand-sized device. Having a site optimised for mobile is essential to increase loading speeds on the go.
The world of mCommerce is only going to get bigger, and customers expect more and more from virtual stores whilst on the go. Your business could be missing out on thousands - literally.
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