Consumer Insights
June 19, 2015

How Retailers Can Maximize Conversions On Mobile Platforms

A seismic shift happened in ecommerce last year: mobile exceeded desktop as the primary global access point to the internet. Yet, the majority of consumers are “multi-screening”; researching and purchasing products across multiple devices and channels.

Mobile traffic may be skyrocketing, but retailers still struggle to optimize their mobile experience for greater engagement and purchase. Here are some key ways to improve your mobile experience for greater sales:

  • Although desktop pages may be growing in size, it is still critical to make sure the mobile site loads as quick as possible. Pages that are optimized for speed in mobile have lower bounce and exit rates. Statistics show you lose 11% of conversion for every one-second delay in load times. Google also penalizes SEO for sites with slow load times. So optimize product pages for speed: Compress images. Reduce bloat: write lean code and combine common pieces of code to increase loading time (this especially affects mobile). Be especially careful about too much Javascript. Minimize dependency requests.
  • Sites with many products and categories are difficult to casually browse on mobile. Extensive filtering and sorting proves to be more challenging because there is usually a visibility problem: it’s difficult to find the filter button, and it takes more taps, clicks and screens to carry out a filter than on desktop. Usability Labs revealed mobile customer confusion around filtering some aim for fewer filters and simplified verbiage. Make sure you display a prominent and easy-to-use search bar. Flatten website traffic – no item more than two to three filters deep because “flattening” retail website helps improve organic traffic. This is particularly true in mobile, where users are less primed to browse and filter extensively.
  • Most mobile pages have pinch zoom disabled, and yet this is a feature that mobile users need in order to give them the confidence to purchase. Usability tests and customer feedback revealed that customers were trying to pinch zoom in on product images. Add the pinch to zoom feature for product images in mobile.
  • Having options with saved payment information (for example PayPal & Visa Checkout) help boost mobile conversions because people don’t need to enter payment information. Customers using Paypal, Visa Checkout & Amazon Checkout are more likely to reach check-out, which needs to be as flawless and simple as possible. Offer stored checkout options (PayPal, Visa, Amazon etc.) so consumers don’t need to enter payment information manually.
  • Mobile sites have less visual real estate, making it difficult for the customer to find all the latest daily promotions (although this is important to them). Thus, you’re likelier to lose the deal-seeking crowd completely in mobile. Customers who click from email into a promotion in mobile can’t find any of the other promotions on mobile sites, express frustration. You must rethink how you promote deals on mobile vs. on desktop.
  • It’s important to prioritize what shoppers actually want to achieve in mobile, not what you want them to do (or believe they want) in mobile. A/B testing showed that changing the hierarchy of information in mobile based on actual customer use leads to higher completion of tasks. Redesign mobile site navigation and hierarchy to reflect actual usage of mobile users. In some cases this may mean moving away from pushing mobile purchase.
  • Users abandon/bounce from mobile sites at a higher rate when they promote a “download our app” page overlay, banner or takeover. If you have both an app and a mobile site, understand why a customer would choose to go to one over the other: It’s true that conversion and engagement are higher on the app, however shoppers hit your mobile site for a different reason and you must respect that choice. A huge banner promoting your app represents a distraction from what they’re trying to accomplish on mobile web in that moment, and causes frustration. Do not use a “download our app” overlay when a customer lands on mobile site. If you have one, take it down / move it to the bottom.
  • Mobile real estate is limited, but usability labs and comments reveal that users want to see more products on one page. Scrolling is tedious. A single column of products leads to an unnecessary amount of scrolling, which results in customer impatience / bounces. For the most part the customer wants two columns and four to six products on the screen. Be aware: three columns may make the product images too small. A/B test your way into a sweet spot.

When it comes to optimizing your mobile experience, there is no silver bullet. The reality is, different shoppers may react in unique ways to the same experience. Hopefully the aforementioned tactics provide a blueprint for A/B testing your way into a mobile approach that works best for engaging your audience in mobile.