If you read our first article on ecommerce statistics (here) you will have seen that 1 in 5 online purchases are now made via mobile devices, and this looks like it will keep increasing. In fact, according to one piece of research 77% of mobile searches are made near a PC. This not only means that mobile shopping is becoming more popular but it is actually preferred – and if your customer has a preferred method of shopping you need to ensure your website supports this.
A mobile friendly website simply means that the website has been specifically designed to work on mobile devices, such as smartphone or tablets. While any website will be able to load on any device, those that are not mobile friendly can end up looking awful on phones or tablets and make the user unable (or unwilling) to explore the site, let alone consider buying anything.
We’ve compiled a list of what a mobile-friendly website needs to include and the logic behind this:
The screen that mobile users will view your website on will, of course, be much smaller than a laptop or PC. The last thing a consumer wants to see is a cluttered mass of information – it will simply frighten them away, so think less is more and let your products stand out.
As with your website, the most important content should be put at the top or ‘above the fold’ (taken from newspaper term, but applies just as importantly to websites). Everything you want the viewer to immediately see should be instantly visible, without scrolling down: this is exactly the same with mobile-websites except you have to be even more cut-throat as the amount of content you first see is even less. This is also the same on individual pages, make sure the ‘Add to basket’ button is easy to spot immediately and simple to select – you want purchasing to be as simple as possible.
Cut back the amount of information on your mobile- site, and then keep cutting it back until you have the essentials. Think about why mobile viewers are going onto your website – this is normally for quick information (contact details, store locations etc.) or for a simple & fast purchase, so there’s no need for lengthy written pieces: less pages equals faster loading and simpler navigation.
The key difference you have to adjust for on a mobile-friendly site is that no user will have a mouse – everything clicked and input will be via touch. Therefore, think ‘fat fingers’ and make sure your buttons are large enough and easy to click so users can always select the right thing without getting frustrated - we ensure our mobile-sites always have a minimum click area of 40px.
Images are great for websites, however they can cause trouble on mobile-websites by taking too long to load – 64% of smartphone users expect websites to load in 4 seconds or less. To improve loading speed, we replace images with smaller versions, ensuring it takes less time to download the content.
Typing in details is even more of a pain on a mobile than it is on a computer, so encourage users to provide their details as they go through an order by making the information requested as simple as possible: think drop-down menus, auto-filling where possible and when text boxes are needed make sure they’re large enough to view!
These are just a few ways to improve the mobile browsing experience and can be applied to any website. Here, we’ve focused on the ecommerce mobile experience as it is an area where businesses can potentially miss out on great sales. As website designers (and mobile shoppers!), it is very frustrating to see websites not suitable for smartphones or tablets when it’s such a hot topic and when simple changes can make a huge difference.
We hope you have enjoyed all 3 of our blogs on Ecommerce: if you missed the others you can find them here: 'Part 1: The Statistics' or 'Part 2: User Experience'
If you have a website and would like to optimise it for the mobile experience, contact one of our talented website designers today.
23 June 2014
We look at the popular ecommerce trends in this visual infographic filled with statistics.