A better mobile experience, everyone wants it. Especially your customers.
The eCommerce industry continues to grow every year and mobile shopping is growing right along with it.
Take this statistic from Internet Retailer for example. In June 2013, 55% of all e-retail occurred from a mobile device. That is huge!
In order to stay relevant, merchants need to be educated as to why they need a responsive site and how it should work.
eCommerce platform companies need to keep innovating and allowing for complete customizability. This in turn helps web designers and developers that aim to see their eCommerce business clients succeed in the billion dollar industry.
We’ve spoken to some experts that have shared their tips for designing a better m-Commerce experience.
The m-Commerce Experts Weigh In
Built By Buffalo
People use their tablet or mobile in different situations, on the sofa or while out socialising. Keeping this in mind ensures that any relevancy about the products or service is communicated clearly to the user throughout the site.
Design for flow
Users should be able to find, evaluate and purchase an item as quickly as possible. While crucial on desktops, this is even more important on mobile – you have to reduce the barriers to a customer finalising an order. As images are a key tool for online sales, try to consider the best methods to allow users to browse through images seamlessly. Galleries and enlarged pictures are two important things to get right in particular.
[Tweet “For a better mCommerce experience, reduce the barriers to a customer finalising an order – @builtbybuffalo”]
Build for speed
With mobile, we find people are often in ‘research mode’ over ‘intent to buy mode’ so providing a user experience that allows them to read, learn or investigate, will help push them along the buying funnel.
Any mobile development should be optimised for touch (thumb friendly!). Research how apps do this to generate ideas.
One final point would be to factor speed optimisation. Look at optimising content, code and the server you’re on as people if using data roaming (not WiFi) to browse, don’t bounce off your site!
Research has shown that search should take precedence over any extensive categorization on the home page for most sites. A key takeaway is that if people want to use your website a certain way, your bottom line will thank you if you feed their desire to get what they want quickly. Design for the way visitors want to use it and not how stakeholders in your organization tend to see it.
Because people are using different devices sequentially, don’t limit your ideas of what’s considered a conversion. People might start a transaction from their phone, but they absolutely need to be able to save their progress and move to another device, or e-mail themselves their progress.
Key takeaway; allow people using devices sequentially to continue their progress without too much interruption or repetition on another device. Respect the people using your websites time.
Rearranging element is much easier and time-effective than designing new elements specifically for mobile devices.”
[Tweet “#eCommerce sites must be responsive to offer customers a seamless experience on mobile – @dotcomweavers”]
Content is king! Or at least, in this case, content simplified and direct as possible is king. While you want your customer to be able to read the same content from one device to another, the key on mobile device and their smaller screens is not to overcrowd and be more direct when describing your products. This may involve breaking up text over multiple pages.
Layout, Navigation and Functionality Simplified
Due to smaller screens on mobile devices, layout and navigation should be must simpler than your standard desktop version. Eliminate unnecessary graphical elements, menu buttons and images that may reduce optimal viewing on mobile devices. And even though you may be breaking up text over multiple pages, the key is to only provide enough details about your product and services that keep navigation easy. This may involve using a completely separate mobile navigation design optimized for touch screens or non-mouse devices.
Checkout Process Simplified
Reduce the number of steps it takes for buying your product or service by adding a guest checkout where a customer doesn’t have to sign up for an account. If a customer is shopping on a mobile device, 9 out of 10 times he wants an expedited shopping experience. If your checkout is more than a couple of steps, display a progress bar that allows the customer to see how many steps remain. And with the advent of so many payment services, offer different ways to pay instead of just debit or credit cards. Google Wallet, PayPal and Amazon are leaders in alternative payment solutions.
[Tweet “If you sell online, it’s not enough to have an awesome site. To remain competitive, you need a great mobile version”]
Mobile users don’t want to have to hunt down what they’re looking for. It makes sense that visitors will quickly leave sites that are not user-friendly. That’s why easy navigation for any eCommerce store is absolutely crucial. It should let customers find the product or information they need without any delays or difficulties. Clearly labeled tabs or categories are very helpful to visitors.
Sixty-seven percent of consumers say the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and making a purchase. Therefore, how visitors view your site is one of the most vital elements for any eCommerce site. Sites that lack responsive design could make viewing images difficult. Images sized properly and of good, clear quality can mean the difference between a sale or no sale. A 360-degree view of a product goes a step further in the customer experience by giving them an even better look at a product.
Mobile customers aren’t as likely to whip out their credit cards when making a purchase on their phones as they would on a computer. The fewer steps required to make a purchase on a phone the better. Cell phone users don’t have the patience to try and hunt down the “check out” button or provide a lot of personal information. According to statistica.com, Paypal’s mobile payment volume amounted to $27 billion U.S. dollars last year, almost double the amount in 2012. There’s a reason why it’s so popular. It’s a one-stop-shop. Integrating Paypal or Google checkout, which is very similar, will make shopping a breeze for your customers.
The Bottom Line … When mobile customers look up your site on their mobile device, it should capture their attention immediately. After all, first impressions on the web are everything.”
A package of work that is too often missed is an Insight & Planning phase and careful study of analytics. Get to know your mobile audience. Designers face lots of issues, but they’re practical ones and should be answerable before starting a design. Solve it before you go to screen and don’t make assumptions. Doing this package of work can set you apart from competitors, achieving something sticky and unique.
What some businesses don’t realise is that time invested in the early stages of Insight & Planning can be a lot less expensive than getting your design wrong and living with the consequences. Human emotions play approximately 50% of the role in our buying decisions, so you need to understand the psychological triggers that make people respond to you and pull them through to a sales-ready position. It’s complicated and it’s not the sole responsibility of the designer to get this right.
- There’s no such thing as an ‘average user’ – make your persona’s real people and learn to understand the experience they want when shopping on their mobile. Consider also second screens, ‘meerkating’ and the habits of your mobile audience.
[Tweet “Human emotions play approximately 50% of the role in our buying decisions – @thinkingjuice”]
The rules to become better informed about your online business and the way you deal with transactions on mobile are these:
- Design for your audience, not who you think they are or who you want them to be.
- Don’t expect the same behaviour on desktop to translate to mobile.
- Invest in Insight & Planning to change the unknowns about your audience.
- Should analytics and user testing say to change something, split test it and change it.
- Think two-dimensionally – how do you turn customers into loyal followers and repeat visitors?
- Keep one eye on technology and one eye on your competitors. Stay in front.
- Plan the growth of your digital business only 12 months ahead. Keep analysing it.
- Never be happy with a conversion rate.
Mobile customers typically spend less time on-site so retailers should look to compress the customer experience to reflect the available space/time in a way that meets or exceeds expectations.
Delivering customer convenience on mobile devices is a function of great design.
For example, look to make product search and navigation as intuitive as possible so customers can easily find products. Also, look to communicate that the checkout process is streamlined (but make sure that if you promise a “One-minute checkout” you can deliver on this).
[Tweet “Streamline your #eCommerce checkout process for a better mobile experience – @wearehumaan”]
Users browsing via mobile often want an easy way to make contact with a retailer. Again, design choices that facilitate this via a prominent “call” or “view map” buttons save time for customers looking for phone support or a physical store location.
Making life easier for your customers will lead to a positive brand perception, providing a valuable edge over the competition and shifting the focus away from price-driven strategies.”
Add larger pictures and more of them. Don’t rely on pinch and zoom. If you want clients to convert on a mobile device you have to make the picture big and have multiple close up pictures of the product. Mobile devices are small, so you have to work hard to make the experience easy.
Make your Buy button huge. We see this often. All of the product information and options and a tiny Buy button at the bottom. You have to make it easy for people to buy your product on mobile. Increase the size of that Buy buttons target area and take up the width of the screen.
[Tweet “Make it easy for customers to buy your product on mobile by increasing CTA size – @weschyrchel”]
Take some time and dig into your eCommerce stores analytics. It offers a tremendous amount of information about what your customers are doing. Hopefully, these tips help increase your conversions on your next eCommerce store!
Thank you to all our experts who participated in this week’s tips from eCommerce Experts!
If you have any tips to share with the community, we encourage you to leave a comment below. If you’d like to participate in a future expert post, please email email@example.com.
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