If you haven’t already made sure your website looks and performs great on mobile devices, it’s high time you did. According to Cisco, mobile data traffic grew by a smashing 81% in the last year alone and will continue to expand at least until 2018, when it’s expected to rise to 190 Exabytes per year – which equals the amount of data generated by every person on earth sharing 14 Instagram photos every day of the year. If that’s not enough to convince you, try this: by 2018, there will be more mobile devices connected to the web than people on earth!
In short, mobile already counts for a lot of traffic, and will become a significant platform for user engagement with brands in the near future. In order to provide a great user experience and ensure a high conversion rate, you’ll need to get your e-commerce website optimized for mobile devices.
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Why Optimize At All?
Before you brush off the investment in mobile optimization as another fleeting marketing fashion, consider some of the recent findings about how users behave on mobile websites. An infographic by Demandforce shows several interesting figures that demonstrate how much mobile optimization means for user experience and consequently the relationship consumers develop with the brand.
They suggest that almost half of all users feel frustrated or annoyed when checking a desktop-designed website on their mobile devices, and about 50% of those who had a bad mobile experience are less likely to engage with the brands that didn’t invest in a mobile website.
A recent Google study demonstrated that mobile-friendly websites boost sales, with 67% of users admitting they would actually prefer to buy from mobile-optimized sites. On top of that, more than two thirds of users were inspired to leave a website quickly if it wasn’t mobile-friendly. All in all, mobile optimization is something worth looking into – as an e-commerce venture you’re there to provide the best experience possible, and what better way to do this than to embrace the growing trend for mobile development?
In order to make sure that your website is ready for the mobile revolution, follow the guidelines listed below and make the most from what mobile environments offer to your venture.
It’s good to make sure that the mobile version of your website will always appear on mobile devices. How do you do that? By simply placing special redirects that will detect the moment a visitor is using a mobile device and automatically redirect him to the right optimized version.
Prepare Your Layout and User Interface
When designing the layout of your mobile website, aim for simplicity. Mobile screens have limited space, but you need to make the best of what you’ve got. Leaving blank spaces is not a bad thing – it gives a clean and sophisticated look your website, and helps users in finding the right links and buttons easily.
As for those buttons – they should be designed for large fingers, and should be big enough that users won’t struggle to click them. Navigation also needs to be simplified – users will want to get information with just a few clicks, and you should help them in doing it.
It’s important to keep the layout streamlined and intuitive! It will positively impact the user experience and functionality of the site, which in turn affect its conversion rate.
The Issue of Design
Whether you like it or not, Apple owns over 65% of web traffic from mobile devices in the US, which essentially means that if you’re going to use Flash to design your website, better think twice! The same goes for Java – not only will some phones not support it, but the slow load time can significantly impact your conversion rate. A few seconds of surplus waiting time is enough to ruin any mobile experience.
For data entry situations, use solutions that will make the process smooth. Drop-down menus, pre-populated fields and checklists are great for easy data entry in the mobile world.
What else to remember when designing your website? Keep the number of pages to a minimum and avoid pop-up windows – they can slow the loading time and make it difficult for users to navigate between windows. If it’s an absolute must, make sure to include a navigation button that will take users back to the main page.
After you’re done redesigning your website to look fantastic on mobile devices, it’s time to think about its content. When accessing a mobile-friendly website, users don’t always expect to receive a ‘light’ experience – you should never get rid of the content just for the sake of keeping it simple.
Naturally some information will have to be omitted, but a lot of it can be simply rearranged to fit the mobile context. Place it in drop-down menus so the screen don’t feel cluttered, ensuring your reader can see everything clearly, even on small smartphone screens.
So what’s the most important part of mobile e-commerce websites? Actually, it’s the simple contact information. The Demandforce infographic lists the most important components that users expect to find on mobile website versions:
- Location & Opening Hours
If you have a brick-and-mortar store, more than 3/4 of users on your mobile site are looking for the location and opening hours. This shouldn’t come as a surprise – after all they are mobile, so they could be out and about town looking for directions to your store.
- Click-to-Call Functionality
This is essential since two-thirds of mobile users would like to be able to easily call your customer service without having to write down or copy the phone number.
- E-Mail Address
Just like in the case above, contacting you should be made as easy as possible.
- Social Network Pages
Links to your brand’s social media sites are essential to maintain the connection with your customers and ensure they will come back to your website, including its desktop version.
Give Users a Choice
Finally, you shouldn’t restrict users to have access exclusively to the mobile version of your website when browsing the web from a mobile device. There will be people looking for information included on your desktop version – feature visible buttons on various pages that will redirect the curious users to the full version of your website.
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