5 Tips to Improve Your Mobile Ecommerce Sales

The majority of retailers are failing smartphone users who want to buy online.

Uptake of smartphones in the UK has surged with 62% of adults now using a smartphone device, with 83% saying they go online using this device. Better handset technology, combined with faster 4G browsing has seen traffic from smartphones and tablets overtake traffic from laptops and desktop browsers on many ecommerce sites.

Houston, we have a problem!

Fast Moving Technology

While technology manufacturers relentlessly push out new and exciting functionality to a market ferociously consuming these new devices, few online merchants are keeping pace with the needs of smartphone browsing consumers.

In simple terms, online retailers have fallen behind a rapidly moving smartphone technology curve.

For this reason, across a wide spectrum of sectors and markets, we find that website conversion rates on smartphones are typically 1/3 those on tablets and PCs.

This is at odds with the amount of traffic that arrives through smartphones, which is often at least comparable to tablet traffic but more often comparable to the more prolific PC traffic.

Why is conversion important you ask?

When we refer to conversion rates, in this context, we are referring to a visitor to your website, using a smartphone and completing a purchase before leaving your site.

If your smartphone conversion rate is 1% and you increase it to 2%, you have doubled smartphone sales. What would that mean to your bottom line and ROI?

In order to maximize online sales, we often recommend splitting clients ecommerce offering into two groups:

Here are 5 tips to help you increase conversion rates of visitors who use their smartphone to visit your website. While these are five really important areas to focus on, this is by no means an exhaustive list, and over the coming months we will be discussing other tips to help grow your online sales.

  1. Improve page load speed

    Even with 4G, smartphones need all the help they can get to deliver a fast, smooth user experience.

    Photos that are sized for large PC and laptop screens are too big for smartphone sites and slow down page loading speeds.

    Serve up optimized images for smartphones and remove unnecessary content from pages that will slow down page loading speed.

    For fast page loading and good user experience, follow the KISS strategy - Keep It Simple Silly. If it isn't vital to the smartphone user experience, remove it.

  2. Improve navigation

    Large, complex, top level drop down navigation panels which work well on PC and laptop, often provide a confusing experience for smartphone visitors.

    Use images on the home page to guide visitors intuitively to popular products or page destinations within your website - employ 1 click, visual navigation.

    Combine this visual approach to navigation with a reduced drop down top level navigation designed especially for smartphones to remove the clutter of sub category and rarely visited information pages.

  3. Improve product search function

    Finding products on a smartphone using a search function designed for PC and laptop can be awkward and confusing.

    Worse still, the search often returns the user many products that on a laptop screen can be viewed on one page, but on a smartphone results in an endless scrolling page of products that can take an unacceptable time to load due to many unoptimised product images being downloaded.

    Incorporate voice search functionality to make use of smartphone capability and allow the user to enter long detailed search requests that result in only a few products being returned in the results page.

    Not only will this improve the speed and usability of the site but will ensure that the products returned actually match the users buying intent, increasing conversion rates.

  4. Improve checkout

    Imagine that I am standing at a major train station, waiting for my train home from the office. I'm bored, so I start browsing your site. I find what I am looking for and add it to my cart before moving onto your checkout.

    Unfortunately, your checkout is only built with PC and Laptops in mind so the pages ask for a lot of information and take too long to load as I move through your 4 page checkout. On page three of your checkout I give up and abandon my cart.

    By developing a one page checkout for mobile or offering fast checkouts like Paypal Express, retailers have the ability to dramatically reduce cart abandonment and increase conversion rates by simply making it easier to complete a purchase.

  5. Consider visitor user goals

    Research suggests that smartphone users often have very clear and defined user goals when they visit a website on their smartphone.

    Often they are looking to complete a specific act which might be answering a question like "I'm looking for your shop, where are you located" or "I want to buy this specific product I know you stock."

    A review of your website analytics and onsite visitor behavior will provide much data about the most popular pages on your site.

    Carefully consider the goals of your most important visitors i.e. the goals of those visitors who generate the most income on your site across all browser types (PC, Tablet and Smartphone)

    Clearly signpost these popular destinations using visual navigation and clear titles that make it obvious and intuitive to these important, high or frequent spending visitors, letting them know how they can quickly achieve their user goals and convert.

    e.g. Book Tickets Here, Phone No. & Map, This Weeks Arrivals, Hot Offers

Online retailers who intend to maximize ROI on digital spend will undoubtedly benefit financially from taking smartphone visitors seriously.

At Two Boiled Eggs we have developed a light and fast mobile ecommerce website designed specifically to improve conversion rates of smartphone users.

For a number of our clients, increasing the smartphone conversion rate by 1% has seen monthly sales grow in excess of £10,000 per month.

Let's talk about how our experience and in house technical expertise can help grow your online sales.

Published: 04 Nov 2014

Author: Iain Coplins