When it comes to online shopping, it’s all about mobile these days.
Mobile devices have become the go-to technology for online shopping in 2019, with 24 percent of consumers making at least one purchase a week through a mobile ecommerce store. This is the first year that mobile phones surpassed other digital devices (desktop, tablet) in the number of ecommerce purchases made.
This raises a critical question: How is your mobile conversion rate performing compared to that of your desktop site?
The fact of the matter is that if your company isn’t investing in mobile conversion rate optimization (CRO), you’re already behind.
See, here’s the thing…
The CRO conventions that you applied to your desktop ecommerce site won’t translate in the same way to your mobile experience. Mobile CRO is a completely different beast to tackle.
This article takes a closer look at how optimizing for mobile is different than optimizing for desktop, and breaks it down into three key focus areas:
Increasing site speed
Optimizing your user experience
Why Is Mobile Conversion Rate Optimization Important?
There are some significant differences between traditional desktop CRO and mobile CRO, and these variations can be the difference between someone clicking the “buy” button or going to another site.
Mobile CRO is focused on both speed and efficiency. Remember: Mobile visitors are typically browsing on a cellular network, which means that web pages, in general, tend to load more slowly if they’re not properly optimized. Additionally, mobile users are browsing on a much smaller screen, which significantly changes the way they browse.
The same general principles of CRO apply, but there are nuances that apply specifically to mobile users. If you don’t know and apply these nuances, you’re going to lose customers.
In fact, if people have a negative experience on mobile, they’re 62 percent less likely to purchase from you in the future.
If you want to retain customers and boost your bottom line, it’s critical to provide both desktop and mobile users with the absolute best version of your website.
15 Practical Tips to Optimize Your Mobile Site
Now that you know why mobile conversion optimization is so critical, let’s talk about how to do it. Here are 15 practical ways you can implement mobile conversion optimization.
Thanks to lightning-fast home internet, LTE (and soon 5G) networks, and web giants like Amazon and Google, we’ve come to expect websites to load almost instantly. If there is any delay, we get impatient and bounce to another site. If you want to optimize your mobile site for conversions, it’s absolutely critical that it loads quickly.
A whopping 64 percent of smartphone users expect pages to load in four seconds or less. If your site is taking longer than four seconds to load, your conversion rate is probably suffering. To complicate matters, Google considers site speed when indexing and ranking your website. The slower your website, the worse your SERP ranking will be.
So how can you improve your overall site speed?
1. Load above the fold content first: Organize your HTML code to load above-the-fold content first. This way visitors on your site will see your homepage content first while lower-priority items continue to load in the background.
2. Avoid redirects: In layman’s terms, redirects are when visitors click on one web page and get redirected to another web page.
Having redirects on your site generates additional HTTP requests, and each of these requests can slow down your site’s load time. If possible, try to eliminate them altogether. For your mobile site, you should really only have an HTTP redirect that will take visitors from your desktop site (example: ecommercesite.com) to your mobile site (example: m.ecommercesite.com).
3. Resize your visual content: Images account for roughly 60 percent of your site’s weight. Large image sizes will dramatically slow down the load time of your site. The size of each page on your site should be about 1-2MB maximum, but a surprising number of ecommerce sites (especially image-heavy ones) are upwards of 8-15MB per page. To avoid this, resize and compress your images to fit the exact dimensions you need, and save the image as a PNG instead of a JPG. Also, consider the number of images you’re using on your site. The more images you have, the slower the load time will be.
Note: To get a sense of how your mobile site is performing, use Google’s Page Speed Insights tool. It will show you how both your mobile and desktop sites are performing, as well as provide recommendations for improvements. Optimize your user experience for conversions
When it comes to optimizing your experience for conversions, you’ll want to follow many of the same conventions that you do for optimizing your desktop site. Your site should be easily navigable and should minimize the number of steps necessary to make a purchase. You may have a site that loads in two seconds or less, but if the user experience (UX) is clumsy, your conversion rate will still suffer.
4. Integrate digital wallets: Customers want to be absolutely sure that their information—particularly their payment information—is secure. In fact, 19 percent of customers abandon their carts because of security concerns over giving out their payment information.
To alleviate concerns, offer digital wallet payment options, such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Google Pay, or Android Pay. This provides customers with a secure, trusted payment method, which can help alleviate security concerns.
5. Simplify navigation: Few things make mobile browsing more difficult than a cumbersome navigation menu. If you try to port your desktop navigation menu directly to your mobile site, there’s a good chance that it’ll be too detailed and clunky, lowering your overall conversion rate.
Ideally, you should give your customers a comprehensive menu that highlights your key products and makes it easy for customers to quickly get to any area of your website.
6. Only have one call-to-action (CTA) per page: Generally speaking, too many CTAs on a page creates friction for users and lowers your overall conversion rate. This is even truer on mobile sites, where screen real estate is limited. Cluttering the user experience with multiple CTAs can complicate the flow of the site and confuse visitors. A good rule is to only include one CTA on each key page of your mobile site.
7. Shorten the purchase path: The more clicks required to complete a purchase, the more you’re hurting your conversion rate. This is why Amazon has made 1-click ordering such an integral part of the shopping experience. They want to make it as easy as possible for users to add a product to their shopping cart and make a purchase. In fact, 59 percent of smartphone users favor companies whose mobile sites or apps allow them to purchase products quickly.
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8. Minimize pop-up usage: Pop-ups can be very disruptive to the user experience, which can frustrate users and lower the overall conversion rate.
If you’re going to use a pop-up, make sure it’s short and sweet. Also, make sure it’s easy to close so that visitors aren’t left trying to figure out how to close it out.
In the pop-up text, try to avoid using negative wording since this can make visitors feel bad about opting out of the pop-up. At the same time, try to create a sense of urgency without being overly wordy.
It should be noted that overly intrusive pop-ups can even affect where your site ranks in Google searches. Google is increasingly focused on giving users a smooth experience, and in 2016 they started penalizing sites where the pop-up covers the entire screen.
9. Don’t include every page on your mobile site: Including every page from your desktop site on your mobile site will result in a cluttered user experience. Include only key pages, and if visitors want to dig further into your site they can use the desktop version.
Note: Google has a great tool to test how mobile-friendly your site is. All you need to do is enter your site URL and wait for it to generate a report. The report tells you if your site is mobile-friendly or not, and gives you specific areas for improvement.
Improve the readability of your content
When it comes to using your mobile site, you have two specific challenges related to readability. First, users are impatient, especially when browsing on mobile devices. If your site is cluttered with walls of text on every page, users will get frustrated trying to read and will bounce.
Second, users are also using significantly smaller screens, and large blocks of text will be exceedingly difficult to read.
You’re better off breaking up your text into much smaller, more readable sections. Make sure the text is easily skimmable as well.
10. Use less text and more visuals: When it comes to designing your mobile site, a picture is truly worth a thousand words. Instead of relying heavily on text, use eye-catching visuals to draw the user in.
For example, instead of including a wordy description for every product, include images that highlight the specifications of the product. Show off the product as much possible. Consider using images of people using the product to help users envision how they would use it.
11. Utilize white space: When it comes to mobile browsing, you want your site to be as readable and skimmable as possible. When adding text to your site, break it up with white space so it is easily skimmable without losing its value.
Use white space and increase the line spacing to make your site much more readable.
12. Shorten your headlines: Because of the limited screen real estate, the headlines on your pages shouldn’t exceed six words. The more words you try to cram into your headline, the less room you have for other content above the fold.
Note: If you’re looking for a way to test the readability of your site, Readable is a great (and affordable) tool you can use to check the copy of any page on your site.
13. Implement autocomplete: It’s no secret that typing on a mobile device can be frustrating. The more you can help your users find what they’re looking for without much effort, the more likely it is that they’ll convert. This is why both Google and Amazon use autocomplete. They want to make it as simple as possible for people to find what they’re looking for.
If possible, implement autocomplete on your site to help customers on the path to a purchase.
14. Use product videos: If a picture is worth a thousand words, you could say that a video is worth ten thousand. Research has shown that product videos can be a very effective method for improving your conversion rate. According to a study by OptinMonster:
79 percent of consumers would rather watch a video than read about a product.
84 percent of consumers have bought something after watching a video.
90 percent of consumers watch videos on their mobile devices.
In terms of mobile conversion optimization, it’s hard to beat the power of video.
15. Make it easy for visitors to check out: Few things are more frustrating than getting to the checkout process and finding it difficult and cumbersome to use. In fact, a complicated checkout process can lead to up to 28 percent of visitors abandoning the transaction altogether.
Make it easy to enter and edit the credit card number. As noted above, offer multiple payment options so that visitors feel as secure as possible. If at all possible, reduce the number of checkout steps required (a single step is ideal). Use a progress bar to show visitors how they are progressing through the checkout process, and implement guest checkout so users don’t have to create an account.
Your goal is to make the checkout process as smooth and seamless as it can be.
A/B Testing Is Your Best Friend
When making changes to your site, it’s absolutely critical that you A/B test the changes to ensure that they’re producing the desired results. After all, it’s entirely possible to implement changes that have a negative effect on your site.
Each ecommerce site is unique to its target audience and industry, so even if you follow all the best practices listed above you still aren’t guaranteed success. You’ll most likely need to test a handful of ideas before you figure out what works best for your site.
Change one variable, A/B test against the original design, evaluate the results, and then make changes as necessary.
Optimizing for Mobile is Essential
Thankfully, mobile conversion rate optimization (CRO) doesn’t need to be a difficult task. If you can implement the recommendations above, you’ll be well on your way to a better, conversion-centered mobile site.
It’s critical to remember that CRO best practices don’t work the same for every ecommerce site. As with every successful CRO project, you’ll need to test out multiple ideas and designs to determine the exact approach your mobile visitors will respond to.
Need help optimizing your mobile site for conversions? Contact The Good for a free landing-page assessment, where we’ll take a look at your site and determine where you should start optimizing.
About the Author
David Hoos is the former Director of Marketing at The Good, conversion rate experts who deliver more revenues, customers, and leads. David and the team at The Good have made a practice of advising brands on how to see online revenue double through their conversion rate optimization services.