Set Your Sights—And Site—On Mobile!


If you’ve been scrutinizing your site analytics, chances are you’ve noticed that in the past year your visitors and shoppers are beginning to come into your shop via your mobile platform. In fact, since last fall, the majority of consumers are browsing on your site via their smartphones and tablets rather than from their desktops and laptops. Yet, as they’re coming through the mobile front door, are they converting at the same level? Or are you noticing a large exit rate through mobile? Either way, it’s time to take stock. As you watch your customer base migrate toward mobile shopping, you should take note and be proactive. Work smarter, not harder, and stay in front of the changes and upgrades, and most importantly, embrace them and be open to change.

Mobile Design To Drive Customers Through Your Front Door

With an optimized mobile storefront, you truly have a 24/7 site, as 56 percent of the entire population has a smartphone, and this number is increasing, increasing your opportunity for selling products online. A mobile homepage should focus on getting users to the content they’re looking for. Rather than considering your mobile site the same as your desktop, Google recommends putting your calls-to-action where you know users will see them. Mobile users can easily miss menu items, so anything located in them should be secondary to the intended course of action you want your customer to take. Are your mobile calls-to-action different than your desktop? Make sure you put yourself in your user’s shoes when you’re determining placement.

Keep Your Menus Short And Sweet

On your desktop, menus that blow out into subnavigation, with amazing photos and offers, can help your users hone in on what they’re looking for. Conversely, with mobile, keep the menu offerings short and to the point. Mobile users don’t have the patience to scroll through a long list of options; they want immediate satisfaction. When reviewing your site, consider how to present just a few options (above the fold). Dig into your site analytics and discover what the top mobile categories are, which may vary from your top desktop categories. It goes without saying that the category selections need to be thumb-friendly and easy to choose with fat fingers and thumbs!

Same Methodology As Your Desktop

Remember to keep the same expected experience on your mobile site as users have grown accustomed to on your desktop site.

  • For instance, users should be able to tap on your site logo and use it to navigate to your home page; otherwise, they’ll become frustrated.
  • Keep the site search in the header area. This may take up more real estate than it does on your desktop site; but keep in mind that about 50 percent of your customers will go here first to help locate what they’re looking for, and mobile search overall is trending upward. Consider adding smart search features here, such as autocomplete and corrected misspellings to ensure the results are immediately relevant. Definitely make sure that the first items displayed after a search are highly relevant as customers won’t scroll through hundreds of results.
  • Unfortunately, with the condensed space of mobile, some sites have taken to the practice of using the same space for content as for promotions, which causes user confusion and discomfort in using your site. Don’t make that mistake. Also, for promotions, users prefer banners as opposed to large interstitials.

Check Out Or Check Back Later? 

  • Make sure that you don’t have registration gates up too early in the sales process, and always give your customers the option to login as a member or checkout as a guest. If someone is not yet a member of your site, determine if it makes sense to take them out of the mindset of completing their purchase to become a member. Oftentimes it doesn’t; and the member conversation can happen at a later time.
  • If they are a member, maximize their convenience by prefilling information that you have on file to help expedite their checkout. As a small business, if you’re using a third party to complete the payment, make this as simple as possible.
  • If your transactions are complex, or you find that you’re experiencing a huge drop off of orders at a certain point, think about offering a click-to-call button. Some customers will appreciate the option to call when finishing up their order, especially as mobile sales are growing and not everyone is comfortable making transactions this way.
  • Consider having the option to save or share information across devices, so your customers can complete their transactions in a comfortable environment, such as on their desktops. The ability to “share” their cart information in an email to themselves allows them to complete the transaction later.

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