Last year, more than half of UK online sales took place on smartphones and this figure is predicted to rise to 73% by the end of 2021. This significant shift towards mobile shopping means that eCommerce companies need to put their mobile sites at the forefront of their development if they are going to reap the rewards. In this post, we’ll look at the most important things you need to do to optimise your online store for mobile customers.Test your mobile site?
1. Test your mobile site
Before you start making improvements to your mobile site, the first thing you need to do is test how mobile-friendly it already is. The most obvious place to do this is with the Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool (there is also one provided by Bing).
Typing in your URL will enable Google to check whether there are any problems with the mobile version of your website that can affect a user’s visit. If issues are found, they will be reported back to you so that they can be dealt with. Following this, log into your Google Search Console account and ask it to produce a Mobile Usability Report and this will highlight any other issues that Google may find.
2. Make your mobile checkout easy to use
Shopping cart abandonment rates increase according to the difficulty that users have in buying your products. The best way to ensure users don’t jump ship before they buy is to make the process quick and very simple. To do this, forget delaying the process with lots of additional upsells or getting users to fill in endless details. Instead, just get the information that’s necessary and let them make the sale. One way to do this is to let customers purchase as a guest instead of forcing them to create a user account.
You can also speed up the sales process by enabling a wider range of payment options, such as PayPal or Apple Pay. Enabling these means the user won’t have to input personal details to make the purchase as they are pre-stored on their devices.
Finally, make sure you display trust symbols on your site as many potential customers leave at the last minute if they don’t trust the security of your website. Having an SSL certificate is crucial if you want your site labelling as secure by the user’s browser.
3. Design your site for touchscreen use
Mobile screens display information differently to desktop sites and simply using a responsive theme doesn’t always make for good customer experience. Designing pages so that they can be interacted with easily by someone using one hand can have a dramatic impact on online sales.
To start, make sure menus and call to actions are highly visible, big enough to read and easy to tap. Also make sure that they are not so close to other clickables, such as social media buttons, that they get touched by mistake. At the same time, avoid the use of pop-ups that, on small screens, can cover important text or navigation and have ‘X’ buttons so small that they cannot be tapped accurately.
4. Make navigation easier
The three-line navigation icon has become a universally accepted sign for mobile sites and to make it easier for users, you should ensure your theme displays this. For ease of use, this should be placed at the top of your mobile pages where visitors expect to find it.
If you use footer and side menus on your desktop pages, you may want to move those links to the top menu on your mobile site. However, as this is a dropdown menu, make sure it is easy to scroll through – you don’t want the items so small they cannot be individually touched or the list so long it disappears off the bottom of the screen.
5. Provide a search bar
With navigation being more difficult using a thumb on a small screen, some mobile users prefer to search a website for the items they are looking for. To do this, however, you’ll need to provide a search bar where users can type in their enquiry. You’ll also have some visitors who come to browse first and then search for specific things later – for this reason, make sure both ways of navigation are available.
6. Speed up your website
Today’s internet users expect websites to load instantly and will soon lose their patience if your site is lagging. Unfortunately, this can be even more of an issue with mobile sites as the page loading speed depends to some extent on the quality of their connection. If they are using low-speed public wi-fi or don’t have a 4G network connection this can slow down your site.
To combat this, you need to do all you can to make your site load as quickly as possible. You can do this by shrinking the amount of data your site needs to load, for example, using a content delivery network, compression, caching and image optimisation. Updating to a better hosting package, such as VPS hosting is another way to boost performance.
Mobile optimisation is a key way to make sure your website provides the best user experience for the increasing numbers of smartphone shoppers. To do this, make it load quickly, ensure it can be navigated and searched easily, design your pages to be effective on the small screen, and streamline the sales process so that it’s simple and quick to check out. If you are looking for hosting that will boost the loading speed and performance of your mobile eCommerce site, check out our VPS packages.