How to Optimize Your Ecommerce Website for Mobile Devices
You probably already know that as much as one-third of all ecommerce transactions are completed using mobile devices. Not optimizing your website for smartphones and tablets can lower your conversion rate and cost you sales.
This is especially true now that Google has started using mobile-first indexing.
How mobile-first indexing works
Up until recently, Google used desktop versions of websites for indexing, while mobile websites were looked at as a secondary resource. This resulted in businesses primarily focusing on their desktop websites.
However, the increased use of mobile devices to browse the Internet has compelled Google to start treating mobile websites and pages as primary sources of information through its mobile-first indexing.
While this doesn’t mean that websites without a dedicated mobile presence won’t be included in Google’s search results, it does mean that their ranking might be negatively affected.
Benefits of optimizing your ecommerce website for mobile devices
Your website should be able to deliver information to mobile visitors in a way that’s the most appropriate and convenient for them. If mobile users can’t find what they’re looking for on your website easily, they’ll leave and look for information somewhere else.
Providing a bad mobile browsing experience can show your business in a bad light, as well as cause anger or frustration for your mobile visitors.
By not having a website that’s optimized for mobile devices, you might be giving off the impression that you don’t care about your customers’ experience.
Optimizing your website for mobile devices can help you:
Provide a better customer experience
You can avoid this by optimizing your website for mobile devices. This will help your visitors have an easier time finding what they’re looking for, as well as provide them with a better customer experience.
Improve your search engine rankings
With Google preferring mobile-friendly websites, making sure that your ecommerce website works flawlessly on mobile devices will ensure that you’re able to rank high in Google’s search results.
Gain an edge over the competition
With the ecommerce space being as competitive as it is, you need to do whatever you can to gain an edge over your competition. One way to do this is to provide your mobile visitors with a great browsing experience.
Since only 56% of businesses report having a website that’s optimized for mobile devices, ensuring that your website works flawlessly on smartphones and tablets is an easy way to stand out and have a better chance of attracting loyal customers.
Generate more customers and sales
Providing a great mobile browsing experience will reduce the chances of potential customers leaving your website because of usability issues. If they’re impressed with how smooth the shopping experience on your website is, they’ll be more likely to buy from you and stay long-term customers.
Google will also prefer your website over competitors’ websites that aren’t mobile-friendly, which will enable you to generate even more customers and sales.
The difference between mobile-friendly, mobile-optimized, and responsive
The terms mobile-friendly, mobile-optimized, and responsive keep being thrown around various web design and marketing blogs, sometimes interchangeably. However, these three are not the same.
A mobile-friendly website is a website that’s displayed accurately on both desktop and mobile devices. This type of website might appear smaller on a mobile device, or it might have issues working flawlessly on a tablet, but it will be functional.
A mobile-optimized website goes a step further than simply being mobile-friendly. A website that’s optimized for mobile devices will reformat itself depending on the device it’s displayed on, ensuring that it's displayed in the best way possible on each specific device.
Finally, a responsive website is a type of website that’s entirely flexible, no matter what device you use to view it. Instead of trying to detect what kind of device you use, a responsive website scales and reformats itself based on the screen size of your device.
From a web design standpoint, a responsive website is a great starting point. However, for best results, you should work on optimizing your website for mobile devices.
Different types of websites might require different types of mobile optimization. In this guide, we’ll be discussing specific strategies for optimizing ecommerce websites for mobile devices.
Test your website for mobile-friendliness
Before you start, you should test your website with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool. This will give you an overview of any major issues that might be holding your website back from being mobile-friendly.
If it finds any issues, the tool will give you concrete advice on how to fix them and improve your website.
You can also test out your website using different devices yourself to see how it performs on each specific device.
Design for touch
34.5% of ecommerce transactions are done using mobile devices. With around a third of your customers using a smartphone or tablet to buy from you, it’s obvious that you should make sure that your website works flawlessly on mobile devices.
Before you can optimize your website’s design for mobile, it’s crucial that you understand how mobile users interact with your website. Don’t make the assumption that mobile users will be using your website in the same way that desktop users do.
Mobile users won’t be using a mouse or a touchpad to navigate your website - they’ll be using their fingers. This significantly changes the way in which users interact with your website.
They’ll have a harder time typing in information, so you should try to reduce the amount of information you request from them. This shouldn’t be that hard to do, considering that most ecommerce checkout forms have double the amount of fields than are necessary to complete a purchase.
It’s also going to be more difficult for them to read the text on your website, so you should make sure to use a bigger font.
They’ll also most likely click on the wrong field or button from time to time. To prevent this, make sure to use large input boxes and buttons, and leave enough space between different elements of your website.
Rethink your popups
Popups are very effective for grabbing visitors’ attention. Ecommerce websites, in particular, can benefit greatly from popups.
They can be used to get visitors to sign up to your newsletter, give out their email address in exchange for a discount, or for upselling and cross-selling products.
However, popups can become quite an issue when it comes to mobile browsing. Since mobile screens are a lot smaller, popups tend to take up almost the entire screen and significantly disrupt users’ experience.
The people at Google understands this, and that’s why they’ve introduced penalties for websites that make it hard for visitors to access content.
If you’d like to avoid being penalized, you’ll need to make sure that your popups cover only a small part of the screen. There also needs to be a clear and easy way to close your popups.
Improve your website's speed
43% of people state that they’d never return to a mobile website that was too slow during their first visit. Mobile users, in particular, are very impatient. If your website doesn’t load completely within 3 seconds, they’ll simply leave.
Research has also shown that conversions drop by 7% for each second that goes by before a website is completely loaded.
If you want to make both shoppers and Google satisfied, you’ll need to work on improving the speed of your website.
Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a way for your business to create mobile-friendly versions of each of your website’s pages. AMPs are usually created by stripping away any unnecessary content to ensure a fast loading time.
They’ve been shown to load as much as four times faster than regular pages.
These types of pages were initially used by websites in the publishing industry. Recently, ecommerce websites have started to use them as well.
Depending on the ecommerce platform you’re using, there are various apps and extensions that can help you create AMP versions of your website’s pages quickly and easily.
Consider using AMP for some of the pages on your ecommerce website to try to create a faster browsing experience for your mobile visitors.
Optimize your ecommerce website for mobile devices
Does your website work flawlessly on smartphones and tablets? If it doesn’t, use the tips above to create a better website browsing experience for your customers.