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Why optimise for mobile?

In this edition of our series on ecommerce tips we’re going to explore the reasons why you should always optimise for mobile - along with factors to consider that will ensure you get the best results from this essential strategy.

So first of all, why does it matter? Well, with latest statistics highlighting that 39% of visitors to ecommerce websites come directly from mobile devices, that’s a pretty compelling reason in itself to provide an appropriate user experience!

Ultimately, if your site isn’t optimised for mobile, or if it is, but it’s not done correctly, you’re going to notice a significant drop-out at various stages of the buying process. With a smaller screen size on smartphones and tablets, if a user has to hunt for information, they’re very likely to give up and head straight to your competitors.

Other key reasons to choose to optimise for mobile include:

  1. Google rankings – Google favours mobile optimised sites, so it can help with your position in the search results.
  2. Design constraints – a full desktop screen has plenty more room to play with, so you need to ensure your design is adapted to work for a smaller display size.
  3. Cheaper advertising – even though mobile optimisation isn’t new, most ad spend is still focused on desktop sites, so you can often get cheaper ad placements on mobile.
  4. User behaviour – people interact with desktop sites and mobile sites differently, so you need to serve up a great user experience (UX) based on device-specific behaviours.
  5. Increased conversions – with more and more people shopping on mobile devices, a properly optimised site will ensure you bag more sales in your basket.

How to optimise for mobile effectively

Here are our top ecommerce tips for ensuring you make the most of the opportunities presented when you optimise for mobile:

1. Loading speed – mobile users want fast results, so you need to make sure your mobile site pages load in super-quick time.

2. Navigation – keep it clear, keep it simple and make sure navigation buttons are the right size/spacing – otherwise it can get frustrating trying to click on the right one.

3. Shorter headlines – keep headlines to 4 or 5 words to accommodate for display size.

4. Allow images, CSS and Javascript elements – as mobile technology has become more sophisticated, there’s no longer a need to hide these elements, and their presence can help support the search crawlers’ understanding of the website.

5. Use HTML5 instead of Flash – not all smartphones support Flash, so opt for HTML5 as an effective alternative for fancy features.

6. Avoid pop-ups – on a smaller screen size, they can be a real pain to use, so avoid if possible.

7. Reduce URLs – make them shorter for the smaller screen, and it’s worth doing the same for your meta titles and descriptions too.

8. Information structure – only a small bit of information is displayed on a small screen, so have the most relevant information/images at the very stop so users can quickly assess they’re in the right place.

9. Direct dialling – make sure users have the option to click on your phone number for a direct-dial experience from their phone.
Call to action – make it prominent and highly visible, and don’t forget a well-placed search function too!

10. Call to action – make it prominent and highly visible, and don’t forget a well-placed search function too!

Of course a lot of these tips are a matter for your web developer, but they’ll act as a great ‘check list’ for guidance when you’re appointing someone for the job.

It’s also worth pointing out that if you’re considering having an app developed for your business but your site isn’t yet optimised for mobile, you’re getting way ahead of yourself! You’re investment will be much better spent on getting a mobile site sorted first – unless your brand is already well established, an app is likely to be a waste of money.

If you need any further advice or want to talk to someone about getting your ecommerce site optimised for mobile, feel free to drop us a line.

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