Are you ready for the mobile ecommerce revolution? How and why your platform needs to be smartphone optimised

By Branwell Moffat, Director of Commerce Consulting, Envoy Digital – part of the KPS Group.

Consumers love the way mobile enables them to slot online shopping, browsing and product research into their busy day as they sit on the train, wait in line for a coffee or kill time between appointments. 

This mobile browsing activity drives 53% of ecommerce traffic but the desktop is still king when it comes to sales conversions - but this is set to change.

New research from GlobalData suggests that during the next five years annual UK retail spend on mobile will double to £33.2bn, making smartphones the dominant ecommerce channel with a 40% share.

Super-slick shopping experiences

This shift in behaviour has largely been triggered by key players such as Amazon, ASOS and H&M who have gone to great lengths to ensure their platforms are fully mobile optimised, fully integrated and with a super-slick user experience. 

Ecommerce leaders have achieved this thanks to customer-friendly innovations such as wish lists and visual search, alongside seamless checkout purchase options such as Klarna’s ‘buy now, pay later’ and Amazon’s ‘1-click ordering’ which ensure purchasing on a small screen is slick and friction free.

And with GlobalData’s research showing that 80.2% of online shoppers, under 35, have purchased using their smartphone, it’s time all ecommerce retailers optimise their platforms for the coming age of mobile conversion.

Battle to be the best

Recent advances are just the start; however, ecommerce firms are expected to intensify their efforts to make their mobile platforms the best. We can expect significant investment in mobile-optimised sites and apps, alongside advancements in technology and a surge in social commerce stimulated by advances such as Instagram Checkout.

Clothing and footwear are expected to be a driving force behind the channel, according to GlobalData, with mobile accounting for 19.1% of all clothing & footwear expenditure by 2023, up from 9.2% in 2019.

With over half of online shoppers now purchasing via mobiles, retailers have been forced to prioritise mobile development to provide smooth shopping experiences.  

The journey to optimisation

So how can ecommerce firms start their journey towards mobile optimisation? Here are some the hints and tips savvy web designers should be aware of: 

Are you mobile friendly? The first and easiest way to start optimising is to check whether Google deems your site to be mobile friendly. This can be done using their Mobile-Friendly Test tool. 

Prime position: The most important visual elements of any mobile ecommerce site should be on prominent display when a customer first arrives. That means company logo, search window and a strong call to action that introduces the shopper to your onsite sales funnel. 

Personalisation and relevance are key: Tailor each mobile experience to your customer and give them reasons to keep coming back. This may be a tailored selection of products, access to curated content or details of the customer’s loyalty status.

Speed is of the essence: Speed is crucial, especially on mobile where there are so many distractions fighting for your customer’s attention. Faster website load times can be achieved by taking steps like image optimisation – i.e., reducing file space through Photoshop or third-party applications – or content delivery networks (CDNs) which cache content, enhance speed, performance, and delivery of internet content for users.

Streamline your checkout: 23% of the time, customers will abandon their purchases if they proceed through additional steps, only to discover that they have to register for an account before checking out. Make it simple for customers – offer guest checkout, so they don’t have to enter in personal information if they choose not to.

Metrics are key: Google Analytics metrics can provide a lot of valuable insight, including everything from the amount of time customers are spending on your site to which page they exit the site from, just for starters. Page views indicate the effectiveness of your content – whether it has drawn visitors in, and how engaging it might be. Another important metric is bounce rate, which measures whether a visitor stayed on a single page and then departed. This can hint at any number of problems, such as poor copy, performance or design.

Conclusion

There’s little doubt that achieving growth in the UK retail market could be challenging in the months and years ahead, due to a range of factors including shaky consumer confidence. Against this backdrop, retailers must respond to changing shopping behaviour and switch their focus and resources from desktop to mobile to deliver the fully optimised digital experiences customers demand.

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