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5 reasons why your ecommerce store is failing on mobiles

24 January 2014

  • Responsive Web Design
  • Ecommerce

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A recent redesign of the popular O’Neill Clothing store created a nearly 600% uplift in revenue due to mobile responsive elements being applied to a 6 week test (Source That’s astonishing and show how vital it is for your store to be utilising responsive web design techniques. Let’s step through 5 reasons why your ecommerce is missing out on vital sales.

1. It’s slow slow I cant use it

Mobile websites need to be fast performing as the connections are obviously slower when on 3G. If you’re trying to push a desktop site at a mobile device you're sending the same amount of data to a phone, which eats up data allowances and will mean a slow experience for your customer. We are looking for a load speed of 3 seconds.

Responsive web design, although providing an optimised experience for the mobile user, doesn’t always mean it provides an optimised load speed, because generally the trend is just to resize images without actually adjusting their file size, meaning you're pushing a full sized image at the mobile device and just tell it to display it a little smaller. You can greatly improve performance with techniques like condition loading, adaptive images and compression of code. Checkout How to speed up responsive websites for more details.

2. The navigation is not tap friendly

A lot of navigational elements a few years ago where based on “hover overs”, i.e. you hover your mouse over a menu block and a drop down sub menu appears. Well, guess what, no one has invented the hover over to touch devices yet, you have to tap the screen, which normally ends up in you going to the root menu instead of the nice drop down being displayed. Annoying, right? Well there is of course hope, with frameworks such as Bootstrap the drop downs appear when you tap the element, and there are JavaScript libraries the allow double tab to act like hover over and single tap to be a click.

Mega menus are fantastic on desktop devices, but they just don’t work the same on mobile devices as there is not enough space for them to display correctly. Therefore we need to utilize a mobile friendly navigation, in my post Cut the rubbish, give mobile users what they want, I discussed 5 different menu techniques that are suitable for mobile devices, go check it out.

3. Above the fold please

On the product pages of your website, what do the majority of customers want to instantly see. I will put my neck on the line and make some common sense assumptions:

  1. Product title

  2. Price

  3. Image carousel with swipe right to left

  4. Add to cart button with quantity selection

These 4 elements have to be above the fold of the page, giving customers instant ability to purchase. I would then recommend just below the fold you have:

  1. Description

  2. Stock information

  3. Reviews (In an accordion with an expand button)

  4. Related and cross selling products

If your product requires more complex options (like size, colour, material, etc) then your page is going to be a little longer and probably push the add to cart buttons down a bit, making the customer choose their configuration options first.

4. Your checkout is a complete nightmare

Have you ever tried to purchase something on your iPhone through a non-mobile site, its a nightmare, you have to pinch and zoom all over the place to see the smallest of checkboxes and it takes forever. This means customers will give up and go elsewhere with a dissatisfaction experience of your brand.

In this example (picture on the left) you can hardly see the required fields and you would need to pinch and zoom to read what they are, luckily however there is a mobile version of the site that shows how much simpler the experience can be (pictured right). You can instantly see the legibility has improved through providing a clear and concise user interface, thumb friendly buttons and a very clear customer journey.

5. Google hates you

Probably a bit harsh, but Google certainly prefers a single URL for desktop and mobile sites making it easier for them to assign indexing properties and discover content on your website. Plus you can refocus your search engine optimisation campaign onto one URL instead of having to build authority for two websites, which is a huge cost saving on its own.

Summing Up

People are on the move, they dual screen at night (TV & Phone / iPad, etc) and are ready to purchase through mobile devices, make sure you are getting the most out of your ecommerce store by going responsive and opening up and completely new channel and order stream.



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