Mobile Ecommerce: 15 Ways to Optimize to Increase Conversions

Quick quiz: What’s the most dominant device for online activity?

Yes indeed, it’s the smartphone. And that’s been the case for 3 years now.

Second question: What device do shoppers prefer to use when spending their money?

It’s still the computer.

Mobile retail trends do show mobile ecommerce will continue carving a slightly larger percentage of the pie each year.

Mobile ecommerce is on the rise, as shown in this Statistica graph

However, a large gap still exists between the share of time spent on mobile, 69%, and the share of dollars spent, 20%.

5 reasons people don't convert on mobile

Look closely at the donut charts and you’ll learn Comscore’s study reveals 5 reasons conversion on mobile suffers:

  • Security concerns
  • Cannot see product detail
  • Navigating is difficult
  • Can’t browse multiple screens/compare
  • Too difficult to input details

Clearly, brands bound to thrive in a mobile-first world going forward will want to equip themselves to overcome these issues.

Let’s dive into 15 ways you can make the cash register ring more often with smart approaches to ecommerce mobile optimization.

(RELATED: 21 Lessons the World’s Largest Online Retailers Spent Millions to Learn)

1. Create a speedy site

It’s simple. Slow loading sites repel shoppers.

How website performance affects shopping behavior

Remove any unnecessary images and compress the images you do present. Use automated mobile acceleration solutions and put your website to the test with Google’s free mobile-friendly testing tool.

2. Nix the pop-ups and sidebars

Anything that distracts or annoys shoppers will backfire. Pop-ups, which are often difficult to close on mobile, are a common culprit. Also, if your pages still use a sidebar, it’s time to consider revisiting that strategy. 

3. Make navigation simple and intuitive

Give customers the intuitive browsing experience they expect with a fixed navigation bar that stays on screen. Make it easy to find products with search and buy with some form of checkout or “add to cart” button.

this is what an optimized mobile ecommerce experience can look like

“It’s official: mobile ecommerce on-site search experiences are abysmal,” writes BigCommerce in an article about the topic. However, it’s the preferred product-finding tactic of mobile shoppers. Make it visible, open, and easily accessible.

4. Create finger-friendly buttons

In addition to considering the creative elements of your call to action button, consider its size and location. Fingers are larger than mouse pointers.

Make sure the button has adequate spacing and is wide enough so shoppers can easily click on it without having to change their hand position. Don’t make would-be buyers work hard.

A heat map of where people can reach on a phone screen

Smashing Magazine gives an interesting lesson on the good and bad zones on mobile devices for those that use their thumbs or “cradlers” who click with their pointer finger. 

5. Make a sticky buy button

Don’t make shoppers hunt for the buy button. Ensure the all-important button remains on screen regardless of where the shopper is on the page.

Sticky buttons like this one on the apple site help with mobile ecommerce optimization

However you navigate around product pages on Apple’s mobile website, the buy button will remain on-screen.

6. Display great images

The success of image-based social networks reflects the mobile user’s preference for visual content. Engage your audience visually with compelling photos positioned strategically on the page. Offer different angles of the product and the ability to see close-ups when possible.

mobile ecommerce site example

Warby Parker makes it easy to look at the frames the customer is considering from multiple angles.

67% of consumers say that the quality of a product image is “very important” in selecting and purchasing a product (compared to 54% who feel the same way about long product descriptions and 53% who give ratings and reviews the same credence).
Source: MDG Advertising.

7. Keep the products descriptions concise

Product page design should factor in the limited display space and feature short and to-the-point copy. Add detail where you must, but when a product name, price, and call to action works, keep it simple.

8. Inject personality

There’s no reason to be dry and predictable. Make shopping fun and personable with enticing descriptions that represent your brand’s voice and differentiates it. Too much text will take the emphasis off the product. Let your product photos do the rest of the work.

9. Present thematic product browsing

As the name suggests, thematic product browsing allows users to browse by a theme, such as a season, occasion, style, etc. Thematic browsing can widen the users shopping experience. Consider creating features such as finders, assessments, or guides to help users find relevant products.

example of mobile ecommerce grouping

Target’s ecommerce mobile optimization is honed and perfected. The website offers “Bullseye’s Playground” where you can select thematic paths for décor, toys, education, classroom storage, and supplies.

10. Make it easy to save orders

Understand your potential mobile customer may be on the move and is also likely to be multitasking. They may find the product they’re looking for but don’t have the time or availability to make the purchase there and then. Therefore, you want to make it easy for would-be buyers to easily save their orders to complete later. 

11. Design friendly forms

Obviously, making the sale requires that your checkout form doesn’t chase away the buyer. Remember, fields that are difficult to engage with will threaten your sales.

Build your forms more effectively with:

  • Essential fields only
  • Full-width fields
  • Clearly labeled fields
  • Legible type
  • Marks to indicate required fields
  • Immediate response to errors
  • A call to action immediately below the form

12. Make orders easy to edit

Some ecommerce checkout processes invite buyers to edit the choices they’ve made: colors, sizes, quantity, shipping options, etc. That’s fine, but it’s dangerous to send them backtracking.

Instead, make order editing easy. Think about introducing “edit” buttons beside each item that invoke a simple lightbox to the product variations. The idea is to give shoppers the ability to change their choices and save their changes without having to leave the page. 

13. Offer multiple, modern, flexible payment options

Customers want it to be fast and easy to pay. You want it to be fast and easy to collect. Look into digital wallet options offered by advanced ecommerce software platforms that make it simple to offer Amazon Pay, Apple Pay, and PayPal into your sites—without taxing coding professionals.

chart showing that complicated checkout is a big reason why conversions don't happen

A Bayrmard study shows a complicated checkout process is the third highest cause of cart abandonment.

“When we introduced Amazon Pay and an expedited checkout process in our BigCommerce store, we saw a significant lift in conversions—more than 10%—almost immediately,” said BigCommerce customer Rick Culleton, CEO of Discount Electronics, in a case study.

“It made our checkout process even simpler and faster for those customers who were ready to buy and didn’t want to wrestle with form fields or credit card data entry.”

14. Set up SSL

If security tops the list of conversion killers, overcoming it must be a priority. Make sure your website is secured by SSL to display a lock sign in the address bar, which indicates your website employs advanced encryption.

Form with security info showcased

The address bar on NastyGal.com shows a standard security lock indicating the mobile ecommerce website uses HTTPS for encryption and doubles down with an SSL secure site seal.

15. Display trust marks

Trust marks are symbols designed to indicate your information will be transmitted and stored safely. Consider trust marks such as Norton Security and other security software to assure customers your website is protected.

You may want to also consider partnering with highly trusted brands to include options such as “Login with Amazon” or a PayPal option.

Having PayPal as a checkout option increases trust

NastyGal.com also offers customers a PayPal checkout option, which many buyers are bound to know and trust.

Make mobile optimization easy

Even in a mobile-first world, mobile ecommerce sales have yet to eclipse desktop. To foster continued success for your ecommerce brand, you now need to evaluate the nuances of the customer experience, identify any factors that send shoppers packing, and optimize your mobile experience accordingly.

Raise your conversion rates by giving your mobile ecommerce website a once-over and look for opportunities to employ the tips and tactics presented here.

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