Heralding that the event would come for a number of years, last year it finally happened – Google announced that more people browse the internet on the their mobile devices, than they do on more-traditional desktop computers. The continued rise in mobile-technology has undoubtedly contributed tothis fact – many mobile browsers are now just as quick as their desktop counterparts, making it much easier for people to browse the web for when they're on the go. Added to that the increasing availability of wireless internet in homes and public places up and down the country, makes it much easier to see why the predication has come true. To put the statement in a clearer perspective - Google associates tablet computers with desktops, so the statistics which they used to announce this statement, are taken from mobile phones only. This just goes to show the sheer impact that mobile phones have on our internet use – and that number can only grow as time (and technology) moves ever onwards.
For websites, this news has meant that they will need to attempt to make their designs more responsive to the vast majority of web browsers, in order for them to be viewed better by the now-dominant (and still growing) mobile device viewership. If you run an ecommerce site – then for your business, it's vital that your website is responsive to all devices. Putting it simply – if users can't view your website properly, then they aren't going to be able to be converted into a customer and as a result of their one-time visit to your site – will possibly have a negative view of your business.
On this subject, let's look at 10 aspects needed for great design of a mobile ecommerce website;
1. Make it responsive – The internet is a great leveller – out in the real world the biggest stores are able to invest in the biggest, most attractive places in which to sell their products. On the internet, even the smallest of businesses are able to set up shop in a more-attractive store than the bigger companies – and they achieve this by making sure that the design and content is responsive across all devices. You can run a mobile responsive test via Google's tool – if your website isn't responsive to mobile then you really should think about an entire redesign to get the most of a growing mobile user-market.
2. Make mobile design the priority – The idea behind this is that all websites, be they on mobile, tablet, PC etc are designed, optimised and developed with a mobile device's connection, user and context in mind. This gives the website a 'base' to work from – as the design will be enhanced or altered, where necessary for the different devices, connections and users. You wouldn't build a house without strong foundations – and as we've learned so far, mobile viewing has become the foundation on which most people build their internet experiences these days.
Mobile-first design requires websites to start anew and for administrators to develop a mobile 'm-commerce' platform that is designed to serve its target audience and to fulfil their needs. For example – if your site was designed to target a younger audience, who statistically use their mobile devices the most – the site will need to combine quick usability with the content created and designed for its target audience.
3. Focus on the user – A great mobile website's design should be backed up with intelligence of what your target user wants and needs from it. You can achieve this by;
- Market research – What do you your customers want? Have a look at what your competitors do and how they are able to attract customers. How can you match their usability, yet do things differently so that customers will choose your services, rather than theirs?
- User testing – You will need to fully-test the functions of the website thoroughly before it 'goes live'. Can a user navigate the website easily? Do the forms and payment systems work? If the website goes live without much testing taking place and an error occurs – this will only cause the user to have a negative experience and lose you a conversion.
- Monitoring behaviour – How long do people spend viewing your website? Where do they find your website? Where in the world are the majority of your users coming from? All these questions and more can be answered if you monitor the behaviour on your website and take steps to exploit them.
- Feedback – Encourage feedback from your users – the only way you can improve your website is by understanding their experiences in using the site. Generally, people will only leave feedback if they have had an extremely positive experience of your website – or a very negative one. Come up with an idea of encouraging everyone to leave honest feedback, which will present you with a clearer picture about what, if anything, you need to improve on your website.
4. Context and intention - The point of mobile devices of course, is that they are portable and there will be different situations in which customers will use it to visit your website – this is the context. Also, there are different reasons as to why they might want to use it – this is the intention. The more you know about a user's context and intention behind their visit to your website, the better position you'll be in as you are then able to offer the relevant content, offers or services to meet their expectations, which will ultimately (hopefully!) convert them into customers.
5. Think about your customer's needs and concerns – The difference between the internet and a local store is that you can't physically see who is selling you the goods online – so the trust element is different. Entering in to a new online relationship that involves finances will always involve an initial degree of unease for the customer, especially if the transaction occurs remotely. Making a purchase from a website for the first time will involve an aspect of form-filling – which at the best of times can be tedious to go through, but that tedium is multiplied when it's done on a mobile device – so imagine the reaction if the site isn't well-optimised for mobile devices!
The only way to make this process easier is to make it as easy and frictionless as possible – minimise everything. Only take information that you truly need – if you take additional information (name, address, payment details etc) then you need to justify why you want that information from them – get this right and you'll gain a conversion and a possible long-term customer, get it wrong and they won't convert at all.
6. Keep it simple – but elegant! Mobile ecommerce websites should be focused on the services that your users want and making it easy for them to able to access whatever they need to achieve that. There's nothing worse than a confusing, bloated website that tries to do everything for everyone – but ends up doing everything badly. Aside from being eternally frustrating for a user to not be able to find what they want – too many elements on a website will simply slow it down, further making the user's experience a negative one. Through a well-researched plan and clear usability tests that focus solely on a user's experience, it's achievable to make even the most complex of websites and their services, simple.
7. Making visits more convenient with multi-channels – Just because your mobile website is slightly different to your desktop version, it shouldn't mean that you need to change any products, services or prices on any of your channels for any reason. If you increase the ways in which a user can view and purchase your products and services, then the likelihood is that your conversion rate will be high. A could example is that if you sell through the Amazon store, but your customer only uses eBay – they are going to simply walk away and look for a competitor who has an integrated eBay store. Having Multi-channels in which to sell your products, enables you to give users more of an opportunity to stay on your site and the encouragement to buy from you.
8. Linking your channels – With the nature of mobiles being used 'on the go' it means that users will get interrupted during their visit and leave the site for a period of time before coming back it to later, sometimes on another device. This can potentially cause problems for both the user and the website as mobile and desktop sites exist on different channels, so therefore their progress (for example, their viewing history) won't be displayed from one channel to another, which will obviously make it difficult to catch up to wherever they were before they got interrupted. This is especially harmful to your business as it has the potential to lose the conversion to one of your competitors, who a user would view as 'having a better website' so therefore 'is a better company'. Having that 'better website' would need you to link your channels, so that it provides a much-easier user experience. For example - a user will be able to save their browsing progress on their mobile, then pick it up on a desktop, meaning that they will have a more positive view of your website and are more likely to be converted into a customer.
9. Friction-reducing – Using a mobile to visit a website can sometimes be a challenge, particularly with a smaller screen, the variation in internet speeds and especially, with any forms that the user has to fill in. Making the whole process to run as efficiently as possible has to be the objective for your mobile ecommerce website. Typical friction points that won't work with mobiles if not designed well, include product search boxes, form filing, as well as the whole payment and delivery selection process. The solution is to simply keep the design simple, learn from your user's behaviour and be prepared to improve your site on a regular basis.
10. Performance – as touched on earlier, cramming too many aspects into your website will slow it down and create a negative experience for a user – all aspects of a website should be kept to a minimum and only contain vital elements. But aside from your user's experience, there are other factors at play as to why you shouldn't overload your website – namely the page speed's ability to affect your website's position in a search engine. If your website is found to be 'mobile friendly' then it will rank higher in a Google search, for example. Google also have an initiative (Accelerated Mobile Pages – AMD) that is designed to help companies to speed up their pages by making them mobile friendly. It's vitally important that your website is mobile-friendly, looking out of the Google playground, rather than looking evilly into it, wondering why not many users don't want to play with you.
When you've considered and put in place some of these ideas, you'll be well on your way in making your website the best it can be. Remember – the key to producing a great website is by laying down a plan of what you want to achieve, as well as the needs of your target audience. Be sure to incorporate these elements into your website design before embarking on the task of actually designing it. Nothing worth visiting was ever built without a plan in mind – researching and planning won't cost much but a successful ecommerce business will be of a greater worth to you.
Advansys – Specialists In Mobile Friendly Website Design.
We are proud to be able to offer a quality and bespoke mobile ecommerce designs for any type of online business. Vastly knowledgeable and experienced, our experts are here to help you to learn how to get the maximum potential out of your website. For more information on how we can help to improve your online conversions, please don't hesitate to contact us on 0838 050 2700 or send us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
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