Being online today is often synonymous with using a mobile device, where we are likely to use a tablet or smartphone to socialise, pay bills, compare products, and shop. With an estimated $22.37 billion spent on online retail over the 12 months prior to April 2017, it’s clear a mobile-first approach is especially important for transactional eCommerce sites. That means websites must be designed with multiple contexts in mind to ensure users get a seamless experience, no matter what device they’re on.
What are the benefits of a mobile-centric approach?
Users demand a fast, concise, and coherent mobile experience, especially when they’re shopping. Research shows that 65% of Australians have browsed eCommerce sites on their smartphones, and nearly two-thirds of under 35s have made purchases using their smartphones. With only seconds to impress, a poorly designed mobile site is often the difference between a sale and a lost customer.
A well-designed mobile experience is far more likely to result in a conversion. It can also increase conversions from existing mobile traffic. Even Google favours mobile – its search index prioritises responsive sites, ranking them based on their mobile experience. With poor mobile functionality, a site is likely to slip down the SERPs (search engine result pages).
Developing a mobile-first approach
A mobile-first strategy prioritises eCommerce design for smartphones, tablets and mobile devices over traditional desktop web design. But, even before applying a mobile-first strategy, marketers should first aim to understand the user, what’s important to them, and gather insights into their customer journey.
For example, a typical user journey could look like this: a customer first sees an ad for a product on TV or in a magazine, then researches the product or brand on their desktop, and finally makes a purchase on their mobile. This is when a more holistic mobile-in-mind approach – that prioritises consistency across all channels – can be particularly useful.
What does a mobile-in-mind strategy look like?
In eCommerce, a mobile-in-mind strategy usually takes the following into consideration:
Responsive site design, optimised for mobile, but consistent across all channels.
Optimised navigation with customer-centric UX, simple functionality, and appealing CTAs.
Content prioritisation with a mobile experience in mind.
Streamlined checkout to minimise cart abandonment.
As mobile device use increasingly becomes the new normal, so will the shift away from desktop-first design. It's also likely that the integration of new technologies, like virtual, augmented, and mixed reality, will bring even more changes in device functionality and opportunities for eCommerce retailers.
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