Many of us operate within the business world with a desktop or laptop computer as our primary tool with which we access the web. However, the growth of mobile computing over the last few years has really been astounding. It would be an easy argument that the real face of the internet now is not a PC but a smartphone or tablet:
- According to internet usage tracker Statcounter, which analyzes access to 2.5 million sites, October 2016 marked the first month that mobile traffic exceeded desktop/laptop traffic, at 3% (46.5% smartphone & 4.7% tablet). In 2013, 1 in 4 users (25%) were accessing from mobile; in 2010, 1 in 20 people (5%) were.
- The number of mobile web users globally (not to be confused with mobile phone users) was expected to exceed 2 billion in 2016 (IDC). Look back just 9 years prior to that in 2007, and desktop had 1.1 billion users vs. 400 million on mobile (comScore). In other words, the mobile web grew roughly 400% during that period.
Mobile is clearly a much more important part of business than it was in the past. Many will buy on mobile. Others will conduct research on their phone or tablet before switching to a PC to make their purchase. Either way, an e-commerce company wants to create a strong presence on mobile to beat out their competition.
Top Mistakes E-Commerce Companies Make on Mobile
Here are thoughts from entrepreneurs on what kinds of missteps e-commerce companies tend to make when aiming to make the most of the mobile web:
#1 – Challenging to check out
E-commerce companies have generally gotten the idea that you have to focus on showing people exactly how the product looks if you want them to buy. However, for many companies, mobile is simply a reflection of the desktop setup.
Be sure that your checkout is optimized specifically for mobile. Optimizing mobile involves “taking advantage of mobile-specific features (like using specific keyboards for different fields), dividing up forms into many more pages and getting rid of unnecessary fields,” notes Shop It To Me founder Charlie Graham.
#2 – Frustrating form overload
Smartphones and tablets are certainly convenient for internet access, but typing can be a pain. For that reason, Nicolas Gremion of Free-eBooks.net echoes Graham’s point about minimizing fields and forms; plus, he suggests integrating other services that might already contain user information. Allow them to register using their Facebook or Google account. Allow them to pay via Amazon Checkout, Fortumo, or PayPal. Have a checkbox that allows them to automatically transfer their billing info into the shipping section (i.e., without having to re-type it). Test the process carefully for any snags.
One key aspect to keep in mind is that users of mobile are not clicking with their mouse but manipulating the screen with their fingers — particularly the thumb. Crazy Egg‘s analysis of this topic suggests there are three main ways that people interact with their smartphones: one-handed (49%), cradled (39%), and two-handed (15%). In all these scenarios, the thumb is critical. Because of that, there is a concept called the Thumb Zone — the area of the screen that is comfortably accessible to the thumb. Roughly speaking, the Thumb Zone is the bottom left-hand corner of the screen. Be aware of that when designing checkout.
#3 – Not easy to navigate between products
Studies show that more consumers will now purchase from a mobile device, but the process can easily become confusing if you have a broad catalog with numerous categories in your shop. Jonathan Long of Market Domination Media recommends checking out the Best Buy site on mobile to get a sense of a user-friendly mobile experience for a store with a huge range of products. Especially when people are ready to buy (and that describes your ideal traffic), they want to be able to navigate to what they want quickly. Make sure that they can.
#4 – Pestering pop-ups
You don’t want to ever drill your e-commerce customers with too many pop-ups – and that’s especially critical on mobile. If the average desktop/laptop shopper already seems a bit obsessed with how quickly and intuitively they can get what they need on your site, any sense of patience is gone when that person picks up a mobile device. Hubstaff.com co-founder David Nevogt notes that he will typically abandon a mobile shopping cart if he gets more than 2 pop-ups. “The only exception to this rule is if I’m given the opportunity to sign in via my social accounts,” he clarifies, “because that’s a pop-up that helps me versus a pop-up that asks for my email, which serves the e-commerce company more.”
#5 – Really poor responsiveness
No one wants to go to your mobile e-commerce shop so that they can wait. A consumer wants to be able to jump around and explore your products rapidly so they can compare options and buy. That requires your site to be strongly responsive. Similarly, user-friendliness is a necessity for mobile, as indicated previously. EVENTup cofounder Jayna Cooke advises to carefully and methodically develop your mobile shop prior to release. Related to responsiveness, it’s critical that you are hosting your site on high-performance infrastructure if you want it to perform at the pace of e-commerce.
#6 – Social sharing not set up
If you can think of the two most prominent areas of growth on the web, they would probably be mobile and social. Consider these YOY changes in social and mobile social use:
- Between January 2016 and January 2017, the number of active social media users grew 21%, representing an additional 482 million users globally.
- During that same period, active mobile social use grew 30% — an addition of 581 million people.
How can you integrate social prior to checkout? Make it possible for the shopper to ask their friends if they’re undecided on a product, says Allied Business Network co-founder Brooke Bergman. It’s free publicity even if they don’t end up buying.
#7 – Relegation of remarketing
Don’t be shy about asking for a name and email address early. Once you have that contact info, you can shoot them an email with a coupon code so that they can get a discounted price if they return. As an alternative or supplement to that tactic, you can also use Adwords for remarketing, explains Andesign’s Andrew Namminga, which “will prioritize the delivery of ads to people who have recently visited your website.”
#8 – Denial of mobile diversity
It’s important to be compatible with every type of mobile device. Any phone or tablet should get impeccably great ease-of-use, notes True Film Production CEO Stanley Meytin. Be sure to test each one.
#9 – Absence of an 800 number
Of course you want everyone to just buy through the site, but your mobile site should also give the user a fast way to speak with someone at your company directly: a phone number. On a desktop or laptop, people will often check out your FAQ pages or go elsewhere on your site to get their answers. Mobile users desire a straightforward navigation. When they get confused, it makes sense (especially since many are already on their phone) that they would want to simply click to call and get help problem-solving. That phone number is especially important, says LSEO’s Kristopher Jones, because mobile users will often need “a higher level of touch” than their desktop counterparts.
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