This year, for the first time, more people are accessing the internet on their smartphone than on a laptop or PC*. General web browsing is the second most popular activity carried out on a smartphone (77%)* and 45% of smartphone owners say they use their phones to make purchases online*. Among owners who have 4G the figure is even higher at 55%*.
All this activity points to a fundamental shift in consumer behaviour, and means that mobile is now an integral part of ecommerce strategy and planning.
If you’re an ecommerce business then the exploding number of online visitors going mobile is giving you a challenge. How can you get your mobile site to meet the expectations of your visitors and match their desktop, and in-store, shopping experiences?
The article provides an easy to follow three-step process to ensure your mobile visitors have a great experience browsing, and buying, on your mobile website or app.
The first step of creating a great mobile experience is to forget everything you think you know about your visitors and discover what’s really happening. It’s particularly important not to assume that what you know about them from the desktop research also applies to the mobile research. It might – but in our experience this is typically not the case.
In a recent project we did for a leading UK retailer with an international footprint, we found stark differences between desktop and mobile users. Mobile users were dipping in and out of the site quickly and consuming different types of content when compared to the full website. It soon became clear to us that the mobile site was used in an entirely different context, usually when the customer was able to take a quick break or multi-tasking. As one customer remarked: “I buy on the phone while cooking, because that’s when I have 5 minutes.”
At the start of this stage, there should be no answers, only questions. For example:
Who are your mobile visitors?
When are they using your site?
Where are they when they’re using your site?
Why are they using your site?
What do they like/dislike about your site?
How are they currently using your site?
The answers lie in a variety of data sources.
Analytics tools are a very useful source of quantitative data. Use yours to look at
For this level of analysis, the usual route is to apply advanced segments for each of the three device categories. This will cause GA to sample the data as you can see in the screenshot below.
That should not be seen as a problem, but if you want to avoid it then a way around that is to create separate views for each device category in your GA account.
Surveys are a great way to ask ‘why’ questions about the ‘what’ data that analytics provides you with. We use Qualaroo on mobile sites to ask ‘in-the-moment’ questions to visitors as they’re using your site. Another way to get great information is to email your database asking relevant questions.
Some questions we have found to be particularly useful for mobile optimisation are:
Running usability studies on your mobile site offers you a great opportunity to see, hear and speak to your mobile visitors first hand. Unfortunately, the technology to run remote moderated usability sessions on your mobile site isn’t yet as advanced as it is for desktop sites, but there are still ways in which you can gather this useful data.
(Handy tip – be sure to run these studies across a number of device types and sizes to identify key usability themes and issues across the range of devices your visitors are using)
Once you’ve understood a little bit more about how and why visitors are using your mobile site, you can create new web pages that are optimised to improve their experience. But before you start development, there are a number of stages you should follow to make sure that the changes really will create a great mobile experience.
Start off by creating a wireframe of what the change will look like. Tools like Balsamiq allow you to create wireframes within set mobile dimensions ensuring that what you design reflects exactly how it will look on a mobile device.
Once you have created your wireframe, get feedback on your changes. Don’t just assume that they meet requirements. Ask your visitors whether it really solves the issue they were having. Is it a genuine improvement on their experience? The feedback you receive here is invaluable in making sure that what you develop has the impact you want.
Finally, before you change your mobile site, split test your new design against the current page. All the major A/B testing tools now offer the ability to test both mobile websites and apps and this is a great habit to get into. Split testing your changes allows you to measure the impact of the change across a number of metrics including conversion rate, progression rate and, most importantly revenue. Only once you have reached statistical confidence that your change has the desired effect on mobile experience should you ask your developers to hard code the changes.
Creating a great mobile experience isn’t a one-off exercise or a one-way process. It’s a cycle of continual improvement. Consumers change, technology advances and the goalposts move. To make sure your mobile site provides the best experience visit after visit, you need to continually learn what your visitors want and design and split test ways of delivering their requirements. Only then can you be sure that your mobile site is delivering a great experience time and time again.
The easy to follow three step process mentioned above is guaranteed to improve the mobile experience on any mobile website or app. Get started today to see what you can achieve.
With the ever-increasing importance of mobile CRO, you can also read our ebook below to find out how a focus on three power metrics can double your CRO success.
*Source: Communication Market Report 2015, Ofcom
Posted in: Conversion Rate Optimisation
Sign up to our newsletter and get all of the latest news straight to you.
If you’re serious about initiating change within your business, we’d like to offer you a 60-minute Initial Strategic Review.
“We’ll share what we’ve learned from decades of experience working with businesses using CRO, innovation and experimentation to achieve business goals like yours”