Mobile Optimization: How to Prepare for the Future in E-Commerce

Posted on December 10, 2018

The future of e-commerce is mobile. According to eMarketer Retail, mobile will account for nearly 40 percent of all e-commerce sales in 2018. Purchases via mobile are expected to be the majority within the next three years. This holiday shopping season even helped verify how far mobile has come, with Black Friday and Cyber Monday combining to hit $4 billion in mobile sales.

Everyone that is trying to survive in e-commerce should be aware of this by now. And, if they aren’t already, your plans to start optimizing for the mobile experience must be put in place right away.

We reached out to several people working in e-commerce to see how they’ve prepared for the mobile revolution. You can read the responses below. It’s our hope the feedback we received may help others develop a plan for their business.

Jonny Howard, Co-Founder at UberPrints.com

UberPrints.com is an e-commerce t-shirt company that allows consumers to create their own custom designs via an interactive design studio. The business was co-founded in 2005 by Jonny Howard, and here’s what he had to say about what UberPrints.com has done to enhance its mobile experience:

Our primary goal is to develop the best user experience in the industry. With more and more of our customers moving to mobile — making online t-shirt designing work on a five-inch screen with just your thumbs is a challenge we’ve been facing head-on. Responsive layouts and fast load times are a must for e-commerce websites and have been cemented as a priority for Google with their move to mobile-first indexing this year.

For us, it’s all about getting customers great looking custom apparel in the fewest steps possible while still holding on to the satisfaction of being designed by them. That means simplifying our UI while still providing all the options our customers want from us. It means anticipating the needs of a diverse group of users with easy to use templates and simplifying the conversion funnel for the mobile environment.

We’re relentlessly concentrated on making what’s normally a complex process simple enough for anyone to use on any device. That has made us a technology-focused company and pushed us to develop the most advanced rendering technology of any online t-shirt designer. 

Christoph Seitz, Co-Owner of CFR Rinkens

CFR Rinkens is a global leader in the shipping of commercial cargo, specializing in the shipping of motor vehicles. Here’s what co-owner Christoph Seitz had to say about what the business has done to take steps toward mobile optimization:

Optimizing for mobile, particularly site speed, is critically important. When I think about conversions, I’m thinking about the best ways to make a user click on something through a call to action. The truth of the matter is that websites with faster load times will always win. The faster your site is, the more likely it is that users will convert. There was actually a study done about this by Aberdeen Group that showed a one second delay in load time can result in 11% fewer page views, a 16% drop off in satisfaction, and a 7% decrease in conversions. When a site is slow, it is far more likely that the bounce rate will increase as visitors become impatient and leave your website.

In order to ensure our mobile site loads quickly, we compress our images. This ensures that all our images are optimized for site speed while still retaining image quality. We also took steps to minify all our liquid code and prioritized script load order while trimming down the total number of scripts being called. Removing unnecessary assets on some pages while reducing images assets on others helped reduce site load time as well.

Jens Jakob Andersen, Founder at RunRepeat.com

Jens Jakob Andersen is the founder of RunRepeat.com, a 50-employee e-commerce site that sells a wide range of athletic shoes. The business has been prepared for the trend toward mobile for a few years and has seen its mobile traffic increase significantly as a result. Here’s how, in Jens’ words, RunRepeat.com has accomplished that:

The best thing you can do is to change your mindset to mobile-first. It sounds simple, but it’s this fundamental change that will get you ahead of your competition. Most e-commerce sites still do development, design, product texts, etc. geared toward a desktop version of their site. All of these things should actually be done with mobile-first in mind, then convert to a desktop. 

Michael Lewis, Creative Strategist at Active Web Group

Active Web Group has been in business for more than 20 years as a full-service digital marketing agency in New York. According to creative strategist Michael Lewis, here are a few of the steps the business has taken to ensure their clients are optimized for the mobile experience:

  • Maximize page-load speed: Mobile users are impatient. If a page does not load immediately, they will leave, likely for a competitor. Ensure that your mobile pages load in under 2 seconds and you’ll reduce your site’s bounce rate. This can be done by minimizing HTTP requests, deferring JavaScript files, and improving server response time.
  • Consolidate content: Users want information fast so it’s important to eliminate their need to scroll. This way potential customers will find what they need as quickly as possible. The solution is to edit content from sentence to short bullets — “nuggets” of information that are easier to read, digest, and respond to.
  • Image quality and availability: Make sure your desktop site video player is responsive, otherwise full-size images/videos will not open on mobile devices. Diagnose this by opening your site on your device and see if everything is available.
  • Clickability: OK, it is not a word, but you get the idea. Mobile interactivity will be impaired if a button designed for desktop users appears on a responsive site. Mobile users need bigger buttons to click using a finger, not a mouse. Ditto drop-down menus. These are easy to navigate if you use a mouse, however, devices require scrollable options.
  • Have clear calls-to-action: Clear CTA’s are vital to maintain users’ attention and guide them through the purchase process.  Therefore, CTAs increase conversion rates.
  • Offer a guest checkout option: Mandatory signups (registered users) equal abandoned carts. Prevent prospects from bailing by giving them a guest checkout option.

(Note: The views expressed in this article are strictly those of the contributors and independent of Engine.)