Ecommerce business has seen massive growth in recent years and continues to evolve quickly. One major trend impacting all online retailers is the growth of mobile commerce. Nowadays, over half of all website traffic and nearly a third of online sales are originating from smartphones and tablets.

With people constantly on their mobile devices and expecting convenience on the go, it is increasingly important for ecommerce businesses to provide an optimized mobile shopping experience. Those who fail to meet mobile users’ needs risk losing sales and frustrating customers.

In this article, we will explore in detail why a dedicated mobile solution should be a top priority for any company doing business online. From accessibility and conversions to customer relationships and local discoverability, mobile is too critical to ignore. Let’s examine the key reasons every ecommerce business needs to prioritize mobile.

Mobile Users Expect Convenience

Customers today are almost always connected via their smartphones, whether they are commuting, standing in line, or having downtime at home. This means they expect to be able to access any service or brand instantly from their phone with minimal effort.

When it comes to shopping, people want the ability to browse products, read reviews, add to cart and checkout just as easily from a mobile device as they would from a desktop. Frustration will quickly set in for shoppers who find it annoying or difficult to purchase something while on the go versus being able to do so with a few taps.

Consumers have also been trained by apps like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart that provide fully-functional mobile storefronts. They assume the same convenience should be available from any retailer. Failing to meet these usability and accessibility expectations is a lost opportunity for sales and a poor reflection on the brand.

Accessibility Drives Sales

A properly built mobile presence has major sales benefits for ecommerce stores. Numerous studies have shown significantly higher conversion rates for businesses that allow shopping from any device versus desktop-only.

Research from Baymard Institute found that the average mobile conversion rate is 10-15% higher than desktop. They attributed this to mobile shoppers being in a purchasing mindset and able to complete transactions on the go. Another report by Rakuten Marketing discovered a whopping 40% of smartphone users will abandon their online purchase if faced with a poor mobile browsing experience.

When customers can easily view product details, read about sizing or fit guides, and checkout from wherever they are, it directly leads to more completed sales. Not giving them this capability means missing out on impulse buys as well as planned purchases that may be forgotten if the process is too complex on a small screen. Accessibility is key to capturing the growing number of consumers who primarily rely on mobile devices. Checkout:

Tablets and Phones Replace Laptops and Desktops

The shift to phones and tablets for everyday tasks applies directly to online shopping behaviors. Younger demographics in particular almost exclusively use their mobile devices to browse websites, watch videos, check social media, and importantly, make purchases.

Statistics from Pew Research found that over half of U.S. adults aged 18-29 say they either use smartphones often or sometimes to look up information on products before making purchase decisions. This is versus just one-third of seniors aged 65+.

Globally, mobile has become the dominant platform, with over 60% of web traffic now coming from smartphones and tablets according to Statcounter. As each new generation becomes more accustomed to conducting commerce via their handheld devices, this percentage will only continue increasing over time.

For ecommerce brands hoping to appeal to modern shoppers, including younger customers still developing brand loyalties, it is crucial to accommodate their primarily mobile-first behaviors. Your online store should not only work flawlessly on phones and tablets, but also be optimized specifically for the smaller screens.

Mobile Search Drives Customers

Search has always been an important driver of online discovery and sales. However, as usage shifts online and behavior becomes mobile-first, search on smartphones specifically deserves focus. Over 50% of clicks from Google mobile searches now go to the top result.

This highlights the importance of optimizing mobile websites, apps, and even videos or product listings for local search queries. Keywords relating to your products or services combined with location should be targeted to push your business to the top of search results on phones.

Things like business listings, citations, reviews, mobile-optimized content and fast page speeds all help local search rankings. Proper tagging of images, videos and structured data further enhances discovery and clicks. Those discovered through mobile are high intent users ready to transact, so every effort must be made to connect with customers right on their phones during local search moments.

Build Customer Relationships on Mobile

With constant mobile access comes opportunity to engage customers and strengthen brand loyalty. Push notifications, loyalty programs, messaging, and personalized experiences allow developing meaningful ongoing relationships beyond single transactions.

Leveraging location-based services can provide customers promos or deals when they are near a retail location. And offering in-app functionality keeps them within an owned shopping environment rather than abandoning a browser mid-purchase.

Subscription programs that bill to a stored mobile payment method also foster repeat, automated purchasing. Messaging or chat features facilitate easy customer support from any device. Together, these relationship-building mobile touches deepen customer understanding and lifetime value.

Invest in App or Adaptive Website

For an ideal mobile experience, merchants must provide either a dedicated shopping app or an adaptive responsive website built specifically for any screen size. The two options each have their own pros and cons that are worth evaluating.

A native mobile app typically offers richer features like push notifications, offline browsing, and greater performance advantages versus a mobile web version. Apps also promote branding and discovery in centralized app stores. However, maintaining separate iOS and Android apps requires additional development costs and upkeep.

A responsive website designed with mobile-first principles can adapt content layouts and features dynamically based on screen width. This single codebase approach scales down costs while still providing a tailored experience across devices. Some disadvantages may be less control over app store placement and lack of all app capabilities.

Overall either a well-designed app or adaptive site that renders perfectly on any phone or tablet is necessary for an optimized shopping journey from small screens today. Consumers expect their favorite brands to meet them wherever and however they shop.

Optimize for Speed

Page load times strongly influence the mobile user experience and impact metrics like bounce rate and time on site. according to Google, 53% of mobile site visitors will abandon a page that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. This is versus only 32% of desktop users with the same impatience.

To ensure fast performance, companies must optimize all site assets including images, CSS/JS files, page weight, and server response times. Techniques like lazy loading, image compression, code minification, non-blocking rendering and a CDN can dramatically improve loading bars. Pages should also avoid unnecessary scripting languages to streamline processing.

Mobile-first indexing by Google also places greater emphasis on speed. Sites that render promptly on phones rank higher in search results. Building for speed is therefore vital not only for positive user experiences, but also directly influences mobile discoverability and traffic. Taking the time upfront to optimize sites means big payoffs in engagement and conversions long-term.

Simplify Checkout on Mobile

The checkout process presents another opportunity to refine experiences for on-the-go shoppers. Long forms, optional versus required fields, and unnecessary steps all contribute to friction that decreases mobile conversions.

Instead, merchants are wise to streamline down to just the critical details a customer must provide like name, email, shipping and payment info. Pre-filled data from account profiles or stored on the device helps autofill long entries in just a tap. Saved payment options further reduce barriers at final checkout.

Testing small variations like rearranging or removing fields, one-click checkout from profiles, and tailored messaging can provide meaningful lifts. Additional options like buy online pick up in store integrations also meet modern user demands. Keeping the process fast and effortless at checkout maximizes sales from the growing base of mobile customers.

Promote Mobile-First in Marketing

Given mobile’s dominance, any marketing strategy should emphasize and promote an optimized mobile experience. This could mean:

  • Using ad platforms like Facebook and Instagram to push branded mobile campaigns
  • Highlighting usability and core features like one-tap checkout via mobile optimized web banners
  • Including calls to action in emails directing users to “Shop Now on Your Phone”
  • Providing prominent direct links to native app store downloads from website
  • Tagging product images with mobile tap-to-view functionality
  • Optimizing video ads for autoplay on newsfeeds and browser tabs

Ensuring campaigns spotlight ease and access of shopping via smartphone is essential. Customers will only complete purchases if aware of and confident in a brand’s mobile offerings. Driving traffic then depends on delivering seamlessly once they arrive on small screens.

Provide Local Store Functionality

For retailers with physical store locations, mobile opens up new avenues to bridge the gap between online and in-person shopping. By taking advantage of smartphone GPS capabilities, stores can connect with customers in their local area to drive more traffic both digitally and to brick-and-mortar sites.

One powerful way to do this is by incorporating local store finders directly into the mobile shopping experience. For example, when browsing products on a mobile website or within an app, customers could click a button to “See if this item is available near me.” This would pull up an embedded map displaying the nearest retail locations that stock that particular product.

The map view could then allow filtering or sorting store results by distance from the user’s current location. Including each store’s full address, hours and contact info gives customers everything they need to easily find the option most convenient for purchasing or picking up in person. This type of localized inventory check cuts down time spent searching and increases the chances of an immediate sale or site visit.

For items not available locally, the store finder still provides value by presenting retail options to visit for similar products or to place a hold and pick up soon. It transforms what may have started as an online browse into a seamless omni-channel experience.

Test and Continually Improve

To maximize performance across platforms and devices, ecommerce companies must routinely monitor mobile analytics and customer behavior. Common metrics like bounce rate, time on site, average order value and conversion rate should all be tracked specifically for mobile versus desktop.

A/B split testing allows experimenting with small changes like button placements, field orders orCTA copy. This provides quantitative data showing what measurably improves engagement or sales. Surveying customers also offers qualitative feedback on any points of friction.

Results should then drive ongoing optimization through adjustments over time. As new devices, screen sizes and user habits evolve constantly, sites must evolve as well through iterative improvement. Dedicated testing, analytics dashboards and allotting resources to mobile experience proves commitment to meeting modern customer needs.


With over half of web traffic now originating on smartphones and tablets, mobile commerce channels can no longer be an afterthought for online retailers. Consumers expect to be able to access any brand or service instantly from their handheld devices. Meeting these expectations of accessibility and usability directly translates to increased browsing, engagement and critical sales.

Businesses that fail to prioritize mobile risk losing ground to more forward-thinking competitors. However, properly building out an adaptive mobile site, native app, or both provides opportunities to strengthen discovery, conversions, customer relationships and lifetime value.

Prioritizing speed, simplicity and local functionality also strengthens the mobile experience. Continual optimization informed by data and feedback ensures the experience keeps pace with changing user habits and technologies. Those who lead with a best-in-class mobile-first approach will find themselves best positioned for ongoing success in today’s marketplace.

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