Mobile conversions should be happening all day. It’s not a stretch to say that we are slaves to those little rectangular pieces of technology we carry in our pockets 24×7. The smartphone has come to define every aspect of our lives, from waking up each morning to getting to work on time and from finding a quick bite to eat to even finding true love.
If mobile phones are so central to our existence, why do businesses repeatedly find the old faithful — desktop computers — to be better performers in terms of conversions and sales?
A SaleCycle study of 500 global brands showed that while 51% of traffic came from mobile devices, only 36% of total sales followed suit.
What makes mobile conversions lag behind their desktop counterparts, given that we lead our lives almost entirely inside these metal and glass cages? More importantly, what can you, as a marketer or business owner, do to improve your mobile conversions? Here are some worrying mobile optimization snags that might be seriously hurting your sales.
Mobile Site Speed Isn’t Priority No. 1
Earlier this year, Google made it official: Mobile speed is a bona fide ranking factor for all websites in its search results. Period.
And oh, if you haven’t realized it yet, Google now prioritizes your mobile site over the desktop version while adding your pages to its index.
You may not care about your SEO rankings (really?) but a quick-loading mobile page has other proven benefits — such as increased engagement and, by extension, better conversions. Mobile web design platform Duda carried out a study involving over 4,000 sites, which found that mobile sites with a render start time (RST) under one second showed a 50% higher conversion rate than those with RSTs of three to four seconds.
All of this data conclusively means just one thing: If you want to maximize sales, you must make sure your site loads blazingly fast on mobile devices. Try these guidelines:
- Optimize images to render faster. Drop animations and other frills that eat up bandwidth.
- Avoid auto-playing videos on mobile sites.
- Keep the number of scripts to a minimum and make sure they’re parsed faster.
- Reduce advertising clutter that slows pages down.
- Use compression, CDNs and other web technologies that quicken loading times.
- Leverage Google AMP for a huge jump in page loading speed.
Mobile Site Not Optimized for Local Search
Here are some data points from the Mobile and Search channels of Google’s Micro-Moments resource base. Chew on these stats for a moment (each):
- 40% of all searches from mobile devices have local intent.
- 76% of local searches result in a visit to the physical outlet of a business within 24 hours. 28% result in a purchase.
- People who perform local searches on mobile devices are 65% more likely to buy from companies that customize their mobile sites or apps with local information.
In other words, most smartphone users use local search with purchase intent and heavily patronize businesses that help them find information they’re looking for right there on their phones. Don’t miss out on this opportunity that comes knocking on your mobile website’s window every single day.
A quick checklist to rank well (and convert well!) on local mobile searches:
- Build content-rich city pages for the markets you operate in. Create dedicated content relevant to each city. e.g. A music store may have content like the “The 10 best nightclubs in Miami” or “Who’s playing at Madison Square Garden this week.”
- Set up your Google My Business page and keep it updated.
- Get pinpoint accuracy in your N-A-P (name, address, phone number) data in local business directories.
- Go socially local with your Facebook business pages.
- Work on getting local reviews for your brand and business from influencers, niche-focused review sites and crowdsourced review forums.
No Attention Paid to Mobile Design and Usability
User experience is one of the key elements of conversion optimization. This could not be truer on a smartphone screen, where real estate is at such a premium.
For the record, that’s not me saying this; it’s data. Here’s a snapshot from a Qubit study (Opens as a PDF) of 1.2 billion e-commerce journeys with mobile touchpoints:
When every pixel counts, are you doing what it takes to convert users?
UX designer Chen Ben Ami offers some practical ideas on mobile optimization, like keeping buttons larger on mobile sites to preempt “Fat Finger Syndrome,” keeping navigation simple, using the right color combinations (visible on mobile screens) for backgrounds and layouts, leveraging the “Click to Call” button and so on.
But my favorite piece of advice is this real gem, which recommends taking a hard look at how your mobile site appears at different times of day. For example, when a user visits your mobile site during the day, they can reach you with a single tap. However, what happens when they visit your site after hours?
Instead of wasting a click and having the customer listen to an out of office message, you could offer a contact form in place of the click-to-call for the “night version” of your mobile site!
Shopping Carts Not Persistent, Not Cross-Platform
The Qubit study we referred to earlier also found that mobile shopping experience and browsing behavior has a direct impact on actual revenue from cross-channel sales on other digital channels. Further, mobile shopping activity also led to a 19% growth in desktop revenues.
What this means is that users who discover an item on mobile tend to either visit the store or complete the purchase on desktop devices. This process of device hopping to complete a single transaction would be greatly eased out if the site in question saved the user’s shopping cart for a future session on the same or another platform. Say “hello” to cross-channel shopping carts!
A simple way to enable cross-channel shopping carts would be using the customer’s login information, which stays the same across devices. Another way of offering an omnichannel shopping experience is by linking cookies and device IDs, or setting up user identification and tracking using tech such as Google Analytics User-IDs across multiple devices.
Painful Checkout Process
Have an e-commerce site? Pay special attention to your forms and checkout process in particular to nudge along mobile conversions. Research from comScore found that close to 20% of users don’t make a purchase on mobile because they find it too difficult to enter data into forms on smartphones.
Ease the way for your mobile users by keeping forms short and requiring minimal details from users. Adopting autocomplete and auto-suggestions in forms and search bars are examples of usability-driven design on mobile commerce sites and apps.
Another effective way of reducing clicks and smoothing out the mobile checkout process is by embracing simpler payment options, like mobile wallets. After all, what’s easier on a smartphone — paying with one-click using Apple Pay or Google Pay or entering a 14-digit credit card number, expiration date and CVV number?
Fifty-three percent of users on the web today access it via a mobile phone. Just as mobile usage is rising, so is actual transaction activity. As data clearly shows, this trend of consumers going mobile first is only going to get stronger. So instead of spending time retrofitting your websites to mobile in order to improve conversions, learn from these and other mobile-focused factors to build a true mobile-fantastic (not just mobile-friendly) website that encourages engagement and sales, and takes your business headfirst into the next decade.