With the increase of mobile web usage comes the need for mobile ecommerce websites with user interaction in mind. Today, it is not enough to have responsiveness as a goal in your mobile commerce strategy. You can do it right with a mobile-dedicated website.
It is important to be where your customers are, hence a mobile ecommerce website is a critical part of having a strong online business presence.
In this article, we will show you seven fantastic advantages on why it pays to build fully mobile ecommerce websites with user interaction in mind and how it gives more meaning to mobile-friendliness than just being responsive.
Is there a difference between mobile and responsive websites?
Yes, responsive websites and mobile websites are different from one another.
A responsive web design allows you to maintain just one ecommerce site that fits screen sizes regardless of the type of mobile device used. Content, design, navigation and even the method of user interaction is dynamically adapted to deliver a smooth user experience.
A mobile website, on the other hand, is a website designed specifically for mobile devices. It means observing certain principles of mobile website development and maintaining two websites – one specifically for desktops and another one just for mobile.
How does a mobile website work differently? When your site detects that a mobile device is trying to open it, it automatically redirects the user to your site’s mobile version.
There are definitely pros and cons to each, but by considering the limitations of the platform, you have a good ground to promise a truly usable and smooth user interaction to your customers with a mobile website.
Provides better and faster conversions
While responsive styling does have its merits, it does not offer an optimized experience the way mobile-specific websites can. In essence, a responsive website makes the desktop experience look good on mobile, but the specific needs of mobile visitors are not exactly addressed.
With this realization in mind, it is not surprising why mobile websites perform better in terms of sales. Did you know that on the average, an ecommerce mobile site has conversion rates three times better than responsive sites?
Why are mobile ecommerce websites more converting?
A good reason for this is mobile websites are almost always faster and better designed for smaller screens.
It is faster for users to interact with because the work of resizing the layout and the images to fit in the small screen is done on the server and not on the phone. This is also why responsive websites are deemed processor heavy because the phone takes care of all the resizing. With speed being a critical factor to generating sales, mobile websites do possess a clear advantage over responsive ones.
Also, mobile websites are more converting because it is designed to match the conditions or the situation a mobile user is most likely in. Most mobile websites are to the point. Content is so refined that it immediately informs users what they need to know and what they need to do without missing what is essential. It offers a frictionless experience because the different design elements are thought out well to deliver a smooth usage of the site. The navigation and the CTA buttons are also designed based on conversion goals.
You may be earning considerable conversion rates with a responsive design, but you may experience better rates with a mobile-specific website.
Mobile websites load faster
We just mentioned how mobile websites load faster than responsive ones and this section is just a reiteration of that.
We all know that any slow loading website – mobile or not – can frustrate and stress out visitors. Speed is a major concern when it comes to site usability and interaction and you need to make sure that this is your primary consideration when having your mobile website designed.
Aside from usability and interaction issues, another good reason why you should consider speed a big deal is because how fast your mobile site loads depends on the internet connection your visitor uses at that particular moment.
Faster mobile broadband connections and affordable data service may be available these days, but a stronger and better internet connection is usually on a Wi-Fi. It is impossible to control the means your visitors will access your website, but you can control how your mobile site will load.
Compress your images. Although high-quality product images are known to be conversion boosters, these can actually slow down your website significantly especially when viewed on a mobile device. By compressing images, you can shave seconds off your mobile site’s total loading time. Before compressing, consider cropping and resizing your images first.
Minify your code or remove any unnecessary characters in your code without compromising your website’s functionality. This process significantly impacts the time it takes for a website’s code to be processed. When your code is simplified, your website will naturally load faster across any mobile device.
Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN). This helps cache and load your content on servers found in different locations in the world. This way, no matter where your site visitors are located and regardless of the device they are using, they will have a faster and better experience of your mobile site. A lot of performance benefits can be missed if your mobile site is not on a CDN.
Check out also our list of tips on website speed optimization that can help boost your online sales.
Offers less friction than having a mobile app
It’s worth considering having a mobile app for your business, but when it comes to frictionless interaction on mobile, a mobile website may provide better and more immediate accessibility than a mobile app.
A mobile app does have its merits, but users have to pass through a download and installation process before any form of brand interaction can commence. There is a lot of encouragement needed for a person to install your app on their device. And even what that is done, it is still a piece of work to have it correspond to the right information for your user’s mobile operating system.
Also, when it comes to website traffic coming from search engines, social media, social commerce (e.g. Buy Now buttons by Pinterest and Shop Now buttons by Instagram) and referral links, facilitating it with a mobile site is more straightforward than a mobile app.
Beneficial for organic traffic
Usability on mobile does not only make happy customers, but results in happier organic search rankings too. Search engines, like Google consider usability and mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal so anything you do to make your customers’ experience of your site smoother and easier is rewarded with better search rankings.
Make it easy for your customers to do tasks on your site. Majority of what users expect on mobile is everything should be simple and done fast and easy than on a desktop. When ensuring your mobile site is usable and friendly, streamline tasks on your site so your users won’t have a hard time completing them.
Measure the effectiveness of your mobile site by how easy it is to complete common tasks. Use this as a benchmark when designing your mobile site. When it’s easy to shop on your mobile site, your customers and your organic search ranking are very satisfied.
Adhere to webmaster guidelines. This is a list of information on how search engines, like Google find, process and rank your site. Working with a developer who understands your mobile customers and knows the importance of working with these essential guidelines in mind is another win-win situation.
Use precise location information and keywords if you also happen to have a physical store. Did you know that one in three people will do a local search first before visiting a shop? Make sure to always include your location in your keywords and have your address, business hours and map available too for local search purposes.
Makes handy mobile features easily available
With a mobile website, you can make it is super easy for your customers to find and reach you. You can have the following handy features available so customer interaction is always a smooth one.
One-click calling enables your users to call you up by simply tapping on the phone number from your mobile website. Similarly, you can put a ‘mail to’ property when linking your email address so it’s easy for your customers to shoot you an email if that’s how they want to get in touch with you.
A click-to-map feature is also advisable if you have a physical store. By having this available, your users can use their GPS devices to easily find your location and get directions to your store instantly.
Social sharing features allow your users to easily share content with their friends and followers on popular social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Integrate these social sharing buttons for an extra marketing boost.
Aside from sharing features, you can also take advantage of social commerce features that allows you to use platforms like Pinterest and Instagram in promoting and selling your products.
Mobile marketing is also easier when a mobile ecommerce website is built for usability. It easily allows users to sign up for marketing lists and loyalty programs and at the same time, allow you to launch location-based marketing communications via email or text.
A responsive shopping cart is guaranteed
Since you are building a website purely intended for mobile devices, you can be sure to have a fully responsive shopping cart that is easy to use and manage by your customers. Mobile shopping must be easy to fulfill and complete. It should recognize the fact that these people are on the move while making purchases, hence must be supported by a fully responsive shopping cart.
As mobile ecommerce grows rapidly, you need a shopping cart software that will enable you to take advantage of this growing mobile market.
Shopify is a popular mobile ecommerce solution that provides a hassle-free shopping experience. Using it means your ecommerce store is already mobile-friendly and your customers can transact with you securely regardless of the type of mobile device they are using.
BigCommerce is also one of the growing mobile commerce platforms today thanks to its wide range of features and the control and flexibility it offers. By simply enabling its mobile template, your BigCommerce ecommerce site now becomes a fully mobile website. You can also do this transition for free.
Volusion is another popular name in the world of mobile ecommerce. Similar to BigCommerce, enabling shopping cart support for mobile comes free of charge.
Other mobile ecommerce solutions that you can check out for a responsive shopping cart experience are Magento Mobile, Pinnacle Cart and Mobify.
Relatively easier to build
Specifically when compared with a mobile app, a mobile ecommerce website is easier and less restrictive to develop than an app.
In app development, you need to create different apps for various platforms and operating systems. Additionally, an app needs to be submitted to an app store first before it can be downloaded, making the time it reaches target users for download far longer than necessary.
Also, before the app’s features can be utilized, it has to be downloaded first on the user’s device. While mobile apps have its advantages, all these are not easily accessible and can be experienced without a downloading process first, and downloading can be a source of interaction friction for some.
A mobile website is far more universal with lesser barriers to contend with between you and your target users. Anyone can simply load your mobile website on their device’s browser, making user interaction more flexible and cost efficient. If you want a well-rounded, accessible and cost-efficient mobile presence, a mobile-optimized website is a smart step.
Challenges of a mobile website
A challenge for having a mobile website is your users need to remember at least two URLs. While it is possible to redirect them to your mobile website, the redirect may take several seconds. Be sure to optimize your mobile site’s loading speed to make this less of an issue. Also, you will need to do additional SEO work.
Another challenge is you need to maintain two active websites. Any updates you want to make on you site must be performed twice and separately. This takes more time and money than updating just one site in the case of a responsive website.
Constant checking and testing of your mobile site is also very essential. It may not load properly on an iPhone, but it does on a Samsung.
In today’s market, it is essential to think wisely how you want your mobile presence to be presented. What you decide on and the steps you will do next will be crucial in making your brand noticed and successful on mobile.
Is a mobile ecommerce website right for you?
Consider your business goals. What type of goals do you want your mobile presence to achieve based of course on the users you intend to attract?
Base your decision too on the scale of your business. How much are you willing to dedicate in the development and design of your two ecommerce sites?
Do you plan on having frequently updated content to serve your mobile market with? This should also figure in your decision making process.
Keep in mind these three things when deciding whether to push for a mobile website or not. While all these three complement each other, the decision you will arrive it is one that works best for your user.