Not all ecommerce sites are designed to reach people on mobile devices, but they should be. Because mobile devices operate differently and typically have smaller screens, shoppers might have a difficult time viewing or using the site from a smartphone or tablet. This means that mobile shoppers are excluded and a large portion of potential customers can't even see the products.
Why it's important to get mobile shoppers
According to IMRG, a U.K. online e-retailer association, 40 percent of all ecommerce transactions made worldwide are made via mobile devices. This includes smartphones and tablets of all sizes. So, if an ecommerce website doesn't work well on mobile devices, that site is missing out on a huge number of potential sales. Even if people aren't making online payments on their phone or tablet, there is a good chance that they will at least browse for products on their mobile device if the site is easy to navigate. According to ConversionXL, a consulting company, around 65 percent of shoppers start their shopping process on their phone.
Make a responsive, one-size-fits-all site
If possible, it's best to have a site that looks good on all platforms. Generally, the best way to do this is to have a site that is responsive to the type of device the customer is using. If they have a smartphone, the site needs to be responsive enough to show up and be easily usable on a smartphone, if they have a tablet the site should fit the tablet screen. A responsive site will automatically resize and reconfigure itself depending on the device being used. Because there are so many different sizes and types of devices out there, the site probably won't look perfect on every single device in the world, but a responsive site will allow it to look good on as many different devices as possible.
Redirect people to a subdomain specifically designed for mobile
Sometimes a responsive site isn't an option for an ecommerce site. It this is the case, it's best to try to redirect people to a subdomain that is designed for mobile devices. If this is going to be the best solution, don't build a whole other mobile site. According to Shopify, it's better to build "a new mobile friendly website structure that can 'call' the same images and copy that you keep current on your main website." This will make it easier to manage the site. If there were two separate sites, any updates would have to be done twice, once on the regular site and once on the mobile site.
Features to think about for mobile versions of the site
Because mobile devices have different screen sizes and are navigated in a different manner than regular computers, it's important to think about the following:
- Fixed vs. nonfixed navigation
This refers to the buttons that help shoppers move around the site. Fixed means it's always on the screen and nonfixed means that a person has to go to the top of the website to access it.
- Photos and description
Photos and their descriptions need to be arranged in a way that looks good on mobile devices. Because it's the same content that appears on the regularly sized site, placement is key.
- Font types and sizes
The size and style of fonts can really make a difference on a mobile site. Customers don't want to have to zoom in every time they want to read something, so picking an easy to read and sized font is important.
- Easy to use
Mobile sites have to be easy to use. It's best to create a site that can be navigated with as few clicks and finger swipes as possible. If the site is too difficult, navigate mobile shoppers won't use it.
Although these decisions will be best made by a website designer, they are important for all decision-makers to consider.
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