Think mobile this Christmas

Let’s start with a graph. This is our percentage of orders per device (2007–2016) at Firebox.com.

Introduction

For the first time in our company’s history (and probably many others), mobile orders will surpass desktop this Christmas.

This isn’t just a tipping point for us, but for e-commerce and the future of marketing. The success of apps and smartphones has acted as a catalyst for the mobile revolution, and it’s bleeding into the online web. Users want a more ‘app like’ experience on the web and forward thinkers are already adhering to modern user’s needs. In a few years, a smartphone could be your only device.

“People usually do not have very much patience on the internet” — Steve Krug

Who’s thinking mobile?

ASOS know the importance of mobile, they reported over half of sales are mobile and openly talked about their efforts to make it better.

Google gave a big hint with the mobile friendly test, saying it could favour mobile friendly sites in their algorithm — that’s a big thing for SEO.

In fact, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in the top 10 countries.

Be prepared

You need to be prepared for the massive influx of customers at Christmas — and you don’t have much time to do it.

So if you’re selling something this Christmas, mobile should be your priority.

In the next section i’ll talk about what you can do to improve your offering right now.

What can I do?

Improve speed — a slow website is the biggest conversion killer

I think companies take speed for granted. Additionally to usability/accessibility, speed should be the core of your business. Humans actually have an attention span less than a goldfish thanks to smartphones.

Where to start:


Gestures

Just like apps, users expect to intuitively swipe, tap and pan, allowing for effortless navigation, even with one hand. Mobile users are impatient and require these tools to convert quicker. I know for a fact that gestures played an integral part of increasing our mobile conversion and it can for you too.

Where to start:


Think about the thumb zone

In the book “Designing Mobile Interfaces”, Steven Hoober coined the term “The Thumb Zone”, which describes the most comfortable area for one handed touch.

Ensure the layout of your content is easily reachable to thumbs (left or right handed). Lower priority content/navigation should be at the top (out of reach) and call to actions within thumb reach.

Where to start


Optimise content

It’s imperative to ensure information on mobile is the best and most relevant. I can’t stress enough to not hide content from users, which is a common responsive design flaw. Instead, create focus on what’s important.

Where to start


Make it feel more ‘app’ like

Gestures will help but a general layout overhaul will benefit too. At Firebox.com we saw 25% gain in mobile customers by making the website feel like you were inside an app.

We achieved this by treating mobile and desktop separately, rather than just re-arranging layout via media queries, we loaded an entirely different experience.

Where to start

At Firebox.com, redesigning our mobile product page brought us a 25% gain in customers

Now get to it

Hide away for a few hours, analyse your site, put yourself in your user’s shoes and figure out what you can do to improve conversion.

Let me know how you get along via Twitter :)

Bonus points

Some extra resources and books to mull over if you have a spare weekend/year.

Books

  • Mobile usability, Nielsen Norman Group: Amazon
  • Mobilized, SC Moatti: Amazon
  • Don’t make me think, Steve Krug: Amazon

Articles

  • Mobile vs Responsive, Nielson Norman Group: Link
  • Why Responsive Design Is Not Mobile Optimization (and What to Do About It), Conversion Xl: Link
  • 5 tips for improved mobile conversion, Econsultancy: Link