Guest blog post by Sasha Butkovich from Ecommerce Outtakes

eCommerce is going mobile in a big way, and many studies show the trend in mobile shopping just keeps rising. In the past two years alone, the percentage of eCommerce sales on mobile devices rose from 2% to 8% in the U.S., according to research from comScore, Forrester and eMarketer (check out this infographic for more cool stats on this).

Many retailers are getting on the m-commerce bandwagon, and those who haven’t already are working on their mobile strategy. It’s so important to have that mobile site optimized for when shoppers arrive, ready to purchase! However, this isn’t always easy. As an eCommerce retailer, there are some big considerations to take into account before taking the mobile plunge. What follows are five common mistakes to avoid with your own mobile site.

Mistake #1: Not recognizing your users

When designing your mobile strategy, functionality is only half the battle. Sure, you want a site that works well and renders properly on a smartphone or a tablet. But the more important considerations include knowing who your customers are and how they’re going to be using this site. Determine the main profiles of your mobile customers – what they’re shopping for, where they’re accessing the mobile site from, which devices they’re using, and what they want from the site. Once you have an idea of this, you can design the best mobile eCommerce experience for your users that caters to their specific needs.

Mistake #2: Having the same design for smartphones & tablets

Whether a brand chooses to go with responsive design or a native app, one thing is very important to remember: smartphones and tablets are not the same. Using a smartphone to shop is different from using a tablet to shop, and as a retailer, you should tailor those experiences accordingly. Tablets offer the potential for more rich media experiences, so you can have a little more fun with the bells and whistles. Adding video to your tablet site is a great start, because tablets are perfect for viewing videos, and tablet users are more likely to watch them. Smartphones, on the other hand, are being used by shoppers on the go. This shopping experience should be simple and direct.

Mistake #3: Overcomplicating the shopping experience

Any eCommerce site should be simple to navigate and use, but this becomes even more important to the mobile shopping experience. The layout should be simple, the buttons should be large and fields should be easy to type into. Don’t clutter the pages with too many links or categories, like this example from the ASOS mobile shop. When people are shopping from a mobile device, they’re generally out and about, and don’t have time to waste sifting through the features of an overly complicated website. And make sure that checkout process is quick and easy, too. Don’t lose the shopper at the very last step in the process!

Mistake #4: Neglecting security

It might seem obvious, but security is hugely important in mobile eCommerce. I recently began the checkout process on a mobile site, only to realize the http in the url was broken. See the screen shot below for what happened in this example from the Sears site. When that little lock icon is broken, I’m definitely not entering any credit card information! I’m one customer this particular site lost. Don’t lose the sale because of a lack of security on your site. For a mobile shopper on the go, it’s pretty frustrating to have to abandon your cart because it’s not secure.

Mistake #5: Forgetting about the marketing emails

Hey, remember all those marketing emails you send out to get those customers to your eCommerce site? You’ll want to make sure those are optimized for mobile, too. If people can’t read your emails on their phones or tablets, they definitely won’t be visiting your site from their phones or tablets either. Don’t miss all those opportunities to generate traffic and conversions. And of course, direct them to the mobile site itself, not just the desktop version!

Know your users, know their devices, and keep things simple and secure. These are the keys to starting your mobile strategy on the right foot. Once you’ve got these things down, you’ll be on your way to success in the growing world of mobile commerce!

5 thoughts to “5 Big Mistakes to Avoid in Mobile eCommerce

  • Tom

    excellent tips, I’ve learned over the years as a designer just how important the little things like this are, and am always on the lookout for new and helpful tips and tricks. I also think that the ecommerce software you use is a big part in creating a good site.

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  • William V.

    Great post Sasha! I totally agree with you on the mistakes and that each device should be treated as different channels. While the site should be optimized different for each device, a quality end user experience should be a priority. Regardless of device, if the site is not loading or is unavailable due to a huge surge of traffic, a good layout or easy navigation will not matter.

    The reality is we are all impatient and we all want things to load quickly. If it is not due to a connection issue on our device, we will not spare an extra millisecond to wait for any site to load.

    So I think another mistake is not considering web performance issues between different devices. The rate of file transfer, location and media served can greatly affect performance between different devices, which ultimately affects the end user experience.


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