Smartphones are our beloved personal assistants, our communication tools and our secret keepers. A blossoming love affair or deep-seated addiction that has helped smartphones rise to stardom. Our phones are now the way most people in the world search for online information and view websites.

Gone are the days when the home computer or even the laptop reigned supreme. Anyone who checks their Google Analytics will have noticed this trend. People are much more likely to jump onto your site via their phone because smartphones are used as browsing screens that people have to hand and can use while on the go.

Topsy Turvy

The trend has hit such a climax that it’s becoming the browsing norm. Desktop and smartphone roles have been flipped and people aren’t going back.

In the past, Google’s SEO rankings would concentrate on desktop website content, now though Google has released a mobile first indexing to effectively react to the rising use of our handy pocket devices.

So what’s going to change? Before, Google primarily scanned through your desktop version and largely ignored mobile. Google is now going to start reviewing your mobile website before it rates your desktop version.  Google will use its crawling, indexing and ranking systems to firstly analyse your mobile content and then desktop.

As we’ve jokingly hinted at in a previous blog, Google is effectively the God of the internet and once it lays down a new way that websites are ranked, web designers and business have to keep up or get out of the game. This means that in the near future, websites will be firstly built for mobile and then desktop. Kooky stuff.

It doesn’t stop there. Google will start to penalise you if your mobile version of your site isn’t up to scratch and you will see both your rank on Google and your traffic go down. If you already have a mobile responsive website, you can relax. Make yourself a drink, sit back and watch the rest of the internet start to scramble. If your website isn’t mobile responsive, then put it on the top of to-do list, because things are about to get rocky.

For the mobile responsive crowd, don’t make your second cocktail just yet, because there’s still a bit of work to do.

Preaching to the converted

Even though websites are accessed via mobile more than 50% of the time, the conversion rates for mobiles (36%) are much lower than desktop. E-commerce mobile websites have much more people dropping off before they’ve purchased. It seems people are more than happy to window shop on mobile but not to buy the product or service.

So what’s turning consumers off?

One reason is simply the size of the screen and the fact that navigation and user experience is still (in general) better on desktop e-commerce sites. Online shoppers can see images more clearly and can easily hop through catalogues of products and back to their shopping trolley.

The biggest issue for mobile is the actual checkout. Always remember that the easier you can make it for a person to buy, the more likely they will. Here are some ways to make your online shopper’s lives a little easier on your mobile site:

  1. Get rid of any obligatory registration forms, or pop-ups that won’t go away, they act as literal barriers to higher conversion rates. Always give people the option to be a member or to continue as a guest.
  2. Enable an autofill option for guests and members. Create a secure section in the members profile where they can store all their payment information once and your site does the rest for them. A two-click or even 1 click shopping experience (Think Amazon) – from product page to the buy button is your e-commerce Eldorado.
  3. Give shoppers options – this includes different payment methods, videos of products, save purchase to buy later and staged payment or deposits for expensive purchases – Airbnb has just introduced a 2 stage payment option.

Promise me the moon

Security and habit are also prime reasons shoppers click off mobile checkouts and go back to their trusty desktops.

People are a sucker for habits and will take a while to start to trust and feel comfortable with new-fangled ways of doing things, especially when money is involved. Shoppers want to feel secure and want to know that their money hasn’t been thrown into a pyramid scheme or that their card details haven’t been flown across the internet to various international fraudsters.

How do you prove to your customers that you aren’t about to throw their money off a cliff? With open, honest information and clear content which is present at every stage of the purchasing process and of course with top end security.

For example, if you deal with large amounts of money or are the middle man between customer and creator, have a third-party banking system and tell your customers how safe their money really is.

We also highly recommend creating a separate page with all your security information and returns policy clearly written and easily accessible from every part of the customer’s journey. The more clarity you provide, the more opportunity you give your customer to trust you.

Definitely don’t exaggerate or claim to provide any form of security that you cannot.  And If you are worried about your e-commerce security, there a plenty of web application scanning tools that can help you analyse risk or contact a professional web designer to help you assess any holes in your back-end security.

It takes two

In the end, a successful e-commerce website that builds strong conversion rates is a website that understands how important it is to listen to customer behaviour and nurture a two-way relationship with their shoppers.

If your mobile e-commerce site isn’t doing what it’s meant to, look at your analytics and ask your customer’s how they think the mobile site could be improved. You’d be surprised how much useful information you collect and how your relationship with your customers strengthens.

And remember that the quickest way to an online shopper’s heart is easy navigation, clear options and secure checkout payment.

Photo by Mia Baker on Unsplash