How to ensure your retail business is optimised for mobile

Zoe Ripley, international marketing director at ChannelAdvisor, takes a look at optimising your business for the mobile world.

Portable platforms are growing in importance. According to comScore, 76% of the UK population own a smartphone while 42% of the population own a tablet. With 52% of traffic to retail sites coming via smartphones and tablets, retailers need to ensure they are optimsised and prepared for mobile. ChannelAdvisor has seven ways retailers can prepare their business for mobile traffic.

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1. Explore your site as a visitor

Put yourself in the customers’ shoes and explore your site as if you were a first-time visitor. Ask yourself is it easily navigable? Are customer service and company click-to-call information readily available? How about the search function, navigation menu, and product pages? Think about what you would find frustrating if you were a customer visiting the site, make note of it and map out a plan to tweak the qualities of your site that would cause potential customers to bounce.

2. Make sure “add to basket” buttons are accessible

Don’t bury your “add to cart” buttons two or three pages deep. You can spend big money on improving the checkout and payment experience, but if users aren’t putting items in their baskets, those investments aren’t as effective. And even if you have “add to basket” buttons, make sure they’re visible and in a prominent location on the page.

3. Meet the need for speed

Website speed is an overlooked mobile expectation. Research shows that 75% of online consumers left for a competitor at peak traffic times if the page load was too slow. Google’s PageSpeed Insights will help you check site speed and offer suggestions to make it faster. Keep in mind that improperly sized images can cause slow load times and may need to be reviewed.

4. Keep conversion rate in perspective

Sometimes low conversion rates are simply the result of unqualified traffic. If you were to block all inadequate traffic to your website, it’s possible that your true conversion rate might be higher. The lesson here is that conversion rate shouldn’t be the only website metric you’re watching. Consider the time on page and unique visitors, for example. Also, keep an eye on the bounce rate of your traffic coming from your PPC and comparison shopping engine campaigns, and consider what you can do to drive more qualified traffic from those channels.

5. Simplify mobile navigation

Even if you only sell one type of product, you probably have more segmentation and subpages for those products on your desktop website that is ideal for your mobile site. Space is sparse on mobile devices so don’t overwhelm visitors; simplify their journey with basic mobile navigation.

6. Optimise Product Media Display

If you’ve invested in product imagery with multiple angles and views, colour swatching or video, be sure it’s optimised for tablets and smartphones. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words” was never truer; mobile visitors want to see a clear product image, no matter what device they’re browsing on.

7. Consider eBay and Amazon mobile

It’s no secret that a fully optimised mobile website with all the bells and whistles can come with a hefty price tag. If your budget is conservative, consider approaching mobile through eBay and Amazon. Their mobile apps are top performers and have a ready audience of millions of shoppers. If you’re listing on either marketplace, your products will be available to these mobile shoppers.

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