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Optimising sites for mobile e-commerce

by  David Dwyer on  07/02/2015

The continued growth of mobile shopping & what it means for you?

Have you received an email from Google Webmaster Tools re your website's responsiveness?

While Google prefers Responsive sites, where your site returns all the same content on all platforms, most e-retailers recognise that such sites are not the ideal for purchases made on mobiles, due to slow download speeds.  In fact, Responsive sites are usually a turn-off for your customers. 

Mobile use has now overtaken desktop use and people want to be able to buy what they want quickly and without fuss, using their phones.  According to a 2014 IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Report1, 52% of traffic to UK e-commerce sites now comes from smartphones and tablets.  John Lewis said as far back as Christmas 2013 that more than 70% of their online visitors arrived by phone.  Those are big numbers.
A report2 in October 2014  said that mobile commerce had risen 102% in the past year, and commented "Any online retailer that does not yet have a mobile commerce site is now way behind the curve and is potentially losing money every day".  The basic thesis is that, to make sure your customers spend their money with you, you need a faster, more responsive site than your competitors.

The same report quoted Internet Retailer as saying: "A one-second delay in web site page load time translates to a 7 percent loss in conversions, according to research firm Aberdeen Group Inc.", and that "among 12 top-tier responsive mobile sites the average page-load time was more than 18 seconds".  If a 1-second delay leads to a 7% loss of conversions, what might an 18-second delay mean to your business? 

Another report3, in October 2014, noted that the conversion rate for mobile shoppers is 160% higher on optimised sites than on un-optimised ones, and added: "The average order value for shoppers on smartphones on non-optimised sites is 70% of the average order value for shoppers on PCs" on the same retailers' sites.  So not only are many more people actually buying from optimised sites, they are spending 30% more per order than visitors to non-optimised sites.

It will not have escaped your notice that some of these figures are quite old; they would be even bigger now.  Using mobile phones to access the web and to make purchases is continually increasing and it's not going to go away.  So those who say that they won't optimise their sites for mobile use because they don't get good conversions from them are missing the point.  They're not getting good results because their sites aren't fit for purpose.  Money spent on a well-designed mobile site will do far more to increase a retailer's bottom line than will improvements to sites designed to be read on PCs.
Google may not like it, but they may have to change the way their search engines work because that's the way the rest of the world increasingly works.  They can't argue with the sort of numbers quoted above. E-commerce has gone mobile and there's no going back; make sure you're not left behind.

David Dwyer is Managing Director of Inspire Web Development. He has years of experience in a range of web and IT roles plus seven years in sales and marketing in a blue-chip FMCG company. David's academic and professional qualifications include a BA (Hons) in Business Economics (Personnel & Ergonomics) from the University of Paisley, an MSc in Information Technology (Systems) from Heriot-Watt University and PRINCE2 Practitioner-level certification. He is also an active member of the British Computer Society, Entrepreneurial Exchange and Business for Scotland.

Follow Inspire on Twitter @inspireltd and @developersos


1. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/netsuite-responsive-web-design-enables-businesses-to-transform-ecommerce-2014-10-14

2. https://lbstrategy.wordpress.com/

3. https://www.internetretailer.com/2014/10/01/

Digital Trends, Disruptive not Disrupting Tech, e-commerce, e-tailers, m-commerce, Mobile Commerce, Mobile Websites, Responsive Web Design, The Evolving Web, User eXperience, UX Design, Web Design
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