With more and more customers browsing your web site from a mobile, delivering a better user experience on these devices is essential. A responsive web site that adjusts to specific smartphone parameters is the technical minimum you should aim for. However, if you want to really get those online tills ringing, you need to take into account some customer behaviour factors too
A state-of-the art eCommerce web site is not going to help you if it’s still difficult to browse. Usability tests – where people voice their thoughts as they browse your site – can highlight where any problems may lie that discourage people from buying. A ‘conversion killer’ may be something you’ve overlooked. For instance, a major fashion brand conducted a mobile usability study observing real users speaking aloud as they browsed their site using smartphones. It quickly became clear that customers were unable to view garments close-up – an essential facility in fashion e-commerce. Some just gave up in frustration. So if some aspect of your web site’s performance is puzzling you, it pays to do some direct customer research.
Search facilities should work extra hard on mobile devices. Customers don’t want the long lists of results that you might get on a desktop – they want filtering and better quality results. They also enter more granular search terms and expect ‘type ahead’ support. Check your search logs by device and discover what search terms people are using. Are they getting meaningful results and are they leading to conversions? If not, your search facility needs attention.
Often your customers will begin shopping on a smartphone, but actually make the purchase on a desktop computer. In fact, Google research reveals that as many as two thirds of all users do this. What’s the reason? There’s still some aversion to entering payment details on a smartphone, which is perceived as less secure. Plus customers might also simply find it easier to browse and complete purchases on a desktop.
The sensible course of action is to embrace this behaviour. Allow users to email themselves products, wishlists and their baskets from their phones so they can checkout purchases later on their desktops.
Some web designers can go overboard on iconography for mobiles (though not iWeb’s expert team). Aesthetically pleasing it may be, but if an icon doesn’t adequately explain a function to the customer then it may just confuse them. Instead, you should ensure menu items are also simply worded – like Department, Search, My Account and Basket. Your site should look friendly and welcoming, not intimidating.
It’s surprising how many eCommerce retailers have a poorly executed ‘add to Basket/Bag’ facility on their mobile responsive site. Considering that it’s the crucial interaction stage of the purchase, this can be a huge turn-off for customers. Typical mistakes include asking customers to choose a colour when there is only one or an interface that’s too fiddly or unforgiving.
Test your basket facility at the design and build stage with by observing real users on high speed mobile connections. That way, you can nip these complications in the bud – ensuring a smooth purchasing process for all.
While there’s no doubt that responsive design will enhance your web site for mobile platforms, it’s not the complete answer. If you want to do better business on the web, pay attention to how your users behave, along with their likes and dislikes. There’s no better way of doing this than by observing how they browse your site and listening to their feedback. At iWeb we have considerable expertise in designing eCommerce web sites that function perfectly on mobile devices. Anytime you need our advice, we’re just a phone call away.
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