In my last blog post I discussed how people are spending less and less time on their desktops and more time using their mobile devices for their everyday online activities such as product research and shopping. A recent survey of our AskingCanadians online research community revealed that 20 per cent of Canadians are reaching for their mobile phones to research and make purchases either by visiting an e-commerce website, using a shopping app, or by paying directly using a mobile payment app.
But designing for mobile can be difficult, especially if you are designing for e-commerce. On one hand you want to ensure your users have access to all the features and functions of your desktop website but on the other hand; screen sizes, functionality and other constraints of mobile means that if your site isn’t properly designed, it could become cluttered and over complicated leading to poor user experience and lost sales.
When designing for mobile e-commerce Delvinia uses the following guidelines to ensure our clients are providing a great mobile purchasing experience:
- Keep your homepage simple and product focused – Help your users find what they are looking for by keeping the homepage uncluttered. Show featured products and provide easy access to other key areas of your site and your shopping catalogue.
- Include search – Browsing and searching for products on a mobile phone can be tedious. Less space means less room for content and longer browsing times. Adding a robust search that offers auto-fill, suggested products, options to filter and sort and other functions to speed up the search process will greatly improve the search experience
- Keep navigation available on all pages – Navigation options are limited on mobile making it easy for users to go down a path and easily get lost. By keeping your navigation available on all pages you ensure that your users can easily navigate to all areas of your site from anywhere on your site.
- Have the shopping cart and checkout CTAs available on all pages – The smaller screen size on mobile devices means that it’s easier for users to miss key information or actions. If consumers can’t find the shopping cart or checkout button this creates a barrier for the user and could lead them to abandon the purchasing process. By making key actions easy to find on your site you are streamlining and improving the purchasing process.
- Make it personal – Let users create accounts and give them the option to save their billing and shipping information and have it easily accessible for future purchases. On the same note, allow first time users to complete purchases as a guest. Forcing them to create an account will lead to lost sales because consumers are less likely to complete their purchase.
- Include only required fields in your forms – No one likes to fill out forms especially on mobile phones. Only ask the necessary information needed from the user to complete their purchase.
- Keep the checkout design and layout simple – Once on the purchasing path don’t add visual distractions that could draw your consumers’ attention away from their purchase. Keep the layout clean and simple, remove links and content not associated with checkout. For example remove ads for other products but keep links to shipping and contact information or FAQs.
- Show progress indicators – Let users know how many steps are in the checkout process, what step they are at in the checkout process, and how many steps are left.
The design of your mobile e-commerce site could mean the difference between making a sale and losing a sale. By keeping these tips—and the customer in mind throughout the design process—you’ll create a better user experience and will be more likely to reach your business objectives.