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3 Reasons Mobile Conversion Rates Stink — And What to Do About It

There’s no doubt about it — mobile is hot. More users are now accessing the web via mobile than through desktop, and we can expect this trend to accelerate.

But if that’s true, then why are mobile conversion rates down in the dumps? U.S. desktop-based conversion rates are at 4%, while smartphone conversions are only at 1.3%, according to a 2016 study by Monetate. There are very understandable reasons why consumers tend not to convert on mobile. The Adobe Mobile Retail Report lists three big reasons users switch to desktop to complete purchases:

  • Easier navigation
  • Viewing photos on a bigger screen
  • More convenient platform to input payment info

consumers, desktop mobile, purchase, adobe, mobile, retail, reportWhen you think about it, those reasons make a ton of sense. Let’s take a deeper look into them and talk about how to achieve higher mobile conversions.

Reason #1: Ease of navigation

In the Adobe survey, 30% of consumers said ease of navigation was the reason they switched to desktop to complete purchases.

It’s hard to blame them. A small screen size is mobile’s enduring problem — there’s just not a lot of space to work with. Pinching a screen to resize a website is no fun, and neither is clicking on tiny hyperlinks.

How do you get around this? Well, here are a few excellent suggestions from Karol K, writing for Adobe:

Embrace a different design philosophy. Your mobile website doesn’t have to include everything your desktop site does. In fact, you might choose to include less to avoid overwhelming your visitor. (Check out how Birchbox pares their mobile site down to the essentials for a clean, elegant look.)

Birchbox, desktop, mobile, conversion, rate, buy, shop

Make things tappable. Space things out and prioritize buttons over links. Your customer isn’t using a super-precise mouse pointer; they’re using their big ‘ol thumb. So give them lots of room to tap around.

Use a responsive design. This type of design resizes itself based on size of the screen, and it’s been shown to increase mobile conversions. You should absolutely, positively use responsive design for your mobile experience.

Ultimately, the mobile sites that convert are the ones that are built with limited screen space in mind. Your desktop and mobile experiences will be different, and that’s okay.

Reason #2: Customers want to see bigger images

Coming in second place in Adobe’s survey, 26% of consumers said they switched to desktop because they wanted to view photos on a bigger screen.

Oftentimes, a mobile site won’t allow a customer to zoom in on images. Or maybe the customer will click on an image and get a pixelated mess. That’s a frustrating e-commerce experience, and it increases the likelihood of the customer bolting to their desktop — or simply giving up on the purchase altogether.

According to the Baymard Institute, 40% of mobile sites don’t have tap or pinch functionality to enlarge images. Make sure your site isn’t stuck in that group. Put big, sharp images in your product listings, and let your customers zoom in to see intricate detail. For inspiration, look no further than Nordstrom, which uses crystal-clear photos with enlarge and zoom functionality.

Nordstrom, mobile, conversion, buy, shop, shirt

All this tap-and-pinch stuff ties into a larger concept: Consumers want stellar experiences on mobile, just like they get on desktop. It’s up to brands to leverage the strengths of mobile and create those experiences.

Take Instagram for example. Browsing photos on the app is a dream, with endless scrolling and effortless image discovery. Unfortunately, that experience is largely missing from mobile commerce. One of mobile’s competitive advantages over desktop is how fun it is to swipe a smartphone or tablet screen. We should take advantage of that. Instead of sending customers to boring product pages, we can create e-commerce sites that leverage the browsing and discovery experiences on Instagram-like platforms. Here, there’s a lot of lucrative potential.

Reason #3: It’s hard to input payment information

And now we have the third most-cited reason consumers switch to desktop for e-commerce purchases: 16% say they do it to input payment information.

It sure makes sense. The prospect of filling out multiple form fields is bad enough, but the friction is only compounded when you have to type on a tiny mobile screen. When 46% of cart abandonments happen at the time of payment, it’s worth spending the time to optimize your mobile checkout process.

For help with that, look for mobile checkout tools that automatically fill out consumers’ shipping addresses and payment info. This way, you decrease the chances of your customers getting scared off by countless form fields.

Just look at how easy it is for a customer to check out via Apple Pay, for example (video from BigCommerce):

Or through Amazon Pay…

Or through PayPal One Touch.

It’s incredible how mobile checkout options make payments so seamless. They’re a much-needed innovation, and they’ll be instrumental in optimizing mobile commerce going forward.

At Curalate, we’re constantly staying on top of the latest trends in commerce — especially mobile. We help more than 800 of the world’s leading brands sell online more effectively by creating compelling commerce experiences that adapt to how consumers discover products. On average, our clients achieve:

  • 79% increases in time-on-site
  • 16% jumps in average order value
  • 31% increases in conversion rate.

What can Curalate do for your business? Contact us to find out.

See how Curalate can help your business grow.

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