24% of Mobile Sales Are Phone-Based, But Smartphone User Experience Is Lacking
- Even though e-commerce sales originating from smartphones have increased by 91% on the year, only 24% of all such sales are phone-based.
- Similarly, although mobile conversions rose by .5% on the year, from 1.4% to 1.9%, desktop still rules, and even tablets are doing better, with 3.8% conversions.
- Many webpages are still slow to load on mobile, with the May 2015 average page size weighing in at 2MB.
Touted as The Next Big Thing for a couple of years now, mobile commerce has been slow on the uptake. By most accounts, smartphone user experience is keeping that hotly anticipated boom in mobile sales at bay.
Smartphone-enabled sales have increased by 91% on the year, says the annual IMRG report. Perhaps more interestingly, though, only 24% of all mobile sales originate from phones. The rest are tablet-powered.
Meanwhile, mobile conversions are still a paltry 1.9% (up from the previous year’s 1.4%) – a far cry from desktop performance. And even tablet conversions stand at a much higher 3.8%.
In plain English, both anecdotal evidence and consistent surveys confirm one and the same reality:
Retailers are not doing enough to provide the best possible smartphone user experience.
Image source: ClickZ
So, why are sales figures still so low? There are several factors that play into this equation, to be explored in what follows—alongside a handful of potential solutions.
Sources of friction in mobile user experience design
1. Slow loading pages – page size
The search engines’ focus on mobile responsiveness has forever changed the game of smartphone user experience. Nowadays, mobile-centric design allows for a plurality of ways to make pages lighter.
Obviously, users dislike webpages that are both slow to load and sneakily eat out of their data plan.
2. Inefficient form design
Registration is often complicated enough on a desktop. It only gets more frustrating on small mobile screens. Here are some issues we’ve encountered with some major retailers:
- No password format guidance. Boots, for instance, doesn’t let you use the same number or letter twice in your password—but never say so, until you’ve entered your desired password. Imagine having to load the page below 3 times, on a slow 3G connection!
Image source: Boots mobile app
- Too many irrelevant details. As Internet marketing experts, we know that details such as date of birth matter. But don’t let them block your clients’ route to checkout. Let them buy first; mine for data later. (Pro tip: try incentivizing them for 100% profile completeness, like LinkedIn does.)
- No end in sight. A while back, marketers strove to keep the number of user clicks to check out at a minimum. This might be why so many forms stretch out endlessly on a single page. Try chunking out related forms on separate screen for an easier task load on the user.
3. Deviation from platform standard
This includes apps and/or mobile page versions in which the search function works counter-intuitively or against the grain of the users’ previous experiences with said OS. The problems this causes might include a poorly designed search function or faulty product selection.
Another issue is the one illustrated below. The screen has been optimized for iOS users—but it looks just the same on Android devices. To boot, making users save the page link on their phone’s home screen might add with customer retention, yet it also risks alienating some. Not worth the risk!
Image source: Debenhams mobile
Optimal smartphone user experience design solutions
While some issues can be solved by optimizing pages for mobile connections, others are less straightforward to deal with. For instance, checkout forms often have to include the buyer’s address and card number. However, there are some alternatives you can consider for your e-store:
- Let them pay as guests. They might not sign up the first time, but if your goal is to boost sales, less work for the customer usually means more revenue for you.
- Let them pay later. Many online buyers like to browse for products and add them to their carts during idle times: while commuting or queuing, for instance. But if your purchase form is excessively long, allow the users to save the content of their carts for desktop checkout.
- Let them pay differently. We mean PayPal (and other escrow systems). The user only has to fill in her card number and address once and can then pay by providing their signup email and password.
- Let them pay with 1 click. Amazon allows users the option to save their address and card details for future use. No wonder they’re winning at e-commerce!