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GUEST OPINION Optimising websites for the m-commerce boom

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Discussions about mobile-commerce continue to get louder as more and more consumers turn to their phones to shop, but a recent BI Intelligence report on e-commerce strategies has found that a surprising number of online retailers have yet to act on this information. Matt Parsons, Chief Customer Officer at PowerReviews offers some helpful tips to make it easier

According to a recent BI Intelligence report report, 40% of the top 100 global retailers are still lacking mobile-optimized websites (even with smartphone users accounting for 53% of all online traffic, beating out both tablet and desktop). Although eCommerce retailers may be lagging in this area, it’s imperative that they take the necessary steps to optimize their mobile websites to capture the increasing number of consumers who are using their phones to browse and buy.

Here are some best practices for retailers looking to leverage the shift toward mobile shopping:

Optimise your mobile site display

From redeeming coupons, to last-minute research while browsing in-store, consumers are using their phones throughout their entire purchase journey. But while many brands and retailers are developing their own apps to capture shoppers’ mobile attention, a recent PowerReviews study found that 54% of consumers prefer to visit a store’s website via their mobile phone, as opposed to the 17% that would rather download and visit a retailer’s app. For this reason, it’s key for retailers to have a mobile-optimized site for their shoppers’ convenience. In fact, in a world where mobile users are spending more money than their desktop counterparts, the ability to access a mobile optimized site could ultimately make or break sales.

Create a seamless user experience

When desktop users visit a website, they expect appealing visuals, cleanly formatted content and the ability to seamlessly navigate from page to page. A mobile shopping experience should be no different. Cross-platform integration of content is key, so when a user switches from desktop to tablet to phone, they should be able to seamlessly open every page, browse reviews and access their shopping cart.

Ultimately, consumers who encounter slow load times and inconsistencies across channels will leave in search of a better, mobile-optimized experience elsewhere. And even if they do stick around through a few website hiccups, it’s safe to assume they probably won’t follow through with a payment via the mobile site.

Provide easy access to product reviews

Information including business hours, FAQs and product descriptions are necessary for consumers’ purchase decisions. But more than ever before, consumers are seeking out ratings and reviews on their mobile device to find the information they need about products, whether they’re purchasing directly on their phone or quickly researching products in store. In fact, according to our research, 70% of shoppers would like to access product ratings and reviews while shopping in store. For on-the-go shoppers especially, mobile-optimized ratings and reviews are crucial. If shoppers can’t easily view ratings and reviews directly from their phone, they’re likely to walk away from the purchase.

One of the biggest obstacles retailers run into when implementing mobile reviews is that the code needed to display reviews can significantly slow down load times. Look for a review provider with light code to preserve your efforts to improve the user experience, keep load times quick and ultimately result in conversions.

As more and more consumers turn to mobile shopping, the 40% of retailers without mobile-optimized sites will be left in the dust. It’s imperative for retailers to take the necessary steps towards mobile-optimization to further enhance the success of their business, as mobile will continue to be the channel that sets retailers apart from one another.

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