3 Ways to Reduce Friction and Increase Mobile Conversions

This article is part of our ongoing Mobile Optimization Initiative series designed to help Magento merchants close the mobile revenue gap.

Smartphone conversion rates have improved over the last couple of years — however, we are still nowhere near to closing the mobile gap.

One hypothesis for this gap is that since people tend to browse on their phones, we haven’t yet prioritized ordering, checkout, and payment flow. Another possibility is that there is an unconscious bias which causes physical and mental friction that stops customers from purchasing on their phones.

This friction is an ongoing challenge to any website owner interested in improving mobile conversions and increasing their RPV (revenue per visitor).

Providing mobile shoppers with a seamless buying experience was the motivation behind the Mobile Optimization Initiative. It is the Magento community way of fighting the aforementioned challenge of mobile friction and finding solutions which will optimize our client’s shops for the best browsing and ordering experience on all devices.

How can you ensure your site is properly optimized?

Glad you asked.

Before I share a couple of tips and tricks we at Imagination Media have learned over the years, let’s cover the basics.

There are a lot of different terms surrounding mobile. In order to dissect the topic properly, we’re first going to focus on the differences between mobile friendly, mobile optimized, and responsive design.

Mobile friendly

Mobile friendly refers to a site that displays accurately both on a desktop or laptop computer, a smartphone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry), or tablet (iPad, Kindle, Galaxy, etc.). Having a mobile-friendly website is the bare minimum for e-commerce stores today. A mobile-friendly site will be good enough for Google’s robots, but it is not as user-friendly as it could be. This is where mobile optimization comes into play.

Mobile optimized

Mobile optimized means that the site will reformat itself for a list of handheld or tablet devices. This means it is more than a small version of the desktop site. The goal of a mobile-optimized website is to make the website as frictionless as possible for the mobile user. That is why it appears with larger navigation buttons, reformatted content, and differently sized images.

Responsive design

Responsive design is a method of developing a site that is clearly visible and understandable on any device. When a website is designed this way, it automatically reorientates the content and structure of the site based on the screen size of the device. It’s the only way to guarantee that your website looks good and will deliver a great mobile experience on any device.

Check out this example by simply resizing your browser window!

It all boils down to reducing friction

Friction occurs when there’s a barrier between browsing and purchasing. This translates to lower RPV (revenue per visitor) and essentially hits you where it matters — in the number of products you sell.

Here are three things that Imagination Media have found that specifically help to reduce friction and convert more visitors to customers:

1. Load time

People are busy and impatient — most mobile shoppers are looking for a quick, efficient experience. They won’t spend more than a few seconds waiting for a page to load. Instead, they will simply click to another site.

You can improve the load time of your site by A/B testing various treatments. We suggest adding a security lock to the checkout CTA, credit card auto detect, or adding PayPal Express/Credit to multiple locations at the top of the checkout funnel. Anything you can change should be tested to confirm exactly how it will affect your conversions.

2. Image size

Large image files slow down your page speed and make the site “heavier.” Product photos are a common culprit as you want images which are large enough to be viewed clearly, but small enough to have a negligible impact on page load speed.
Think about reducing the size of images (without making them look pixelated) or using image compression to remove useless metadata. Both can have a big impact on load times which, ultimately, delivers a better mobile experience for customers.

3. User experience

Know your audience. Various research shows that millennials prefer an SMS-driven transaction as opposed to email. If millennials are your target audience, think about using a Magento 2 extension to allow your customers to choose an email or a phone number as their primary communication method. Being able to log in with an SMS could give you a head start you need with a generation that appreciates customized user experience.

Click here to read about the Magento 2 extension which enables SMS login as well as a number of other transactions.
While effective optimization strategies vary from merchant to merchant, these are a few of the ways you can work on to reduce the friction in the mobile browsing experience. After all, if the numbers are to be trusted, providing a seamless mobile experience will be critical to growth.

For more ideas and results of optimization testing, visit the Mobile Optimization Initiative or simply drop us a line.

This article originally appeared on the Magento Blog.