How Important It Is to Design eCommerce for Mobile Customers

Mobile Design for an eCommerce Website

Customers increasingly access B2B sites through mobile devices, and this trend has skyrocketed in popularity so much since 2010 that most studies find mobile eCommerce has overtaken desktop sales. No B2B decision-maker can afford to ignore mobile users that could make up 50 to percent or more of the platform’s users. Mobile website design is critical to success not only for providing better user experiences but also for ranking in organic searches. Mobile-enhanced websites build customer loyalty, drive brand visibility and decrease bounce rates from frustrated small-screen users.

Why It's necessary to Design for Both Mobile and Desktop Computing

That doesn't mean that a company no longer needs to target desktop and laptop users because office computers will always play important roles in the B2B ordering processes. However, mobile design presents more of a challenge because companies must determine what's important to each user and provide aesthetically pleasing layouts that address those concerns proactively. A Google study found that 74 percent of users plan to return to websites that are mobile-friendly and that 48 percent of mobile users become frustrated with companies that don't have mobile design.[1] Considering that 75 percent of people in the United States own smartphones, the implications of these statistics are staggering. The challenges of serving both desktop and mobile users include:

  • Mobile usually doesn't support Flash technology, so Flash needs updating to work for every browser and mobile device.
  • Special mobile features, such as click-to-call, must be enabled.
  • Identifying the source of mobile access provides expanded metrics and deeper insights about customers.
  • Many customers not only engage websites through mobile devices but also connect to websites from within apps and social media links.
  • Effective zoom functions need to work on all areas of the website.
  • Companies need to capture orders across channels and devices while connecting seamlessly with office applications such as configuration validation, pricing tiers and delivery integrations.
  • Multilevel menus and submenus don't work well on mobile, but subcatalogs can be tailored to each user.
  • Designing for 320 pixels isn't enough because 176, 240, 320, 360, and landscape ~480-600 widths are commonly used.
  • Designing for touchscreens creates its own set of challenges because precise cursors aren't the same as stubby fingers, so more surrounding space is needed to prevent overlapping.


Design and Marketing Challenges for Businesses

Getting the right ads to users requires targeted analytics and profile-specific content to reach the right users with the right resources, and small-screen displays need to adjust automatically and intuitively to provide a favorable user experience. Paid PPC campaigns provide excellent data for profiling and segregating customers, testing keywords for searches and determining website usability on different mobile devices.

Ranking Highly in Organic Keyword Searches

Responsive design is used by Google as a major ranking factor, so mobile optimization is a key consideration in SEO strategy. Optimizing for long-tail keywords gives companies the best chances to rank highly, and getting conversions depends on providing an easy user experience for mobile users. Even if targeting global customers, it's important to optimize for local searches by developing local citations and authoritative links in the cities where B2B organizations have offices. It's also easier to optimize for local searches, so targeting the cities where companies get lots of customers can help companies to rank at or near the top of SERPs for mobile devices.

Mobile App Usage Provides Insights

Apps are becoming increasingly popular, and Nielsen data shows that app users spend 89 percent of their time within their favorite apps.[2] Mobile designers can borrow strategies from app developers to deliver a more app-like experience to each mobile customer. However, many companies decide to develop their own apps to foster greater loyalty. Open source app development tools can help companies build apps for Android and Apple and test usability on multiple devices.

Statistics Tell the Story of Increasing Mobile Usage

Mobile eCommerce or mCommerce accounts for 34 percent of eCommerce globally, but 2.7 percent mobile-conversion rates lag behind desktop conversions of 4.4 percent.[3] This trend is probably caused by customer frustration with placing orders on mobile-unfriendly sites. Many decision-makers think that mobile use is primarily just to check on a quick fact or get a phone number, but that's no longer true. Millennials can play their smartphones like piano virtuosos--touching here, scrolling there and speaking to initiate keyword searches, so mobile website design needs to load quickly, respond intuitively and provide an app-like experience even if companies don't develop their own proprietary apps. More than half of all B2B searches are initiated by people who are under age 34, and 81 percent of younger, nonexecutive staff are involved in B2B decision-making.[4] Statistics define how B2B companies should concentrate their mobile marketing, and simply segregating by desktop and mobile device doesn't take into account the differences in tablets, iPads, iPhones, android Phones and other computing devices. About 10 percent of U.S. transactions were made on iPhones while Android users accounted for 6 percent U.S. eCommerce transactions.

Visual Design Considerations for Mobile Marketing

Visual content can tell complex stories while relieving information overload and eye strain from reading too much on a small screen. Effective B2B content curation involves choosing images, videos, charts, infographics, photo carousels and slideshows that engage buyers while telling complex stories through profile-specific combinations of visuals and content such as product descriptions, white papers, statistics and other sales materials. The right visuals can actually convey more information and complex concepts in a few seconds--especially when combined with the right content, captions and text.

Developing Strategies for Mobile eCommerce

Responsive, adaptive design isn't just about scaling your website to fit on a smaller screen. There are many design issues to consider such as what's important for new or returning users to see on their screens. Testing your site on different screens and analyzing site traffic to find out the typical breakdown of customer profiles based on the devices they use are critical elements of planning. That's why enlisting a development partner is critical. A trusted collaborative vendor doesn't just sell your software but works with your IT staff on mobile design issues, monitors and tests usability, optimizes design aesthetics and curates personalized content and features through full platform integrations with operating software and third-party resources.
[1] Searchengineland: Reasons B2B Marketers Must Embrace Mobile Now
[2] Mobile marketing statistics 2016>
[3] Criteo: State of Mobile Commerce: Growing like a weed
[4] Surge Labs: B2B Responsive Web Design