Retailers Need to Be Mobile First for Today’s Shoppers
We all know the prevalence and importance of mobile, and how the whole landscape of retail and e-commerce changed with the launch of the smartphone. However, it’s no longer enough to be mobile responsive. With consumers everywhere essentially living on their phones, particularly as shopping in-store has decreased with the pandemic, retailers need to be delivering online customer experiences that marry how shoppers are using their devices with how they’re accessing and interacting with their brand. It’s not about designing what you want and then retrospectively trying to make it work. You need to have a mobile-first strategy to be successful.
What's the difference between mobile first vs. mobile responsive?
At first glance, mobile first and mobile responsive may seem pretty similar. However, there's a big difference, and it’s one that often gets overlooked to the detriment of retailers.
Mobile responsiveness, or responsive web design, essentially refers to sites that are being designed for the desktop first and are being made to function well or look good on mobile second. Yes, things may look OK, but it inherently means mobile is a bit of an afterthought, and some components may not work as desired or scale down properly.
Mobile first is as it sounds — designed for mobile initially. It can then be scaled up to larger devices like a tablet or desktop. Therefore, in practice, a retailer is designing the user experience for mobile in the first instance, creating content specifically for mobile, and the technology is built to allow mobile to take center stage.
Why is being mobile first so important? Statistics paint a compelling picture:
- The broad landscape: Mobile has accounted for half of global website traffic since 2017 (Statista).
- E-commerce reality: Mobile commerce will account for 73 percent of all retail e-commerce sales by 2021 (Statista).
- First impressions count: Customers who have a negative experience on mobile are 62 percent less likely to purchase from you in the future (Google).
- Social is standing out: Up to 20 percent of shoppers are heading to social media first to seek out trends and inspiration as well as find products.
It’s clear that mobile makes up a large portion of e-commerce, but when it comes to mobile sales conversion, most businesses are sitting at around 50 percent or less relative to that of desktop devices.
Also, in 2019, Google made mobile-first indexing its default. This means your mobile website and content will be indexed above your other sites, so basically your Google ranking and organic site traffic is largely dependent upon being mobile first.
Finally, customers demand seamless interactions, regardless of the platform. In this fast-paced world, they’ll drop off at the first sign of poor page speeds and/or clunky user interfaces. They'll grow frustrated if they can’t find the product information they need. And if the content lacks personalization or relevance, they won’t think twice about going somewhere else.
Consumers are on the go and want information and access to products and services fast — so fast, in fact, that Google even attributed a one-second delay in mobile page load speed to a decline in conversion of up to 20 percent!
Making Mobile First a Reality
It seems simple, but to implement mobile-first experiences you need to shift the mindset in your business to actually being mobile first. That way everything that's implemented therein actually delivers on that promise.
You can then look at what technology needs implementing to help build experiences for mobile, what user experience principles you will follow that will result in a successful mobile commerce experience, and how you create and present your content that will engage mobile visitors first and foremost.
As more and more consumers access retailers’ sites from their smartphones, it’s essential to have a mobile-first approach. Otherwise, you risk losing business to competitors that do.
James Brooke is the founder and CEO of Amplience, an API-first, headless content management platform for enterprise retail.
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