Guide for Building a Mobile First Ecommerce Strategy
To start from the basics, what is this mobile first design? In simple terms, this is an emerging design strategy for online ecommerce sites, which ensures that the ecommerce content that you create and publish is displayed logically without any interface problems. This is essentially a very smart process of design that should be given much though especially by the online ecommerce stores owners who wish to make their online stores responsive.
Responsive versus mobile first design
While these two terms may be used interchangeably to mean online ecommerce store sites that adjust so as to fit on screens of various sizes, they are far from being the same thing. Mobile first design focusses on tablets and smartphones first as the name intimates and the larger screens come in second. The responsive design focusses on the viewport that is the largest in order to design for scalability across screens of all sizes.
Why mobile first design?
Mobile commerce has been on the surge in the recent times and as so, an ecommerce online store that is geared by a mobile first design is sure to be responsive across all devices. The principle behind this is that by starting from the smallest screens, this guides the proper layout of typography and graphics for other sizes of screens. This also determines the top to bottom information priority.
However, this does not mean that we entirely disregard the non-mobile browsers. The approach should be one that is holistic and able to accommodate all shoppers on all devices.
Considerations for a mobile first ecommerce
The following key considerations should be taken into context when building a mobile first ecommerce design
Content inventories is a useful step that helps decide what elements and web pages should be eliminated, updated, merged or displayed. This is also known as a content audit and the goal here is to revise the navigation structure on an ecommerce site and decide which content to be displayed on each page. This is essentially the first step towards a design layout that is responsive.
Design simplification and content priority
Mobile first design focuses on the order and layout of the content. This is so because information on smaller sizes of screens is displayed in a vertical format. Therefore, the most important information should be positioned at the top such as product name, price, and image and then the rest of the information follows at the bottom. This eases the work of the user as the more important information can be easily filtered.
Bigger screens will always have more information that is not always necessary and which creates confusion and clutter. When information is prioritized, the result is a layout that is modern and clean and which only emphasizes on the information that is relevant and useful.
The patterns created when designing for view ports that are smaller do have a substantial impact on the shopping experience if the customer. Certain elements such as consistently designed dialog boxes, forms and image galleries will always encourage the customers to explore deeper into the ecommerce site.
As the content is simplified to the elements that are necessary, one has to come up with ingenious ways to tell stories that are engaging by making use of the layout. The customers should be able to navigate through intuitively. This is made possible by making proper use of the small space that is available i.e. the positioning of images and the call to action should be well arranged. As the customer scrolls to the bottom, the story should flow along and eventually leading them into a successful purchase.
Nonresponsive ecommerce stores are a put off for the online shoppers. Additionally this has a direct harm on the inbound traffic as a result of the updates made by Google in last year, which favor sites that are mobile friendly.
It still baffles me to find online commerce sites that are unresponsive to this day. The ability to attract mobile users will costly rely on the ability of a website to display properly on a small size screen which paves for a blissful customer journey.
Thinking through the journey from end-to-end
Even after having responsive site, the online commerce sites can still lose on successful purchases as a result of taking the portal as just a sales tool. Most people turn to their phones for support even before they become ready to buy an item. This journey from research to purchase and finally the after sale can be aided by the mobile first design of the online ecommerce websites by having dynamic imagery and support such as social media feedback and endorsement. The ability to continue this journey by use of elements such as click-and-collect option can also add to the experience.
Investing in applications
It is surprising that some of the biggest ecommerce stores still have problems with their applications. Given that more than 65% of all the global mobile transactions happen via a mobile app, this is a disappointing finding. Complaint that have been brought forward about these sites include, crashing, slow loading times and functionality that is less optimal than that of the desktop site.
This has been clearly evidenced by the poor rating on customer reviews, which can put off future buyers.
Ability to handle the high volume of the online traffic
It is of vital importance that desktop, tablet and mobile interfaces get a robust backing by a proven ecommerce platform that has ability to handle huge volumes of online store orders. The principle behind this is that a good experience on an online commerce store does not end when the shoppers checkout but continues until all the issues are fully fulfilled. It becomes very easy for a supposedly good experience to turn disappointing right at the end.
This is a key factor in for successful mobile shopping. A common trend is that the mobile users will only do research using their phones and then fail to check out. To encourage them to check out successfully, highlight the free delivery offers and the return policy that is available in the online commerce website. A clever method being applied is the encouragement to spend more in order to claim the free delivery.
Another useful strategy is to ease the signup and sign in process. Some of the online stores include a lengthy process of verification before the user is able to sign in. moving to a design that is mobile first minded, the sign in process should be simple and fast.
After all is said and done, security is a key factor when it comes to online stores. The payment gateways that an ecommerce site decides to go with should be loophole free and be able to integrate with the mobile first design seamlessly. This not only builds trust with the customers but also encourages customers to checkout. Phrases such as pay securely here and secure checkout are both reassuring and helpful in turning a mobile user into a successful customer.
The above listed points form the basic checklist that anybody that is interested in building a mobile first ecommerce store design should take note of before starting on the said endeavor. A design that is responsive will render smoothly on all user viewports with minimal user interface problems as the content is simplified and also displayed in a manner that is logical. With the world being almost fully digitalized, the mobile first design is the way to go for the online commerce stores that want to be future proof.