Building a mobile shopping site involves implementing the mobile-first design, which comes with numerous benefits. It is so responsive, economical, and offers outstanding growth potential.
Other people might say that going mobile-first is the initial step en route to adopting a customer-first attitude. Besides, everybody knows that a good business is customer-centric.
So why aren’t we designing mobile first for our websites with customers in mind?
A mobile-first approach ensures support for increased conversions and improved experiences as many of your customers shop online using mobile devices.
Should you build a mobile shopping app?
While mobile-friendly frameworks and responsive web design can significantly improve the quality of mobile websites, they are not the best ways to turn a mobile shopper into a loyal customer.
A mobile site will work best at the beginning of the shoppers’ mobile shopping experience.
This is when online shoppers are still discovering products. Also, it is when they are using browsers to access mobile sites so they can easily compare other options and switch between sellers.
Moreover, shoppers can add products to their cart and check out using a mobile device just like they would on a computer.
However, mobile sites don’t have the functionality just like the Warby Parker mobile app does. It creates magical experiences for mobile shoppers.
Mobile app users and online shoppers won’t tolerate anything less than seemingly magical or exceptional.
You must know where your focus lies. It will help you understand if it’s a good decision to build a mobile app or not.
Are you focused on growing brand awareness and acquiring new customers?
If so, it might be too early to develop a mobile shopping app.
At the same time, if there’s a steady growth of customer acquisition and growth through loyalty is what you want to focus on, then it’s an excellent time to start knowing the benefits of having mobile shopping apps and how to develop them.
Benefits of Mobile Shopping Apps
Mobile app downloads create an intimate, direct channel for you to communicate with app users. Downloads present a huge opportunity to reach, influence, and convert mobile shoppers more than ever before.
Further, if you can create a seemingly magical and exceptional experience for your customers – you will enjoy the benefits of having a mobile shopping app for your business.
1.Increase in customer loyalty and retention
For quite some time, loyalty programs have been a vital part of retail. These days, customers look forward to more personalized experiences. Loyalty programs have become even more essential for e-commerce.
Mobile apps provide an ideal platform for running a loyalty program for customers. With a mobile app, you can give a greater level of personalization to your customers. You can do this by offering relevant suggestions and curating content based on their previous purchases and interests.
Customers can adjust certain settings to meet their needs. And, they have more control over their experience.
To deepen the connection even further, you can send personalized promotions or notifications with status updates straight to the user’s mobile device home screen.
Besides, many people stick to what they know. When users download apps, they are less likely to install new and unfamiliar ones.
Accordingly, retailers who can get their apps onto various mobile devices have a higher chance of acquiring and retaining long-term customers.
2.Better conversion rates and higher Average Order Value (AOV)
A mobile shopping app has a significantly higher conversion rate than those a mobile site. Customers can easily find the products they are interested in through the help of highly personalized experiences they get from the apps.
With a mobile shopping app, entrepreneurs can integrate mobile wallets such as Apple Pay and Google Pay to speed up the checkout process.
Rather than having to pull out their card and enter their personal payment info manually, customers can tap a virtual button to select their preferred mobile wallet and checkout option.
Additionally, the Average Order Value (AOV), not just conversion rates, is higher on mobile apps. When compared to mobile sites, AOV is higher when customers spend more per order on mobile apps.
Reasons to Consider Mobile-First E-commerce Site Design
Currently, there are a staggering 5.32 billion unique mobile users worldwide. The number continues to grow every year at a rate of 1.9%.
Because of the increasing mobile device usage around the world, more and more people are choosing to use mobile phones for mobile shopping. This is exactly why mobile e-commerce sites should have a mobile-first design.
These days, online shopping using a mobile device takes more than half of the overall internet traffic.
Yet, many e-commerce stores still use the desktop-first design model with mobile responsiveness as an additional feature. An increasing number of today’s industry leaders are using this model for their e-commerce websites.
What is Mobile-First?
The mobile-first concept is about developing a website that will work for smartphones and then scale it up later for desktops. It is the exact opposite of the desktop-first concept designed for traditional websites.
For mobile-first models, the initial designing and prototyping will depend on mobile functionality first for smaller screens. Larger screens in desktops are factored in afterward.
The purpose here is to bring more high-quality user experiences to mobile users than what has been available before.
Progressive Enhancement vs. Graceful Degradation Methodology
The mobile-first approach is part of the progressive enhancement methodology. As the opposite of graceful degradation, progressive enhancement suggests that websites should be developed based on the features that all browser versions will support rather than adding the features from the start of the app development.
In contrast, the graceful degradation methodology proposes building an application based on a website’s full functionality and then downgrading this improved version for various types of browser versions. The examples of different browser versions we mean here are old browsers, and in this case, mobile devices.
Graceful degradation often produces mobile websites that are not good enough. That is why designing mobile first is now changing e-commerce with enhanced experiences that support omnichannel sales.
By focusing on the mobile-first approach, shoppers can benefit from the functionalities and exceptional designs both on the big and small screens.
Mobile-first vs. Mobile-friendly
It’s worth noting that mobile-friendly design is not the same thing as mobile-first design.
Mobile-friendly design, often referred to as mobile-responsive design, was meant for the larger screen of a desktop computer. It is built on the graceful degradation model.
Mobile-friendly designs for a desktop site are scaled down to adapt to a device with a smaller screen. While these designs can work on smartphones, they are mainly geared toward desktop use.
And since the design must be compromised for smaller screens, the scaled-down mobile version is less intuitive, low-quality, and often brings poor user experience.
In contrast, mobile-first methods primarily consider the needs of mobile users. Also, these methods design websites precisely geared for smartphones and other mobile devices.
In particular, online stores benefit the most from mobile-first designs. And since a majority of online purchases take place at online stores, going mobile-first makes a lot of sense.
What Percentage of E-Commerce is Mobile?
Mobile e-commerce transactions happening in the palms of our hands continue to grow in numbers year after year.
In 2019, mobile e-commerce, or M-commerce for short, accounted for a considerable global e-commerce sales of 67.2%, which was equal to $2.32 trillion. And in 2021, global sales for mobile e-commerce were estimated to reach 72.9%.
How did this all happen?
Well, it was the rise of smartphones that brought a significant change in the retail landscape. Mobile devices have impacted our purchasing decisions, shopping behaviors, brand loyalties, as well as our shopping behaviors.
In 2020, smartphones and mobile devices accounted for approximately 50.88% of the overall global internet traffic. The gap continued to grow as the global market share for mobile reached 54.22% of the total internet traffic.
7 Reasons to Consider Mobile-First Ecommerce Site Design for Mobile Apps
1.Economical Web Design Strategy
Going mobile-first for your website design saves you both time and money.
Mobile-first design is an excellent one-size-fits-all solution to an exceptional cross-platform user experience.
For instance, rather than building a website for desktops and then painstakingly designing it to adapt for mobile devices, a mobile-first design offers a cross-platform, user-friendly website the first time around.
Moreover, mobile-first design can be an excellent financial investment. You see, we live in an age where enhanced mobile experiences are essential for success.
Going mobile-first can help increase client engagement. It can also extend your reach to a wider audience.
Mobile-first can indeed be a bit expensive to implement in the short term. But its exceptional mobile functionality makes it a solid and cost-effective investment down the road.
2. Cross-Platform Responsiveness
These days, it’s crucial that your website is compatible with various types of platforms. A mobile-first website can be incredibly responsive to whatever platform it is on.
With a mobile-first web design, your users can easily engage with your site’s content, video marketing, and so much more no matter which platform is available at the moment.
Also, many people go online using more than one device.
For instance, they might access the internet through their desktop PCs and browse an e-commerce website. They might use their smartphone to complete payments later on.
According to a market research website, smartphone users who access the internet were 95%, those who used desktops were 93%, and those who used tablets were 73%. We can see that it is essential to have an e-commerce app with reliable cross-platform responsiveness since usage rates across all types of devices are high.
3. Mobile-first Indexing Improves SEO
In 2019, Google enabled mobile-first indexing by default. This means that Google indexes and ranks content which are on the mobile version of your site.
For instance, if you already have a mobile site for your e-commerce business, the Google bots will automatically use that mobile version to index and rank its content.
Thus, you should include designing mobile-first as part of your comprehensive SEO strategy. That’s because 3 out of 5 searches now happen on mobile.
Great mobile experiences are important since the number of smartphone users continues to grow.
If you can offer high-level mobile experiences, users are more likely to return to your e-commerce site more frequently. This will result in enhanced visibility and relevance.
4.Better Content Usage for Mobile Devices
Designing mobile-first encourages those who create content to be more concise. After all, no one wants to scroll through pages and pages of content on smaller mobile screens.
Keep in mind that mobile phone users will leave your website if they find its content to be utterly useless or if the layout is overly complicated.
When you design for a smaller screen first, you are often forced to differentiate between content that is important and valuable versus a glorified filler content.
Going mobile-first can help strengthen your brand messaging. This is especially true if you present content that tells your visitors who you are, what you do, and why they should purchase your products and services.
Keep in mind that you can always ramp up content for your desktop site later on.
5. Value-added Customer Experience
Did you know that 42% of users who shop online are willing to spend more money in exchange for a great customer experience?
Today, going mobile-first can be the key to improving the user experience. Likewise, providing mobile services of the highest quality is key to keeping customers happy.
For this reason, adopting a mobile-first web design has become a vital part of improving the user experience.
A bad mobile experience will speak poorly of your e-commerce website. According to a study, 50% of users will avoid visiting desktop sites that are not mobile-friendly.
So, how can you add value to your e-commerce website? Well, you need to provide your customers with exactly what they want.
Here are some of the essential features for mobile-first shoppers:
- Multiple payment options
- Security features
- Easy navigation
- Product images
- Great customer service
- Simple checkout process
- Integration with social media
- Integration with retail locations
- Accurate product descriptions
- Personalized experiences
6.Higher Growth Potential for Mobile Sites
E-commerce has boomed in the past years. However, it is now being taken over by mobile-commerce or M-commerce.
Right now, we are living in a mobile-first world. And so, it goes without saying that a mobile-first design can lead to achieving higher business growth.
Moreover, starting and ending customer journeys are now being done more on mobile. Also, today’s massive driver of sales is now voice-controlled devices.
In fact, online purchases through voice technology are now being made among 40% of consumers.
Today’s major shopping channel is m-commerce. Soaring app usage and one-click payment options are generating mobile growth potential.
7.Gather Insightful Customer Data.
Mobile e-commerce can help in collecting customer data such as user locations, particular interests, shopping histories, or even social media profiles. This will, in turn, help retailers bring tailored brand messages and personalized user experiences to their customers.
Mobile-first Design Best Practices
1.Prioritize user experience (UX)
UX is super important when it comes to M-commerce. For a mobile phone, complex pages of content won’t cut it.
But offering a good mobile experience to customers will encourage regular revisits to your e-commerce website.
Failure to bring a good user experience can cost you a lot. Additionally, it will drive away potential customers. These customers will most likely reach out to your competitors instead.
You can improve user experience by implementing:
- interactive content
- easy-to-read typefaces
- simple designs and
- mobile-friendly search functionalities
As an example, Skullcandy has a super simple template for navigation. It has a clear and concise navigation bar, which you can easily read on a mobile phone. What’s more, customer support is clearly posted on its user interface (UI).
Further, it has a mobile-friendly search option in case you want to navigate directly to particular criteria or products.
2. Establish Visual Hierarchy
Visual hierarchy is the practice of sorting design elements based on their level of importance. Designers often do this by strategically laying out visual elements and navigation icons. This will encourage visitors to use an e-commerce site more effectively and increase conversion rates.
Establishing a visual hierarchy could mean putting your brand’s social media platforms in the spotlight or highlighting a new offer. Likewise, it could mean having product pages without the unnecessary and distracting pop-ups.
With web pages with no intuitive design, users tend to become confused or quickly become uninterested.
It is crucial to keep essential design elements within easy reach. For instance, from the checkout and on to the search bar.
Smartphone users are often found multitasking using their devices. They could be waiting for the next train, sitting in the parking lot, or waiting in line at a coffee shop.
These are some of the reasons why establishing visual hierarchy is super important.
If you take a look at the mobile website of blissworld, you’ll see that its mobile interface has a clear visual hierarchy, which draws your attention to a new product range.
The CTA is in the primary zone. Under a simple header is the secondary zone. And the tertiary zone contains their free sample offer.
3. Keep your mobile site simple.
Always aim for a homepage, product pages, and checkout process that’s simple and intuitive. Overly cluttered web pages can drive people away. Many users tend to seek out a competitor after a poor mobile experience.
The main focus here is to design for responsiveness. Web designers should be mindful of content layout, image sizes, and video content. Content must be arranged for mobile viewing and making sure both file sizes of images and videos aren’t jeopardizing load times.
The best real-world example here is Larq, a water bottle retailer. Larq’s designers made sure to keep things super simple. The killer USP (“60 seconds to pure water”) and its corresponding CTA (“Shop now”) is the most noteworthy design element on its mobile homepage.
Mobile Shopping App Features
Before developing your mobile app, you need to make a list of essential features to include that will make the development process run smoother. Also, this will ensure your app is meeting user expectations and performing well at the same time.
Mobile e-commerce app development is just the same as e-commerce except for the inclusion of more advanced features. These essential features include:
- Augmented Reality
- a greater level of personalization and
- a more intuitive loyalty dashboard
The login feature should allow users complete access to their accounts so they can view their:
- personal information
- rewards status
- payment methods and
- order history
The page for account profiles is where users can manage their app settings and personal information, which will be used for a streamlined shopping experience. Generally, it will include:
- Login details
- Contact information
- Payment methods
Mobile-first devices have limited screen space. And thus, a homepage should have clean navigation that allows users to move between pages without interfering with the UX.
The search function allows users to find anything accessible using the app such as:
- help pages, etc.
The search bar should allow users to get recommendations as they enter their queries. It should have a drop-down menu that appears with previous searches. The search bar should also display similar products or trending searches viewed by the user.
Search results pages should give users all related products to their search terms. The layout should be the same as the category page with high-quality product images, short descriptions, and prices.
It is super important to include a filter feature on the search results page.
- Price, etc.
6.Browse and product taxonomy
E-commerce apps should give users access to high-level taxonomies. This way, they will just navigate and not have to search for their desired products.
A taxonomy of the primary product categories should appear when users tap on the menu button. This will allow users to navigate to a specific category page.
The mobile app of your e-commerce site should allow users to receive push notifications directly on their smartphone’s home screen. You can effectively engage with customers with push notifications by sending alerts for events and promotions.
The cart is a page where users can see their selected items to purchase. On this page, users should see:
- each product name
- size and
Businesses with a physical store should offer customers the option to choose BOPIS or buy online pickup in-store before moving to the checkout page.
When it comes to the checkout page, make sure to design it so that minimal taps are needed and there should be no distractions. This page often requires users to give their personal information including:
- Full Name
- Email address
- Phone number
How to Launch a Mobile Shopping Website
The design and mobile app development process can start right after you have laid out the essential features included in your e-commerce apps.
But first, you have to choose which technologies to use to build them.
You can go for cross-platform app development or create a unique app each for the Android and iOS platforms. The former option is about creating an app that will work for multiple operating systems.
Phase 1: Shell app
The first phase of mobile-first app development is to shell the application. This phase involves app development and the addition of essential components.
Phase 2: Controlled release
Also known as the “soft launch” of the app, an initial release is limited to several users. The purpose here is to gather valuable feedback that will help refine the app.
Phase 3: Refine user experience and design
User feedback and data from tests will be used to help refine the app by making the necessary changes.
Phase 4: Launch and grow
When the app has been fine-tuned to provide customers with a great mobile experience, it’s now time to launch the app. This is the phase where the app is submitted to the Apple App Store and Google Play Store so that it will be available to the public.
Let Us Help You Build Your Mobile-first E-commerce Website
Mobile applications continue to play a vital role in the future of e-commerce. They help businesses provide consumers with everything they look for in a mobile shopping experience.
But connecting this experience to all your sales channels requires synchronization between your app’s backend and the rest of your e-commerce ecosystem. This is where Dom&Tom comes in. Contact us if you need help with building e-commerce mobile websites for your business.