Designing a Mobile-First eCommerce Strategy

mobile-first ecommerce

What does a mobile-first eCommerce strategy include?

The eCommerce landscape continues to shift with changing societal and consumer trends. In its infancy, eCommerce was solely focused on desktop traffic. However, as mobile technology has developed, particularly over the last decade, so has the way that people access and use the internet.

As of 2020, 84% of adults in the UK own a smartphone and, on average, Brits spend over 2 and a half hours on their smartphones each day. Mass ownership of mobile technology has revolutionised the way that people access the internet and ever-increasing functionality means that there is no limit to what can be done on a smartphone.

Mobile commerce taking over

Mobile is now undoubtedly the primary platform for online activities, particularly for younger generations. From social media to online shopping, mobile devices have transformed the way we live and the way we shop. Physical retail stores have gradually lost business to eCommerce platforms, with internet sales as a percentage of total retail sales peaking in January 2021 at 36.4% in the UK (largely due to the pandemic).

With an increasing share of retail sales occurring over the internet and more traffic attributed to mobile devices, it is essential that businesses adapt their eCommerce strategies to reflect this trend. The term ‘mobile-first’ is gaining more traction among eCommerce strategists, but what does a mobile-first strategy actually entail?

Mobile-first eCommerce

Mobile-first design

Traditionally, brands have designed their websites and eCommerce offerings for a desktop experience rather than prioritising the mobile experience. This can lead to a clunky and unoptimised mobile user experience (UX) which can be damning for eCommerce conversion rates. Considering the majority of internet usage can be attributed to mobile devices, prioritising desktop over mobile design is not only a bad investment, but could also mean you are missing out on valuable sales.

The mobile-first approach involves comprehensive design and optimisation for mobile devices first, before scaling up to larger screens. Being ‘mobile-friendly’ simply isn’t enough anymore, especially since Google implemented a mobile-first indexing algorithm. Ensuring an optimum user experience on both mobile and desktop devices will maximise your eCommerce return.

Progressive Web Applications (PWAs)

For a truly premium user experience on mobile, PWAs offer an advanced solution to redefine the mobile consumer journey. Lewis Sellers, Managing Director of Pinpoint, shared his views on PWAs:

Everyone (including us) is getting excited about PWAs and it’s easy to see why. Combining the very best of mobile apps and web development, PWAs are creating websites that look, feel and act like an app, successfully redefining the mobile experience in the process. Some of the most digitally advanced companies, including Twitter, are already using them to create a second to none user experience. Delivering the convenience and usability of a mobile app, merged with the searchability and flexibility of a browser, PWAs create a fast and frictionless shopping journey.”

Third-party integrations

Expanding the functionality of a mobile retail store is also key to improving the user experience. Through integrating mobile-specific features such as customer review systems, one-touch checkout and flexible payment solutions, the consumer can enjoy a seamless shopping experience.

Mobile-friendly checkout is perhaps the most significant barrier to increasing mobile conversion rates. Integrating payment gateways and optimising the checkout process for mobile, again, stems from effective mobile-first design and development. 

Harnessing the right data

Gathering and utilising core internal and external data underpins an effective eCommerce strategy. Consumer, website performance and conversion rate data are all essential to continually develop the user experience and optimise website processes. Understanding how consumers interact with your mobile store, including the impact of new technologies like wearable tech and how these influence the consumer journey, will be key to capitalise on the new mobile shopping trend.