Crafting your mobile user journey to increase conversion

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Brands who have yet to consider a separate mobile strategy could be risking their business growth, with the UK now spending more time online on smartphones than any other device (UKOM, 2017). But a mobile strategy is so much more than adapting your desktop strategy; user behaviour on mobile differs substantially and success for brands here demands an in-depth understanding that the path to purchase on mobile is rarely linear, and is often multi-channel and based on a set of user behaviours.

According to Google’s research, if online content isn’t optimised for mobile, a massive 79% of users will search for another site to complete their task. Not only will this increase your bounce rate which in turn affects your search rankings, but you’ll be losing out on potential sales.

With over half of online sales now made on mobile devices, optimising for conversions on mobile is no longer about making a scaled-down, responsive version of your desktop site. To encourage users down a certain path, it’s crucial to be able to determine the context of their visit to your site, as well as their motivations and intentions of what they want to achieve whilst there.

It’s important therefore, that the design and UX phase of your website is built upon extensive customer and website data. The portable nature of mobile devices means that the context of a site visit can vary from a user researching a product whilst in that brand’s shop; to purchasing train tickets on-the-go.

It’s also crucial to understand the motivations behind a user’s visit’ did they come to your site via a PPC ad after a general product search? Or did they click-through from a display ad for a specific item? Having this information will enable you to create a more relevant and efficient experience for your users.

Areas of your site to consider

If you’re unsure how your site is performing on mobile, take a look at these three main areas and run a UX / CRO audit to identify any potential technical or usability issues.

a) Site speed

According to Google’s recent data, as page load speed increases, the lower the tolerance of the user and the more likely they are to bounce. The average loading time of a page on mobile is 22 seconds, but if a page takes just five seconds longer than this to load, the probability of a user bouncing increases by a massive 90%.

It’s clear then, that mobile site speed can significantly affect conversion. Initially, use a speed testing tool to give you an indication of pages and page elements to fix; Google’s speed test gives a rough indication of how mobile-friendly your site is.

Images almost always result in large file sizes which are slow to load, so for ecommerce sites in particular which have high amounts of product imagery, it’s important to ensure you’re using appropriate image types, compression and sizes.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) also enable a speedier user journey and increase the chances of a quick conversion. AMP’s are stripped-down HTML pages that are designed to be fast-loading to suit the needs of the time-poor mobile user. Initially just used by news publishers to deliver lots of content really fast, AMP is now being utilised by all sectors to ensure content loads faster, meaning more engagement, decreased bounce rate and an improved mobile ranking.

b) Navigation & usability

As opposed to desktop, mobile users are far easier distracted by other platforms such as social media, apps, messaging services and cameras. This causes users to drop on and off the site, making for a complex user journey. A site on mobile therefore has to engage users at the first possible chance; anything that’s slow to load or hard to navigate will lead to abandonment.

With that in mind, it’s crucial to consider how users can navigate their way around your site on mobile; it is easy to get back to the homepage? Are they able to interact with your site with minimal frustration?

Ensure that the page fits the user’s needs; so look at reducing the number of possible actions and just include the information and calls to action which are relevant. This might involve removing links to other parts of the site which aren’t necessary, or condensing menus to hide irrelevant links or sections of the site.

Additionally, look at how your site fits on mobile; keep menus as short as possible to avoid users having to scroll and scroll to find what they want, and also remember that mobile users are impatient, so give them the information they need quicker.

Thinking about how content is consumed on mobile; users are more likely to scan text, so ensure that any relevant points, USPs, and calls to action are visible and easily digestible above the bulk of the text. Mobile users want to find a quick answer, so don’t make them search for it.

c) Payment process

If users are purchasing on their mobiles, they could be on-the-go and therefore want to checkout quickly, so don’t give them any barriers to complete what they want to do - let them checkout as guests.

Make it quick and simple to fill out any information during checkout; only include fields on the form that are crucial for the transaction, and auto-populate details such as addresses where possible. Keeping in mind that users will want a fast checkout, let them pay using multiple options - such as Paypal, Google Wallet etc. if they don’t want to / don’t have time to input their payment card information. Having payment options such as Paypal also adds an element of trust and security in your site, too.

Increasingly, customers are expecting the likes of Apple Pay to be available on retail mobile sites, giving them the ability to complete a checkout with just their fingerprint, significantly speeding up the payment process. Apple Pay usage grew by 50% in 2016, demonstrating the importance for brands to adopt it now to meet mobile user expectations.

Finally, remember that mobiles are often used away from home for research, with users either converting on another device in another session or in-store, so consider the link between online and offline and make sure that the user’s experience on your site on mobile matches seamlessly with their experience in-store on another device.

Mike Ellis is head of CRO at Epiphany

Epiphany’s latest guide, Shape Your Mobile Marketing Strategy, is available to download for free.

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