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6 Best Practices to Build E-commerce Websites on Mobile

If you have or are going to have e-commerce websites, this article is critical for you to read. I can’t emphasize how important it is to have an e-commerce website that actually works on mobile phones. “41% of smartphone owners have made a purchase from their mobile phone.” –Digby. Thus you have a huge potential market out there.

Let’s see how we should optimize our website to dig into that gold mine. Basically it is divided into 2 main factors: appearance and function.

1. Responsive design

Needless to say, it’s crucial to have responsive design so your website can fit any screen without breaking, especially images have to be displayed properly. Nothing bothers me more than having to pinch in and out to see texts and images, and to navigate.

Alternatively, you can either choose to develop a separate website dedicated to mobile phones, but I really do recommend having a responsive one. Mobile devices nowadays can be as small as a watch and as big as a tablet, so it is better be prepared for everything; plus a responsive design makes it easier to have a consistent style cross-platform.

2. Smart navigation

The screen size of a mobile device is generally not enough to display everything, so organize it neatly. Remove unnecessary functions, or integrate them into the menu.

You should consider where to put your menu to save space, either within a bootstrap or stick at the top.

Make sure the search bar is easy to find. It should be visible and accessible on every page of your website, thus your customers don’t have to go back to the home page to search. Believe me, they love to search.

3. Optimize your images/videos

Let’s not discuss about how beautiful your images should be (they should be stunning!) I assume that you all have beautiful high-resolution photos for your products, but remember to optimize them for mobile phone users. They expect the speed to be the same when they browse on desktop, and the 3G or 4G network may not want to download a huge image.

Displaying in a grid layout may help to save space and be easier to browse.

4. Integrate social media

This can also be applied to your desktop version. You can use social media on your e-commerce websites for log in (to save time and be very convenient), you can display the share buttons on a product page or after a purchase, etc. Make social media your tool to reach out for customers.

5. Geo-location

This one is the advantage of a mobile device. It might be great if you could locate your customer and tell them the nearest store. Very useful if you have a chain of clothes shops or restaurants.

6. Make short forms

You should avoid making your customer fill in a lot with their mobile device’s keyboard on your mobile e-commerce website. It is definitely a turn-off. Here are a few tips you can apply to your web form:

  • Show the filling in process at the top of the page
  • Make drop-down lists
  • Be clear what you’re going to do with the information you ask for
  • Use in-line validation

Final Thoughts

The mobile version of an e-commerce website sometimes attracts more traffic than the desktop one as the number of smartphone users is increasing. I would prefer a mobile app rather than a website, but that solution sounds costly and complicated. Thus a mobile version of a website, especially the one comes with responsive design, would be a good alternative.

Do you have any other tips to share with us? Don’t forget to comment below!

by Chau Cao

Chau is an ordinary person who occasionally has extraordinary thoughts. People often find her innovative, helpful and knowledgeable but most of the time, weird. Deep down she is just an introvert sarcastic foodaholic with a big heart (and stomach) and an open mind. Chau loves writing as much as spending a rainy afternoon with her cat and a cup of tea.

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