How to Develop a Mobile-First Website

Approximately 4 out of 5 American consumers are online shoppers and 51% have made a purchase with a mobile device, according to Pew Research Center. What’s more, 55% of shoppers have purchased items after discovering them via social media, platforms most often accessed via mobile devices (Source: Shopify). If you don’t have a mobile-first website, you’re missing out.

There are distinct differences in developing a mobile-first website, rather than a desktop-first site. With desktop sites, the homepage is set up to provide plenty of information. However, the homepage of a mobile-first site is a lot cleaner, a lot more linear and features minimal information to prevent scrolling fatigue. Customers don’t want the endless scroll- it’s only a widespread myth. Customers want paths to find what they want as easily as possible.

Some businesses have one website for desktop and one for mobile, but this isn’t the norm. It’s even more rare among smaller businesses due to the substantial financial investment. However, when you do see sites like these, they cherry-pick what is featured on their mobile sites and the user-experience tends to be very different.

Since the advent of Shopify, every website is capable of being a mobile-first site.

Use these tips to develop a mobile-first website of your own…

1. Offer a Simple Checkout Process.

Checkout should be easy to access and user-friendly. It should also be immediately clear how much items cost, how must shipping costs on the checkout page. In fact, before shoppers ever reach checkout, they should have quickly been able to access your shipping and returns information with your website.

What’s more, credit cards, debit cards and PayPal are no longer enough. Integrate your mobile-first website with the latest payment gateways so shoppers can shop with more convenience and ease. Integrate options such as Apple Pay and Google Pay so shoppers can feel free to complete checkout at the touch of a thumb.

2. Design Mobile-First for Mobile and Desktop Design for Desktop Devices.

Remember that mobile-first design is for mobile devices only. It always fails when companies try to implement mobile-first design into their desktop sites. For example, one brand’s website made visitors click a hamburger button in the top left corner of their homepage. The hamburger button is the menu icon made of three horizontal lines that expands with a click. It’s a very useful feature for a mobile layout, but it’s not a good idea to click to expand while using a desktop computer or laptop. For those devices, all the menu options should be clearly spelled out on the homepage.

For mobile-first design, focus on:

  • A select curation of strong editorial-focused images (homepage)
  • Product thumbnails (product pages)
  • The ability to scroll through product thumbnails
  • Clickthrough
  • A clearly visible phone and number (not just on the contact page)
  • A clearly visible email button (not just on the contact page)

The homepage of your mobile site is meant to introduce visitors to your brand. Don’t overshare and remember to keep it easy for the mobile scroll.

For email marketing pop-ups, start looking at email and text messaging acquisition. If you know a shopper is mobile-first, text message marketing can be a great way to market to them. Ask shoppers for their contact information in a way that gets them to convert.

3. Remain Consistent with Social Media.

Depending on your brand, most of your website traffic may be coming from your Instagram. It could be due to the popularity of your Instagram account or due to your call-to-action (CTA) button in ongoing mobile ad campaigns. Whatever the reason, it’s important to maintain a certain level of consistency between Instagram and your website. The aesthetic, products and brand voice that initially drew attention on social, should be reflected on your brand website as well.

Don’t confuse your customers- make sure everything is streamlined and simple. Make it easy for website visitors to visit your Instagram account, and vice versa. Also be sure to drive an organic, content-first strategy to promote all of the content you produce.

Next Steps: Learn Savvy Mobile E-Commerce Strategies

Looking for expert advice on how to boost your online traffic and grow sales? Get in touch. We work with startups, growth stage businesses and enterprise companies. Call 310-957-5264 or send us an email at hello@scalingretail.com.

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