As technology evolves, more and more of the platforms we use every day are turning mobile-friendly; or in some cases, mobile-only. Sales on smartphones are up 45 percent in 2016 causing a lot of e-commerce companies to think about optimizing for smartphones.
A mobile website and/or app has an entirely different feel than a traditional desktop website. Many larger e-commerce brands, such as Target and Urban Outfitters, are updating their desktop sites to include smartphone-friendly features, such as a hamburger navigation menu (the three-lined button near the top that opens up a side menu), to create a more fluid transition from desktop to mobile.
For fashion e-commerce brands, the most important thing to keep in mind is a simple truth – the person viewing your site is mobile. They are expecting an entirely different and simplified experience than what they would expect to bring up on a desktop.
On mobile, users are looking for a few key pieces of information: a map of your store locations, a customer service number, and, for fashion e-commerce companies, the most direct path to get to the article of clothing they are searching for. What they aren’t looking for is company information, your philosophy on your clothes, or even your latest press release.
With that in mind, here are a few tips for optimizing for smartphones:
- Simplify: Determine what customers are looking for most, whether that be an article of clothing that’s trending or the cheapest item. Eliminate much of the non-essential content to bring consumers exactly what they want in two steps or less.
- Plan your site layout: Mobile pages load slower than traditional desktop pages so keep pages to a minimum and streamline them. Rule of thumb: keep content to a two-finger scroll as people then tune out if they haven’t found what they’re looking for within that time.
- Match your branding elements: It’s important to provide a similar experience on both desktop and mobile. A mobile site will serve as a brand touchpoint, just the same as a desktop site.
- Utilize white space: It’s natural to try and cram as much information in as possible; however, not only does white space give a cleaner appearance, it also ensures that users can easily click what they’re aiming for.
- Reduce the amount of text: If it isn’t necessary, think about cutting it. Use drop-down menus, pre-populated fields, radio button choices, etc. to minimize the challenges people face when having to type a lot of text into their smartphone.
- Do not use popup windows: Navigating between multiple tabs is nearly impossible on a phone. Make sure navigation back and forth between elements is as simple as possible.
Remember optimizing for smartphones is all about the experience. You want to generate a simple and straightforward path that still invokes an in-store experience as closely as possible. Except it’s now available in the palm of your hand.