In 2023, mobile e-commerce sales reached $2.2 trillion, making up 60% of all e-commerce sales worldwide. As mobile e-commerce sales continue to rise, businesses can't afford to overlook the unique challenges and opportunities presented by mobile interactions.
Understanding how mobile conversion rate optimization (CRO) can turn casual mobile users into engaged customers is key for businesses aiming to reach customers via apps and mobile-friendly websites. This includes addressing mobile-specific pain points by using data-driven design and usability testing to provide seamless desktop-to-mobile experiences.
In this guide, we'll explore why mobile CRO demands a distinct approach, as well as how to boost mobile conversion rates, conduct a mobile CRO audit, and optimize mobile landing pages. So buckle up as we unravel the secrets to a more streamlined and successful mobile user experience.
Mobile conversion rate optimization (CRO) refers to the process of transforming mobile users into committed customers who take action on a business’s mobile site or app. This could include making a purchase or signing up for a newsletter on their mobile device.
Multiple elements contribute to mobile CRO, including copy, images, load speed, design, calls to action (CTAs), and more. Optimizing each of these is key not only for sending a clear message and increasing conversions but for retaining existing customers. A 2022 study by Kantar and Google found apps that re-engage customers have a higher retention rate and share of paying users compared to apps that didn’t re-engage.
Have you ever tried to shop online using your phone but gave up after a frustrating and cumbersome process? Smaller screens, tiny keyboards, and cellular networks pose unique challenges for mobile CRO. Statista found in Q2 of 2022 that conversion rates for e-commerce sites decreased as screen size got smaller.
The news isn’t all negative, however. The convenience of smartphones as well as the advanced technology they offer can also provide opportunities businesses wouldn’t get on desktop or in brick-and-mortar shops. Mobile apps also provide an excellent source of first-party data—without compromising customer trust.
Businesses that take advantage of these opportunities and tailor mobile and app experiences to the specific challenges they present can achieve greater success. As you can see in our analysis of 10 direct-to-consumer mobile landing pages, there are ways to use mobile interfaces to your advantage.
If your conversion rates are lagging behind, there are several steps you can take to optimize your mobile experience.
Boosting your mobile conversion rate requires digging into user behaviors on your site. Some helpful tools and reports you can use to collect and organize data include heatmaps and session recordings:
While analyzing such quantitative data, some helpful indicators to look for include the following:
This isn’t an exhaustive list but there are various behaviors that can be telling:
Site visitors' journey through your mobile site is also important.
Let’s say you’re combing through your analytics data for one of your most important landing pages. What should you be thinking about?
As you can see, quantitative data can give you a great starting point as far as determining how to increase mobile conversion rates. But your data gathering shouldn’t stop here. Qualitative user research is the next step to understanding customer pain points and desires. Usability testing, polls, surveys, and interviews can help businesses collect invaluable feedback about how to attract and convert their target customer on mobile.
Businesses can use A/B testing to decide which designs convert best. SplitBase uses what’s called the Testing Trifecta to identify issues and opportunities to improve conversion rates. The trifecta pulls insights from three areas: Analytics (quantitative data), Human (qualitative data), and Testing. SplitBase uses it to pinpoint areas of opportunity, website issues, and A/B testing ideas to improve conversion rates and optimize web pages.
Direct-to-consumer fashion brand Haute Hijab partnered with SplitBase to gather data and customer insights to better inform its website design updates. SplitBase used A/B testing to discover which parts of the website drove customers away as well as what drove other customers to make a purchase. The result was a 26.8% increase in conversion site-wide and revenue per user growth of 18%.
Customers feel the need for speed when it comes to mobile shopping, with 75% of smartphone users being more likely to purchase from brands that allow them to checkout and pay quickly.
Laggy mobile websites, especially those smothered in pop-ups, disrupt what should otherwise be a seamless shopping experience. According to Nielsen Norman Group, even a one-second delay in load speed could interrupt a customer’s thought process. This disruption could be the difference between a converting customer or one that simply closes out the site in frustration.
Users detest cumbersome forms in general, but they’re made even more frustrating by the small screens and keyboards found on mobile. Businesses can improve conversion by making registration forms concise and user-friendly. One way to do this is to design a registration flow that uses biometric authentication or passwordless accounts.
Additionally, supporting multiple payment types allows customers to choose the most effortless path to purchase. Some things to consider when choosing payment options for your Shopify site include the following:
Some recommended payment gateways that work with Shopify include:
Once you’ve narrowed down your options, you may want to A/B test different payment methods to see if one leads to higher conversion rates. A checkout page with 5 different payment option buttons isn’t necessarily better than a simple checkout with a single payment method.
Nielsen Norman Group reports in its 2023 State of Mobile User Experience report that mobile users only scroll if they believe the content they see once the page loads is promising. This makes it critical to place your most important content, such as CTAs or value propositions, above the digital “fold” or before users need to scroll.
This doesn’t mean a mobile site needs to look stark. But businesses should design their sites and app interfaces so the most important content is the first thing customers see when they open the app or site.
This also means that clear and concise copy is important. Any text should be easy to understand and provide a quick takeaway so you don’t lose users’ attention before they get inspired to scroll.
A good way to test whether your top-of-page content resonates with your customer base is to use heat maps and session recordings. Check whether users scroll through your landing page—the colors in the map should be a gradient that continues down the page.
If users aren’t scrolling and the heat map shows they suddenly drop off, your content likely lacks relevancy and it’s time to revisit it.
Calls-to-action (CTAs) should be concise, visible, and compelling. Along with appearing above the fold, your primary CTA should guide customers to take a desired action on your site or app.
When it comes to CTA copy, consider how exciting and compelling a more personalized statement feels compared to a generic one:
Clear CTAs can also benefit from a pop of color. In fact, different colors have different psychological associations—blue can inspire trust while green can infer freshness or money. (And to make things more confusing, associations change depending on culture and location.)
But don’t get too in the weeds A/B testing button colors; it’s a massive waste of time for most brands. Conversion is less about green buttons versus red buttons and more about using color to make the button stand out from the rest of the page. As long as your buttons pass the squint test—meaning they stand out even if you move back from your screen and squint—they’ll most likely serve their purpose well enough. That is, if your CTA copy is also clear and action-oriented.
Concerns over data privacy and security are growing. In its 2023 Connected Consumer Survey, Deloitte found that 20% of consumers stopped using an app because of privacy or security concerns, and only 34% believe companies are transparent about how they use consumer data.
Deloitte also found that trust in a brand influences customer loyalty, with 88% of customers being more likely to buy from a trusted brand again. Businesses can increase customer trust and therefore loyalty by providing a transparent explanation of what data is collected and how it’s used.
One such way you can increase transparency around your data collection is to clearly state what data you’d like to collect from users, how you plan to use it, and how the user benefits from data collection. This can be as simple as saying the data collected allows you to personalize their shopping experience or to show them content specific to their location.
A mobile CRO audit can help businesses diagnose poor user experience or lead the way to improved conversion rates. Auditing your mobile content helps you understand how it currently converts, which areas create friction, and what opportunities you have to improve your conversion rate—as well as the ROI you could see by improving mobile CRO.
Not every business needs to track the same conversion metrics, so be sure your audit focuses only on the user actions that are essential to your specific goals. As an ecommerce brand, you’ll likely track add-to-cart rate, conversion rate, average order value, and return on ad spend or overall customer acquisition cost. It would be less important to track things like email list signups, for example.
Which pages on your mobile site do customers visit the most? Which ones drive the most conversions? Pages that fall into both categories should be top candidates for your audit.
For example, content that acts as a touchpoint for your customers like landing pages, product pages, and your site’s shopping cart are all prime candidates for an audit.
Take a look at how users navigate your mobile app or site. Mapping out the steps and actions they take in a customer journey map can help you identify unique user flows for specific personas. By understanding how each user segment interacts with your site, you can begin to see potential roadblocks or opportunities for improvement.
Using qualitative and quantitative data to map out user journeys is important for painting the whole picture.
The basis of any successful A/B test is a hypothesis. The hypothesis outlines what you plan to test, the reason why you want to test it, and what you expect the outcome will be once specific conversion optimizations are pushed live.
To correctly test your hypothesis, your A/B test should use a test page, which is optimized for increased conversions, and a control page, which hasn’t been optimized. Traffic to your site is then split between these two pages and data is logged about how users interact with each version until there’s enough information to make a decision.
A/B tests are repeatable, so be sure to continue forming new hypotheses and running tests until you gather enough data on qualitative and quantitative metrics to make an informed decision.
You can use A/B testing tools to run A/B tests or partner with an agency like SplitBase to suggest optimizations, test them, and deliver data-informed recommendations.
Once your A/B testing data is collected and you’ve pinpointed the optimizations that have a positive impact on mobile conversion rate, it’s time to put those insights into play.
Of course, this isn’t the end of your mobile CRO audit journey. Successful businesses are constantly assessing ways to improve and iterate on successes, so start planning your next audit right away.
Optimized mobile landing pages are a game-changer. They not only pave the way for higher conversion rates but also increase customer experience and engagement. Improving load speed, simplifying registration and checkout, and maintaining trust through transparent data usage policies can unlock the full potential of your mobile content.
The mobile landscape is ever-evolving, but SplitBase can help you stay ahead. Get a free e-commerce CRO proposal and discover what an optimized mobile experience can do for you.
Learn how to optimize copy, design, and user experience to create high-converting landing pages. Plus, get personalization tips for your ecommerce business.