E-commerce Mobile Strategy Matters

There’s over a 50% chance that you are viewing this post on your phone.  Mobile web traffic has been on the rise and, as of January 2020, it accounted for more market share than desktop web traffic for the first time in North America.  The numbers suggest that e-commerce mobile strategy matters more than any other platform now.


I recognize that there is significant technology and budgetary impact on the consideration of your mobile strategy, but start with the business case.  Consider the following:

  • Create an experience where your customers want to be.   Design on a mobile-first basis and work on the assumption that users will first encounter your brand on their phone.  A poor mobile experience degradates your brand, reduces engagement, and ultimately hinders your customers from purchasing. 
  • Conversion differs greatly by platform.  Mobile conversion rates lag behind those of desktop, but mobile conversion has steadily increased over the years as buyers become more comfortable with purchasing on mobile. 
  • Tailor your mobile experience to achieve your objectives.  In addition to purchase, brand awareness, product discovery, and engagement are all important parts of the user journey.  Understand how your users are interacting with your storefronts across devices and tailor your mobile experience to their behavior.

You don’t need a crystal ball to follow the trend.

As of 2019, more US adults own a smartphone than they do a desktop or laptop (Pew Research).  It is fair to assume that mobile web traffic will continue to outpace other platforms in the road ahead. 

e-commerce mobile web traffic over time
Source: https://gs.statcounter.com/

A good example of mobile-first: Starbucks

Good mobile experiences feel native to the device.  Mobile users spend 90% of their time in apps (eMarketer) and thus are accustomed to interacting with mobile experiences in this nuanced way.  While Starbucks has a mobile app, they have also tailored their browser experience to feel native (likely through a progressive web app).  Whether it be button styling and placement, the response time, or the checkout process, these are all worthy considerations in developing a mobile experience.

Starbucks mobile experience

APIs drive front-end user interface flexibility

It used to be that e-commerce platforms dictated your user interfaces, but thanks to APIs that is no longer the case.  Platforms today give you great out-of-the-box omnichannel capabilities in addition to the APIs to build tailored experiences of your own.  Whether your customers are interacting with your storefront via mobile, desktop, or otherwise, each interface is able to plug into the same core APIs while delivering completely different interfaces and experiences.  Many of Aloi’s customers leverage the same backend SaaS platforms while creating vastly different interfaces that delight their audiences. 

mobile integration through APIs

So where do you start?

As mentioned above, set your strategy first by acutely understanding your user journey and how your current and potential customers interact with your storefront.  It could be as simple as modifying the mobile responsiveness of your existing site.  With more budget, you could explore the potential of a custom storefront, progressive web app, or native mobile app. 

Small changes can go a long way in improving your overall metrics.  In the omnichannel world of e-commerce, focus matters.  Trends and technologies move fast, but mobile is a bet that I’d be willing to take in the mid-term. 

From Around the Web

Interesting Reads:

Facebook Shops
Facebook is making a push into e-commerce with Facebook Shops. The announcement is inclusive of a partnership with Shopify that will allow small businesses to build a shopping and checkout experience through the Facebook platform.

Target Is In Talks To Buy Deliv
The trend of historical Brick and Mortar retailers investing in the importance of final mile and expedited delivery remains as Target has been in talks to purchase the same-day delivery start-up Deliv. This comes three years after their massive acquisition of Shipt in 2017. 

Generational Media Consumption
Visual capitalist illustrates some interesting graphics around the differences in media consumption across generations. 

Op-Ed: Changing Habits of The Mind
Our lives have all been dramatically impacted by the global pandemic. This Atlantic op-ed piece portrays an interesting perspective around a journey that has taken many of us more inward.