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Checklist for “mobile-first” optimization

By Melissa Chien Marketing Manager, US

Simply put, mobile matters. And while mobile has indeed mattered for many years now—in terms of site design, shopper behavior, and the overall shopper experience—Google rolling out its mobile-first index has proven that mobile optimization is more crucial than ever. Unsurprisingly, desktop has taken a back seat to mobile, not only in Google’s eyes, but also in the eyes of consumers since it’s easier to pull out a smartphone than sit in front of a computer.  

But before we dig into the mobile checkout experience, let’s start with what exactly “mobile first” means, and why it’s important that your entire site, including checkout, be designed for optimal mobile performance. You’ve likely been hearing a lot about it, and there’s definitely room for confusion and questions. In this article, we’ll help clear up any confusion you may have and provide some practical ways to optimize your site, and more importantly, improve conversion at checkout.

What does “mobile first” mean?

Historically, if your site performed well on desktop, that could carry you on mobile devices, even if not every aspect of your site properly displayed or performed well on mobile. While Google maintained a separate desktop index and mobile index for many years, the desktop index was of primary importance; if you were ranking well there, you could reasonably expect that most of those rankings would hold true in mobile Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) as well.

However, over time, “desktop first” stopped making sense as mobile traffic continued to grow, and desktop traffic continued to decline. Smartphones got smarter and faster, and in many cases adopted larger screens. The necessity to break out your laptop to read articles, place an order from your favorite store, or even watch videos diminished. Fast forward to today, when “nearly nine-in-ten Americans are online” and “roughly three-quarters of Americans (77%) now own a smartphone,” and it’s easy to understand why so many people are shopping online, and doing so on their phone.

Checkout Optimization Checklist

In a world of smaller screens, bigger deals, and higher expectations online, shoppers demand a lot out of your mobile checkout. And if you don’t deliver, there’s someone else out there that will. Competition is fierce, so keeping your site optimized will create a better experience for customers and better results for you. We’ve put together a simple checklist to help you thrive on mobile, which will also lead to a lower shopping cart abandonment rate for you at checkout.

1. Shoppers have a serious need for fast approval.

One of the words you’ll hear mentioned perhaps more than any other in this new mobile-first landscape is simplicity. Shoppers have less patience than ever and expect efficiency, so it’s crucial that you ensure your financing approval process at checkout is quick and simple. Customers don’t want to be tapping their way through a long application process filled with numerous pages and a laundry list of form fields. “Time is money” is certainly an overused cliché, but for online merchants, it’s truer now than ever.

2. Be clear about special shipping requirements.

Does a particular item cost more to ship? Does it have to be shipped separately from other items ordered? Or does it not ship to certain states, or require a signature upon delivery? Be sure to note that right on the item page rather than surprising people with that information only once they’ve reached checkout. Surprises can spell annoyance and lead to shopping cart abandonment. Shoppers won’t necessarily be excited about paying more for shipping or waiting longer to receive an item, however, they’re much more likely to accept it if they know about it well before they’re ready to hit the buy button.

3. Ensure every page in the checkout process fits perfectly on a shopper’s screen.

There are few things that make shoppers shake their fists at the sky more than a checkout page that doesn’t render properly on mobile. You know the sites where you have to scroll here, there and everywhere to find the correct form fields for your name and address—followed by a hunt for the elusive button to progress to the next screen. Don’t be that site. Put yourself in the consumers’ shoes and make sure your checkout process is easy to navigate and complete. Don’t make shoppers go through a screen-pinching and scrolling obstacle course just to complete a purchase.

4. Save shoppers’ information as they progress through checkout.

If your checkout process involves two or more steps, you’ll make shoppers’ lives much easier if you save their information as they click through. For example, let’s say a shopper gets to the final step of the checkout process, but they’ve forgotten to enter their email address (a required field on most sites). Then, when they click the button to go back and enter their email address, everything else they’ve already added disappears. Their name, address, credit card info, free sample selections, promo codes, etc.—poof—all gone. Unless that shopper is feeling very patient and committed to making this purchases, chances are good they’re about to be gone, too. Ensure your site has the capability to continuously save information. If it doesn’t, it’s worth the cost of an eCommerce platform upgrade.

5. Give shoppers a variety of payment options.

People like to pay different ways for different reasons. Some would prefer to input their credit card information on a site-by-site basis, never having it saved for next time. Others enjoy payment services that securely save their information, and allow them to make a purchase without digging out a card. Others still would prefer to finance a purchase, particularly a large purchase, right at the checkout. Klarna helps you capture the ladder two types of shoppers by offering numerous, secure payment options at checkout. If you’re unfamiliar, check us out. While no one is requiring you to meet the preferences of every potential customer, it does stand to reason that the more options you give, the more orders and happy customers you’ll capture.

How does your site stack up to the list above? Do you have room for improvement? The good news is, you’re not alone. Depending on which source you trust, mobile shopping card abandonment rates can be as high as 97%. Granted, we’re trusting the numbers in the 60-80% range a bit more. Regardless, trillions of dollars of potential sales are abandoned each year. Trillions. In addition to these simple and helpful tips, Klarna offers a variety of payment solutions and products to help you create a frictionless checkout experience. As our homepage declares: Payments matter. But the experience matters more.

Do you have more questions on mobile optimization challenges that your checkout is facing? Send us a note at learnmore@klarna.com – we’d love to help!