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The Results are In: Desktop Converts Much Better Than Mobile E-Commerce

You’d think it would be the other way around. But that’s not what research from IBM suggests. Learn the truth and what to do about it in this post.

Recent traffic data from IBM shows the ratio of traffic-to-sales for e-commerce websites is 288% higher for desktop computers versus smartphones. When you compute the statistics reported by IBM into dollars per visit, it’s 372% higher for desktops!

What’s going on?

Isn’t everything you hear all about mobile and how it’s going to take the future over? It does account for almost as much traffic as desktop computers, but it doesn’t even come close in terms of conversion rate.

So why is this happening?

A few major reasons:

What Should You Look For?

Now let’s face the truth – small businesses often don’t have the time or money to identify all 884 issues and address them. But, you can look for some of the larger issues on mobile e-commerce sites that need to be addressed and then focus on the smaller ones as your business grows:

  1. Making the Mobile Shopping Experience Too Basic

It makes sense to simplify mobile shopping because, after all, their wireless connections often don’t have high bandwidth like desktop PCs do. And, the fewer steps you have to take to buy, generally the more purchases you get.

But, the risk there is reducing the enjoyable experience of shopping to a simple decision of whether to purchase or not. For many users, that takes the fun out of online shopping, and they don’t buy as a result.

  1. Unusual Choice of Copy

Because smartphone screens are small, copy gets condensed into its most concise terms. That’s helpful, but some companies go to the extreme of using unfamiliar language to customers just to make the copy fit in. If they don’t know what your copy means, they won’t be able to buy unless they’re a very determined shopper!

  1. Image Sliders/Carousels are Cool, but They Destroy Conversions

They get used on both desktop and mobile websites. They hurt desktop conversions and the effect is even more pronounced on mobile e-commerce sites.

That’s because when sliders intended for desktop websites get used on mobile sites, the images become too crowded and the text too small to see. Since that hurts the user’s browsing experience, they choose to buy less.

Mobile use of the web is here to stay and it’s going to continue to grow, but getting the most from it requires ongoing hard work. Keep it on your radar, and you will get more conversions as you fine-tune your site for success.



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