How We Doubled Our Mobile Sales By Designing A Mobile Version Of Our Website

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A while back, I wrote an article on Why My Online Store Needs A Mobile Website And How To Tell If You Need One Too.

If you haven’t read it already, I recommend that you take a quick skim through it because it outlines some of my motivations for creating a mobile version of my ecommerce store.

Bumblebee Linens Mobile Site

Click on the picture above to check out my mobile site!

Now my mobile ecommerce site has been up for a few months now and the reason I haven’t mentioned anything about it until this point was because I wanted to gather at least 2 months worth of data before reporting the results.

So while I’m going to show you some actual data taken from my mobile ecommerce site along with some of my observations, today’s article is actually just part 1 of a multi-part series about my experiences in the world of mobile website creation.

In my next few articles, I’m going to describe to you all of the thought processes and tradeoffs that were involved in creating my mobile ecommerce site along with a description of exactly how I approached the problem. Now on to the results!

On Site Engagement Metrics

Before I begin talking about my data, I wanted to give you a brief outline of what is being compared in the tables below. First off, all of the data being presented below is for the iPhone only.

Personally, I don’t consider the iPad a mobile device since it performs the same or better than a desktop device. Therefore, it’s usually better to show iPad users the full version of your website.

The reason I’m not showing you any Android phone data is because the number of iPhone shoppers far exceeds Android users according to my stats.

The data for the “full site” vs the “mobile site” was gathered at different times. For example, the “full site” numbers were taken during November and December of last year which represents our store’s busiest time of the year.

The numbers for our “mobile site” were taken during the latter part of February and all of March. Of course a better test would have been to do A/B testing on the two versions of the site, but I didn’t really see a benefit to doing that since I already had a gut feeling that the mobile site would perform better. In any case, here are the numbers

Full Site Engagement Metrics

Mobile Site Engagement Metrics

Overall, the numbers weren’t exactly what I was expecting. The bounce rate for the mobile site was actually slightly higher than the regular site and the time on site metrics were roughly similar.

However, one metric that did stand out was that mobile site users browsed 4.86 pages per visit as opposed to only 2.97 on the full site for cost-per-click(cpc) users.

Note: Comparing the cost per click data in the tables above is a better apples to apples comparison since all of the traffic is completely targeted to what I sell on my online store.

So what does this tell me? Because our mobile site is faster and easier to browse, customers are more likely to browse more products and take a more in depth look into our store. The more pages a customer browses, the more likely that he or she will make a purchase.

The Conversion Numbers

What’s the point in having a separate mobile site unless it improves the conversion rate? Let’s take a closer look at the conversion numbers for both versions of my store.

Full Site Conversion Metrics

Mobile Site Conversion Metrics

As you can see in the data above, the mobile site has a 2X advantage over the full site in terms of the conversion rate. This is exactly what I was hoping for!

While a 2.11% conversion rate isn’t nearly as good as what I get for iPad and desktop users, this is much better than what I had before. Personally, I think that mobile phone shopping is still at its infancy.

Experts are projecting that in just a few years, mobile ecommerce traffic will exceed that of desktop computers which means that my percentage of revenue from mobile devices will continue to grow.

Why The Data Doesn’t Surprise Me

Have you ever tried shopping on your mobile phone? Have you ever tried browsing a full blown desktop website on a tiny touch screen? The experience pretty much sucks. Here’s why you are shedding customers by displaying your full website to mobile visitors.

  • Any time a customer has to scroll horizontally, you’re probably going to lose that customer
  • Any time a customer has to pinch to zoom, you’re probably going to lose that customer
  • Any time a customer miss clicks on a hyper link because they have fat fingers, you’re probably going to lose that customer

If you’ve ever tried to shop on your phone (which is something I spent a lot of time doing while designing my mobile site), the experience is bad enough as it is without having to scroll around. The more user friendly your site is, the more likely a customer will shop and actually make a purchase.

With the number of mobile shoppers increasing exponentially every year, this is an issue that you can no longer avoid. In my next article, I’m going to talk about some of the design decisions that I made in creating my mobile site.

Unfortunately, it’s not a cake walk and there are many tradeoffs that you have to make upfront depending on how well you want your site to perform versus the amount of work and maintenance involved. Stay tuned!

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20 thoughts on “How We Doubled Our Mobile Sales By Designing A Mobile Version Of Our Website”

  1. Debra says:

    Nice work, but your mobile site looks a little funny on my screen right now. I see purple bars stretched across the screen. Do I need to be on a phone to use it?

    1. Hi Debra
      The reason is because you are looking at the site from your desktop computer. The site is designed to adjust to screens that are 4.5 inches or smaller and is not shown to desktop or tablet users.

  2. Jason H says:

    I have absolutely no idea on how to make my site mobile. Do you think that this is something I need to worry about now? Or can I put it off for another years or so.

    1. Hey Jason,

      You should look at the mobile traffic statistics for your site and make that determination yourself. The number of mobile visitors to my store has been increasing exponentially so I determined that I needed to do something about it.

  3. Chris Pondexter says:

    Ha! I’m one of those people with fat fingers and can never get a correct click on my phone. But I don’t even bother to shop on it because the screen is so small. Going to check out your site and let you know what I think.

    1. Thanks for the support Chris and let me know what you think

  4. A user-friendly and pretty mobile site I must say. The arts and crafts tutorials are useful too. Well-done, Steve! BTW, which app do you use to measure conversion metrics? Is it the one on AdWords?

    1. Hi Max,

      We use Google Analytics to gather all of the metrics. I use a few other tools as well but mainly for checks and balances to make sure the Google data is accurate.

  5. Good post. Now a days it is compulsory to have a mobile version of a website and it is specially beneficial to local businesses since people search for things when they are travelling.

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  7. I wish I could understand more with details on CPC. Is it Cost per click ? we get for example $2.70 CPC means, for a single click ?

  8. A good article to follow.google also announce new algorithm on mobile friendly website.and will give importance to those website who have mobile friendly desing.

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