Mobile is big. WooCommerce is big. Life gets interesting when you bring them together. So is your store ready to handle WooCommerce mobile?
WordPress powers more websites than any other platform (a reported 25% by Forbes). WooCommerce powers more e-commerce websites (a reported 42% by WPTavern). And all those websites are most often viewed on mobile devices (a reported 51% by TechCrunch).
Can’t we all just get along? Well, apparently WordPress, WooCommerce and mobile can. The question is whether or not your WooCommerce site is truly taking advantage of mobile and reaching the majority of users.
A WooCommerce Mobile Shopping Caveat
OK, there’s the inevitable argument that people may be browsing on their phones, but they’re not buying on their phones. They’ll switch to a desktop or laptop to complete their purchase. That is true: According to e-commerce mobile statistics, 85% of online purchases start on one device and finish on another. However, we’ve still seen the majority of online shopping happening on mobile devices, especially in the form of research.
But 2017 was predicted to be the year mobile e-commerce surpasses desktop ecommerce. Now it’s not just shopping and research that happens on mobile devices, it’s also buying. People may continue to do multichannel shopping, but mobile is becoming the norm.
In fact, according to a recent mobile behavior study, 40% of users doing mobile searches will leave a site if it’s not mobile-friendly. And they don’t just leave, they go to a competitor.So if you’re using this “nobody buys on mobile” argument to keep from making your WooCommerce site mobile friendly—well, you’re wrong and you’re literally helping your competition.
Devices will only become more ubiquitous and consumers will only become more comfortable buying on those devices. It’s time to get on board with the mobile program.
How to Do Mobile WooCommerce
So one of the biggest things WooCommerce shopkeepers need to do is make sure their site is mobile-friendly.
That may not be as simple as it sounds. There’s having a site that simply works on mobile devices and having a site that’s designed for mobile devices. Your site has to work on mobile devices—that’s non-negotiable these days (see stats above)—but you probably want to do more than the bare minimum.
WooCommerce is a backend plugin that enables WordPress to do ecommerce and it can be mobile-friendly. But actually working on mobile sites is going to depend on what theme you’re using. Most themes are mobile-friendly, but not all of them are. Don’t assume that just because you’re using WooCommerce you’re good.
The free WooCommerce theme, Storefront, for example, is mobile-friendly. It’s a responsive design, which means the site adjusts to the size of the user’s device. That means your site should work well on the tall, narrow screens of smartphones, the wider view of tablets, the slightly larger view of laptops and the wide, landscape view of desktops.
But a responsive theme is not a golden ticket. Just because your site will stretch or shrink to fit any device doesn’t mean it works well. Sometimes that stretching and shrinking can get a little goofy. And a block of text that works well on a desktop is going to look like a novel on a mobile device.
WooCommerce Mobile Tips
So a few things that can help with mobile WooCommerce:
- Speed matters: Speed is key to optimize your mobile experience. 40% of shoppers will abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. And remember that mobile devices often have slower internet connections and users are often on the go and already impatient. Look at ways to optimize WooCommerce speed and your site’s load times. Much of your performance might come down to configuration and picking the right host for your WooCommerce hosting.
- Keep your text short: Yes, content matters. People want good, engaging copy. It’s helpful for search engine optimization and keeps buyers interested. But you also have to balance that with the fact that too much copy can turn people away. One approach is to have full text available only for those who want it, hidden behind a ‘read more’ link or some other user action.
- Make your menu easy to navigate: People want to find what they’re looking for without a lot of clicking around. Your site should have a good menu—yet one that doesn’t dominate the screen for mobile users. A hamburger menu has become the de facto option, but it’s not very user friendly. There are a number of other menu alternatives for mobile navigation that might work better. All of them require simplifying and prioritizing your menu.
- Good search: Users will often go straight to the search box to find what they’re looking for. So help them out. You can beef up out-of-the-box search with Enhanced Product Search.
- Test, test, test: You’ll never know how your mobile WooCommerce experience is working unless you try it out for yourself. Pay attention to what’s visible, how easy things are to find, how the checkout process works and don’t forget fingers: A mouse allows for much more precise clicking than a finger. So shrinking down a browser window on your desktop computer and browsing with your mouse is not an adequate test.
Mobile WooCommerce Checkout
One specific area where mobile WooCommerce is often lagging is the checkout experience. Nobody likes doing detailed data entry on their phone. The more you can streamline the process, the better.
- You can remove, edit and rearrange fields with the Checkout Field Editor extension.
- Look at ways for optimizing your checkout flow. (The One Page Checkout extension might be part of your solution.)
- Consider guest checkout vs. required accounts. In one case, a major e-commerce site boosted revenue by $300 million in one year simply by not forcing customers to register. WooCommerce Social Login might be another way to simplify account signup.
- Sometimes it’s about how you take people’s money. Mobile options such as Apple Pay (via Stripe), Amazon Pay and PayPal can all speed up the WooCommerce checkout process.
Mobile App? Not So Fast
As you search for information on mobile WooCommerce, you’re going to come across a lot of services offering to convert your WooCommerce store to a mobile app.
The people crowing about mobile apps are often the people selling mobile apps.
That may sound like a great solution to going mobile, but it’s not.
Looking at the stats from business.com, mobile apps have their place. But the mobile web is where it’s at. Generally, mobile apps work well for established, recognized brands. There’s a reason only Amazon and WalMart make more money from their mobile apps than their mobile site. Most of the retail world is using apps to target their most dedicated customers and using their mobile site for the rest of the world.
People don’t want to download an app for every store they go to. The hurdle to get someone to download and install an app is just too great.
So don’t put all your mobile eggs in an app. You still need a mobile site and that’s where your focus should be. If you decide to pursue an app as well, make sure you’re focusing on your most dedicated customers who won’t think twice about the extra effort of installing an app.
Make Mobile WooCommerce Rock
Being mobile-friendly is non-negotiable these days. More and more people are using devices and it’s only natural that they’ll be more and more willing to shop and purchase on those devices. Mobile WooCommerce is a must.
Just remember that the perfect mobile experience doesn’t always happen out of the box. You’ll need to do some testing and maybe even make some tweaks for the ultimate mobile WooCommerce experience.