10 Best Practices for Optimizing the Mobile eCommerce Funnel

The rapid growth of mobile eCommerce underscores how vital optimizing the mobile ecommerce conversion funnel is for merchants – specifically, actions leading customers frictionlessly to purchase.

In this guide to optimizing the mobile eCommerce funnel:

How have eCommerce habits changed?

There’s no denying that more customers are making more online purchases on their smartphones. Adobe's 2021 Q1 Digital Economy Index, which tracks the state of eCommerce, reports that 40% of online shopping is today done on smartphones in the US (it is as high as 61% in Japan).

The pandemic clearly affected online habits: online shopping’s share of products purchased through smartphones increased by 10% in May 2020 compared with January (before the pandemic struck). And new consumers who were shopping online for the first time were doing so from their smartphones.

To better understand why the gap in mobile and desktop conversion persists, two years ago PayPal, Adobe Commerce and HI Conversion partnered to form the Mobile Optimization Initiative(MOI).

The MOI brings together eCommerce system integrators (SIs) and technology providers to help eCommerce leaders grow their mobile sales. So far, the MOI has had 248 participating Adobe Commerce merchants and has conducted more than 130 standardized experiments backed by real-world data. Merchants in the MOI have had an average revenue per visitor lift of 7.12% across all experiments.

Below we deep-dive into some of the experiments as well as the learnings, which any merchant could easily apply to their mobile eCommerce strategy.

What is an eCommerce conversion funnel?

A conversion funnel in e-commerce illustrates the route your customers take from first becoming aware of your brand (the top of the funnel) to making a purchase (the bottom of the funnel). For example, out of the total number of visitors on your website, say that half will look at a product page, yet fewer than 10% will add a product to their carts. And at the bottom of the funnel, perhaps only 3% will complete the transaction.

10 ways to optimize your mobile eCommerce conversion funnel

Best Practice #1: Lower funnel shopping stages also need mobile conversion optimization

Over the past year, the MOI discovered a common pain point for merchants at the lower stages of the eCommerce funnel: the need to convert at the window shopper, shopper, and buyer stages. This includes actions like add to cart, pre-checkout, shipping, and payment. The consensus: putting the focus on mobile conversion optimization at these lower-funnel stages is a great way to impact revenue lift directly.

The MOI developed the eCommerce revenue funnel (below), which looks at the various stages of a buyer’s journey, as well as the site locations where you can start to focus your optimizations and the micro-conversions for which to optimize. Improving the customer experience at every stage of the eCommerce funnel helps to increase conversions and drives more revenue.

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Best Practice #2: Floating add-to-cart buttons can help increase cart rate and RPV

A static add-to-cart button can be easily missed on a mobile device. By adding a floating add-to-cart button, merchants can increase cart rate and revenue per visitor (RPV). RPV is a metric that is calculated by dividing the total revenue earned during a determined time-period by the number of visitors during the same period. Cart rate is defined as the percentage of visitors who put at least one product into their shopping carts. Both provide insights into the health of your eCommerce funnel but at different stages of the buyer journey.

In this mobile-only experiment, the floating add-to-cart button remains at the bottom of the screen as the user scrolls up and down the page. It fades out when the static add-to-cart button becomes visible. On the product display page (PDP), the add-to-cart button is a constant reminder to add items to the cart and complete the purchase.

Somewhat surprisingly, the RPV lift for the floating add-to-cart button experiment was insignificant (+0.71%). But 92% of merchants experienced a positive lift in cart rate! MOI learned that the floating add-to-cart button creates immediate action but mixed results for increasing RPV.

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Further testing on different add-to-cart transition behaviors (i.e., what happens after the add-to-cart button is clicked) had varying impact on RPV for this experiment. Some of these behaviors are more compatible with the add-to-cart button than others.

Best Practice #3: Displaying cart total in header increases RPV

It’s fairly common to display the cart item total (i.e., the total number of items in the cart) in the header or navigation. So common, in fact, that many shoppers may not even notice it anymore. By displaying the cart  dollar  total, the feature could provide a visual cue and reduce any surprises at the checkout page. After a shopper adds a product or several products to their cart, the total dollar value of the items in the cart is displayed next to or below the cart icon on the header or navigation.

In this experiment, mobile (and desktop) visitors saw positive lifts in RPV overall. There was a +4.13% RPV lift on mobile, largely achieved by lifts to the conversion rate, despite a slightly negative impact on average order value (AOV). Likewise, the +17.85% RPV lift on desktop was achieved despite only modest lifts to AOV.

This suggests visitors are more likely to complete their purchases when the total cart value is displayed transparently in the header or navigation, but they may not spend as much money on each visit.

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Best Practice #4: Hide chat in cart and checkout to keep shoppers focused

This experiment is a great example of optimizing the mobile checkout process. It had a +15.22% lift in RPV on mobile. Screen real estate on mobile devices is limited, and every small change can have a big impact. Mobile treatments saw conversion rate and AOV lifts of +11.47% and +3.72%, respectively.

Best Practice #5: Auto-select shipping method streamlines the checkout process

For merchants that offer multiple shipping options (with none preselected), this treatment auto selects the cheapest shipping option for the user. Most customers choose the most economical shipping option anyway, so this experiment removes an additional step in the checkout process. And if users prefer another method, they can manually change their selection at any time.

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This experiment drove a modest +2.08% RPV lift on mobile and a slightly negative average RPV of -0.08% for desktop. Looking at these numbers, this experiment does not appear to have a substantial impact on conversions.

Despite these soft results, 90.8% of participating merchants saw a positive lift in conversion rate for all visitors. Since this experiment takes place at the buying stage of the checkout funnel, the conversion rate is an important metric to consider.

Implement these experiments on your site. Testing is easy when done through the Mobile Optimization Initiative. This Magento Community Initiative is made possible by our collaboration with Magento, PayPal, HiConversion, ShipperHQ, and numerous eCommerce system integrators.

Best Practice #6: Offer guest checkout

Forcing customers to create an account is more likely to lead to them abandoning an online store completely. Customers who have decided to buy a product are usually in a rush and so business owners have very little time and much less room for error. Offering a guest checkout leads to swifter first-time buys and overcomes customer fear that they are going to be bombarded with unwanted information. Think about having New Customer, Repeat Customer or Guest Checkout options for those on your site, and not making everyone sign up for good. It's important to weigh up what you know about your customers and the pros and cons of having them sign up or not.

Best Practice #7: Welcome new customers creatively

Welcome emails, which are sent to new subscribers and customers, personalize and streamline the customer journey with engaging content and compelling incentives. Personalized emails at this stage, when customers are in the first flush of interest in your firm, also have strong clickthrough rates.

A highly effective welcome email will be the backbone of your relationship with customers so it's worth your time crafting a crisp and concise message to make a good impression. And don't forget to personalize.

Best Practice #8: Grab attention with interesting and useful content

Send customers blog posts, newsletters and detail-heavy guides, larded with attention-grabbing copy and great artwork. Well-designed web layouts, creative product pages and crystal-clear directions for users will all help with brand awareness and appreciation of your professionalism and will rattle up the number of your conversions.

User-generated content (UGC) such as social posts and positive reviews on Amazon or your website hits home more accurately than generic newsletters, blogs or discounts. Who is more trustworthy than a real-world satisfied customer? Social proof of those enjoying your product is very powerful and costs you nothing in time, money or effort.

Best Practice #9: Convert with security that customers can see

Buying online is buying blind, so ensure customers know that your website and brand is trustworthy. SSL certificates, multiple payment and trust badges will allow customers to rid themselves of those last-minute wobbles when purchasing from you.

The key here is to place them in the right place on your website. On the product page, place them right under the CTA button or the product title to grab their attention. If you run your store on Shopify, this is taken care of for you.

Best Practice #10: Earn trust with follow-up emails and aftercare

Retaining customers is crucial, so invite customers to sign up to newsletters and your social media feeds to encourage repeat purchases. Send them a coupon code or discounts via email. Include personalized notes or any aftercare information they may require within the packaging or in a follow-up email to remain memorable.

Simple order confirmations can build trust. These aren't an opportunity to upsell or bombard customers with new opportunities but an expected delivery date, breakdown of cost and returns policy, capped with contact details reassures customers for repeat business.

Make sure you’re not bombarding them with newsletters and promotional campaigns. That can negatively affect your brand’s image and can lead customers astray.

Tailoring the funnel to your business

So how do you pique the attention of customers in your business, earn their trust and convert prospects into paying customers? Optimizing your funnel will attract more leads, convert them to customers, and boost your bottom line. Here are five best practices to analyze your funnel and remove barriers to a seamless customer experience:

1. Top of the funnel.

Examine how you attract new leads. Compare every channel that brings in customers (whether that's email marketing, Facebook or word of mouth) to see which attracts the most prospects.

It's your business to gather this information. If you're unsure about how people found you, send out a survey or when offering free content oblige prospects to tell you, along with giving you their email address. This is important for aiming true at the people in your target audience.

2. Middle of the funnel.

This is where many businesses get stuck. You've got plenty of interest but how do you keep moving your potential customers down the funnel? Think about the following:

Consider checking for any technical flaws on your website like broken links or slow-loading pages. Do you have an FAQ page that will nip the frustrations of customers in the bud? You may need to commission product videos, white papers, discounts, filters or search options.

3. Bottom of the funnel.

Frictionless checking out is key to avoid those abandoned shopping carts, so your product descriptions and checkout process have to be persuasive and slick. Emails can remind people about items left in their cart and gently nudge towards conversion.

But a sale isn't the end of the bottom-of-funnel process. Follow up to improve retention and build loyalty: it's five times more expensive to acquire a new customer than to retain an old one.

4. Analyze your funnel top to bottom.

Look for high-traffic pages with high drop-off and conversion rates that will give you an abundance of data, such as:

At which points are prospects abandoning or converting? What information is resonating and what information is a turn-off? By seeing how people navigate your website you can remove any barriers and reduce the number of clicks that will move them through your funnel and into their shopping carts.

5. Remember AIDA.

Attention–Interest–Desire–Action. However long or short, complex or simple, your mobile eCommerce funnel is, it should still fit the classic model of AIDA.

Attention

Drum up interest with blog posts and social media and use targeted ads to attract visitors to your website.

Interest

Showcase your products attractively and pay attention to the appearance and popularity of your brand. Use case studies or any press mentions to show how your product is a problem solver. Have notable press mentions.

Desire

After gaining trust it's time to create an emotional connection and make your product something a prospect actively desires. Continue to serve up content that helps them see how your product fits neatly into their lives.

Action

Time to convert. Offer freebies (eBooks, discounts, or trials) only accessible to those who fill out a form with their details.

Frequently asked questions about optimizing the mobile eCommerce funnel

What does an eCommerce funnel look like?

An eCommerce funnel typically includes three main stages; awareness, consideration and purchase. These are also known as the top, middle and bottom of the funnel, where the top is the widest and reaches the most people, who may all have a similar problem but not all of whom are necessarily interested in your product to solve it. As the funnel narrows, the number of prospects decreases, but their interest and motivation will be more solid.

How do I optimize my mobile for eCommerce?

Your eCommerce site should be optimized for mobile -- what looks good on a laptop or desktop computer is unlikely to translate brilliantly to a phone. Think about the following:

See also: https://business.adobe.com/blog/how-to/mobile-commerce-optimize-and-boost-sales

How can I use analytics in my mobile eCommerce funnel?

Funnels in Google Analytics and from other analytics providers let you visualize the steps your users take to complete a task and quickly see how well they are succeeding or failing at each step. Some trace page-to-page steps, while others can track discrete steps within a single page. Tracking goal funnels with analytics allows you to identify problem pages and improve drop-off and conversion rates.