How to Turn Passive Mobile Browsing into Sales


In 2018, more shoppers than ever before will browse retail websites and online stores with their mobile devices. Rightly so, many retailers spent 2017 ramping up their mobile strategies and making improvements for user experiences. This past holiday shopping season, the retail industry experienced an increase in mobile traffic — but to what extent does traffic translate to sales?

“On Cyber Monday this year, mobile shopping very nearly surpassed desktop shopping,” says Cara Hogan, Content Strategist for Zaius. “Mobile traffic set a new record at 47.4% of site visits, however, it only accounted for 33.1% of overall online revenue, according to Adobe.” Many shoppers prefer to research products, compare pricing, and window shop from the comfort of their smartphone or tablet. But for various reasons, most consumers still complete online purchases on desktops.

Take Advantage of Social Advertising

If your online conversions are lagging behind, try ramping up your mobile marketing strategy in 2018. “The best way to convert mobile shoppers is to first reach them where they spend time,” says Hogan. “If you’re bringing in more mobile traffic to your site, you’ll also have a higher chance of converting it when it arrives.”

Hogan explains social media marketing like Instagram’s “Shop Now” button is helping prospective customers make a smooth transition between a serendipitous product discovery and mobile checkout through a retailer’s app or online store. Do some digging to find out which social channels your customers use most often. If Instagram isn’t a good fit for your shoppers, Facebook advertising may be a better option.

With dynamic Facebook ads, ASOS was able to produce a three-fold increase in online orders and more than double their return on ad spend. ASOS directed Facebook ads to consumers who primarily browsed on the retailer’s mobile app.

“By providing mobile app deep linking information within its product catalog, ASOS could send people straight from the Facebook app into the ASOS app to see products that they had previously viewed and then give personalized recommendations,” says Facebook. “This delivered a seamless app browsing session, followed by a quick and easy mobile checkout — entirely within people’s preferred shopping environment.”

If shoppers have already viewed your website or Facebook page, advertising through the social platform could help convert more shoppers who have already shown interest in your merchandise. Maybe the customer didn’t have time to enter credit card information and forgot about the product. A targeted ad that pops up on their Facebook feed the next day could be the reminder they need to complete the process. If you already use Shopify, Magento or BigCommerce platforms for your website, Facebook ads can be implemented automatically.

Take an Honest Look at Web Usability

Maybe you’re already using social advertising to reach your key prospects, and you’re still left wondering why you’re not reaping the mobile sales. Have you ever visited your own website on a mobile device? Just because you have one, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s optimized for mobile browsers. If your shoppers have to constantly zoom in and out just to navigate, they’ll quickly lose patience and interest in your business. If you use Shopify, your website is already designed to be mobile responsive. If not, try asking customers if they’ve ever visited your mobile site and ask them how it could be even better.

Daniel An and Pat Meenan, team members at Google, researched mobile conversions. They found, “the average U.S. retail mobile site loaded in 6.9 seconds in July 2016, but, according to the most recent data, 40% of consumers will leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load.”

An and Meenan discovered that lost mobile customer conversions were primarily caused by an excess of images and other elements on the website. Both of which can slow down website loading times. The duo recommends making sure your web images are saved as JPEG files, as PNG files can double loading times. Compressed and resized images can also speed up your website.

Create Personalized Accounts

Giving customers the option to create accounts through your mobile site can also help generate sales. “All too often, the checkout process is where ecommerce sites lose buyers,” says Hogan. “Mobile payment can be incredibly annoying if you have to fill out 30 fields on your smartphone, typing on tiny buttons on a small screen.” But if consumers can create personalized accounts, they can save their payment information and ease future mobile shopping experiences.

What’s more, retailers can collect valuable customer information like email addresses for future promotions. Hogan goes on to say if a shopper abandons an item, you can use their email address to remind them about the product, let them know when only a small amount is left in stock, or tell them when the product goes on sale.