Any retailer that doesn’t have a mobile-friendly website doesn’t just risk losing out on sales. A poor mobile experience can lead to basket abandonment, or worse – a lost customer for life. 

This is because shopping on mobile is now second nature for most people. According to Adobe, 61% of visits to retail sites now stem from mobile devices, while 70% of purchases are predicted to be made on mobile over desktop by the end of the year.

Google recently analysed some of the most visited global websites in a bid to identify what it calls the ‘mobile masters’ in verticals including travel and finance. In the retail category, Etsy was named as the number one brand in the UK, coming out on top in terms of mobile experience overall. 

So, what makes it so great? Here’s a look at its mobile design, and what we can learn from it.

Intuitive search and filter

According to Google’s study, the top-performing retailers for mobile have improved their search functionality from previous years. 

This definitely seems to be the case with Etsy. First to note is the search bar’s prominence on the homepage, which makes it impossible for users to miss – there’s no need to click on anything or hunt around. The microcopy also subtly reminds users of the brand’s marketplace element, meaning it is home to a range of ‘shops’ rather than own-brand items.

With mobile shoppers searching on the go, it’s important for search to be quick and predictive. Etsy impresses on both counts, rapidly returning possible search terms from just a few letters. Its predictive nature is also handy as this gives users a good indication of the range of items the site sells.

Moving on, I am particularly impressed with the site’s mobile filter options. While many retailers simply allow users to filter by price or relevance, Etsy includes multiple options such as whether the item comes with free shipping, plus other information like shop locations, sale items and gift wrapping. 

Slick navigation

Etsy’s mobile navigation is also pretty decent. While some people argue against hamburger menus – specifically that they harm discoverability – I think they can be an intuitive and neat design choice. The categories in the menu are well-labelled, allowing users to quickly understand how to get where they want.

My only bugbear might be that the menu is layered, meaning it takes quite a few clicks until the user actually arrives at a product listings page.

In fairness, this is down to the vast array of items found on Etsy, meaning sub-categories are required to aid discovery. 

Super-fast checkout

As well as browsing on-the-go, mobile sites need to make it as easy as possible for users to complete a purchase. Customers are said to be more likely to abandon a purchase on mobile sites and apps than on desktop anyway, so complicated sign-ins and long forms will only increase the chances of this happening. 

Pleasingly, Etsy allows for a guest checkout, which reduces the amount of steps new customers need to take. 

There’s also the option of registering via Facebook or Google, which makes things even more handy.

From there, it’s a simple three stage checkout, which is nicely emphasised at the top of the screen. It’s also worth mentioning that before users even click to checkout, Etsy highlights payment options (i.e. card or Paypal), which is a nice prompt.

Content and commerce

Another effective part of Etsy’s mobile site is how it balances editorial content and commerce. 

Etsy is not the kind of retail site that you head to for specific items – it’s more aligned to search and discovery rather than quick buys. Consequently, the gift guides are likely to appeal to customers even on mobile, as well as help to guide them along the path to purchase. 

The current Mother’s Day gift guide is effectively promoted at the top of the homepage. Other content is nicely highlighted too, with blog articles containing a good proportion of product or shop promotion. This doesn’t feel overly-salesy either, as articles are both in-depth and informative, with Etsy placing a particularly strong focus on value for both sellers and customers. 

Happily, editorial content is also very easy to read on mobile, with pages loading impressively fast considering the amount of imagery included on the page.

Other features to appreciate

As I was exploring the Etsy mobile site, I noticed there were lots of little details that generally help to elevate the UX from good to really great. Here’s a run-down of some of them.

Reassurance

Etsy reassures mobile users wherever possible, mainly via reminders of its brand values as well as site safety. The ‘Etsy Keeps You Safe’ pop-up instantly soothes any worries and reinforces its stance on customer service. 

Meanwhile, alongside reviews from ‘happy people’ on the homepage, Etsy also makes reviews a prominent feature on product pages. 

Urgency

Most mobile product pages tend to be quite basic in design, but Etsy includes nice extras such as telling customers how many other people have the item in their basket (and how many of the item are still available to buy). This urgency also continues in the checkout, prompting customers to carry on before they potentially lose out. 

Easy contact

Etsy also makes it easy for customers to get in contact with shop owners, including links for contact on product pages and cart summaries. This also leads to a simple message interface, which makes communication easy and natural.

Wishlist

Finally, signed-in customers can easily save items to a wishlist by clicking on the heart icon on an item. I like how there’s no unnecessary copy or fuss here, leaving users to naturally search, discover, and save. It also gives mobile users a good reason to return again at a later date.

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