57% of users won’t recommend a business if they have a bad mobile site, a simple statistic that speaks volumes about the current landscape in mobile commerce.

Global mobile web usage is increasing exponentially and most businesses know they need a mobile strategy.

Building a mobile-friendly website is just the first step. What happens after that? 

At Searchlove this morning, Distilled’s digital marketing consultant Bridget Randolph provided her own insight and guidance.

By 2017, 85% of the world will have 3G access. Mobile can’t just be an afterthought to a business plan anymore.

There are three highly generalised examples of companies venturing into the mobile world...

  • Average Joe Corporation. Big, slow-moving companies that suddenly realise that ‘mobile is a thing’. It builds a mobile site. It probably also builds an app. There’s little thought of the user in either strategy.
  • Early Adopters Inc. These companies ask 'how do we stay ahead of the technology curve?' They use ‘big data’ tools to analyse and identify key trends and try to predict what's coming next.
  • User Driven Business. These companies are the ones achieving the most success. They listen to their users and ask “how do we facilitate the user's needs?” This company uses the latest technology to serve the needs of the user.

Mobile is now a key part of the user’s journey. Any business that seeks to put the user at the centre of its focus, has to make mobile its priority


77% of mobile searches happen with a desktop computer in sight. This shows a marked change in behaviour towards mobile. 98% of all users move across multiple screens in a single day, so there needs to be a seamless user experience.

As mobile users we are multi-screen and device agnostic, we demand that content or services can be accessed on any online device despite its make or model. 

Responsive design is great but there can be problems. Recently Starbucks redesigned its website to make it fully responsive but fudged a key element. The buy button languished far below the fold in a tiny side menu.

Consider using dynamic serving by User Agent. Getting into the CSS will give you more control over what the user can see, rather than just building a responsive website, dusting your hands and assuming the revenue will come rolling in.

Long-term cookies for log-in

The user’s mobile device should remember the user. Having to always sign-in before using a website on your small screen is a serious barrier and is likely to send them elsewhere.

You should also sync user accounts across all platforms. If a user reads a book on a Kindle in the morning, and then picks up an iPad later to read the same book, it should remember where they last let off.

The same goes for shopping carts. If a user puts an item in the basket on one device, then picks up another device later on, that item should still be there. Here's some more information on how to convert the mobile shopper.


You should always test your site on an actual mobile device. It sounds obvious, but you’ll be surprised how often this gets overlooked. There are plenty of online resources that can give you a mobile view of your desktop site.


Bravissimo ran an effective PPC campaign recently where it specifically targeted swimwear offers only to those users in warm climates.

The company experienced a 600% rise in click-through and a 300% conversion. Treat your customers as individuals and personalise accordingly. 


Four out of five users check Facebook or Twitter through their mobiles. You must allow your social media team to engage directly with your followers. Create content people will want to share.

A good benchmark for this is to ask yourself 'is this something I would share if I was in this demographic?' If the answer is no, don’t create it.

Make your content mobile friendly, otherwise they certainly won’t share it if viewed on the same device.


It’s important to bear in mind that the user searching on any device, is the same person if they swap devices. It’s all about context and intent.

Track the person using Universal Analytics so you can see the whole user journey. Here are the most significant features in the latest iteration of Google Analytics.

Online-offline integration

Best Buy developed an effective way to combat showrooming. Its staff were given tablets so they could access price comparison websites. If the product that a customer wished to purchase instore had a cheaper online price Best Buy would match it.

This has gone from trial to actual store policy now. Here's some more ways for retailers to deal with showrooming.

Do not use QR codes in hard to reach places; over a train platform, on a roadside billboard. Instead do something similar to Ikea with its augmented reality app.

Ikea asked what its customers needed. In this case, not knowing how furniture fits into their own homes – and Ikea provided a solution through mobile technology.


There needs to be smarter mobile checkouts. Too often it’s assumed that mobile is for research only, when in fact mobile spend is expected to reach 15% of all ecommerce spend by the end of the year. This is up from 3% in 2010. 

Always remember KISS (keep it simple stupid). Only ask for the bare minimum of information from the customer during checkout to complete transactions.

You only need card details and an email address if a customer is buying something like a ticket. Follow-up questions can be asked after an email interaction.

Keep people logged-in long-term. It will encourage customers to buy only from your site as your details are already saved. Just consider Amazon 1-Click; the king of ecommerce convenience.


Do you need an app? It’s an incredibly competitive market. Ask yourself, does the app offers incentives? Does it make the user’s life easier? Does it provide a useful service? Does it entertain? If it doesn’t do any of these things, you don’t need it.


62% of emails are opened on mobile. It’s essential to send emails to your customers that they want to open.

You can achieve this with triggered emails, which show a four times higher engagement than automatic newsletters. Personalistion is also the key here.


Red Bull ran an excellent social campaign on Twitter, where instead of engaging with followers who used the terms ‘Red Bull’ or ‘energy drink’, it instead searched for the words ‘exams’ and ‘mid-terms’. Red Bull then targeted stressed-out students, tweeted them and sent them a care package of Red Bull.

Red Bull then ran a Tumblr where they shared ‘thank you’ photographs from the recipients.

Social media promotes loyalty and brand recognition, but only if it's used responsibly, with the user’s benefit placed central to marketing strategy.

For more information on mobile commerce, download our Mobile Commerce Compendium.

Christopher Ratcliff

Published 29 October, 2013 by Christopher Ratcliff

Christopher Ratcliff is the editor of Methods Unsound. He was the Deputy Editor of Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (8)

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William Jones, ceo at b2bemaillistz

Nice Blog,,,, Agree on your mobile site play an important role to develop an industry in revenue and both popularity wise. Because its create a wide area network to reach target audience.for more information on email services, please visit:http://b2bemaillistz.com

over 4 years ago


George Powell, Marketing Manager at Forever England

So it turns out everyone's starting their sentences with 'so'. It's so annoying.

over 4 years ago


Grahame Palmer

Back in February 2012, we started noticing an increasing usage of mobile devices to shop at our sites. The previous month (January 2012) we had just over 14% of sales (transactions) occur on mobile devices. A month later, it was a shade under 17%.

We immediately transformed our sites to responsive templates, and removed large swathes of unnecessary information - transferring a lot of this to "satellite" sites like blogs and microsites. These then act as harvesters, directing visitors to the eCommerce site - which is simple, uncluttered, superfast, slick and focussed.

By February 2012, the number of transactions on mobile devices had risen to 34%, and the average order value was some 22% higher than transactions on conventional machines.

Today (end October 2013) more than half our customers purchase using mobile devices.

We use customised dashboards in Google Analytics to monitor this.

We're still split-testing on one of our more successful ventures:

conventional site - tagmakers.co.uk
responsive equivalent - pettags.uk.com

You might like to visit each site to see how differently they operate.

over 4 years ago


Grahame Palmer

Apologies... in the above post the date referred to:

By February 2012, the number of transactions on mobile devices had risen to 34%, and the average order value was some 22% higher than transactions on conventional machines.

Should be "By February 2013..."

over 4 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@George. We're so sorry ;)

over 4 years ago


Guy Mucklow, Senior Web Designer at PCA Predict (formerly Postcode Anywhere)

Hi Christopher, great post. The reality is, consumers are after two main things from their mobile experience – value and convenience. While mobile devices may provide convenience in terms of accessibility, this equates to nothing if retailers and marketers fail to make the purchasing process simple and straight forward.

Too often, consumers are presented with complicated registration, payment and addressing forms. These are a burden to complete on a desktop computer, but near impossible to fill in via mobile touchscreens. Like any consumer interaction, the key is to streamline the steps and barriers to purchase. While this seems like a simple point, marketers continue to overlook the technology solutions available to overcome these issues, instead choosing to rely on consumer persistence to convert the sale.

over 4 years ago


Bart De Pelsmaeker

Nice article! An aspect I am missing is all the (typically) long-form content which is used in content marketing, PR and corporate communications: white papers, annual reports, etc. This is an important part of a successful path-to-sales.

over 4 years ago

Sarah Alder

Sarah Alder, Managing Director at ICAEW

Christopher, that is a really helpful post. One question though, you said
"Consider using dynamic serving by User Agent. Getting into the CSS will give you more control over what the user can see, rather than just building a responsive website, dusting your hands and assuming the revenue will come rolling in"

I know what a user agent is, in theory, but in this context what are referring to specifically? is there an example or an introduction you could point me towards please?

(I am not a teccie, I am looking to udnerstand it from the website owner's perspective.)

over 4 years ago

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