What do people expect from mobile commerce sites? 

Retailers planning their mobile sites have a tricky balance to strike. They must perform well in terms of loading times and UX, but users don’t necessarily want a slimmed down version of the desktop site. 

Many of the early mobile sites and apps tended to present a reduced version of the main site, with basic product pages and a limited range of stock, but this is no longer good enough. There’s also the question of making customers register when checking out, even when their desktop sites don’t, but that’s a subject for another article. 

However, there is a conundrum here. For example, video is a proven sales driver on desktop ecommerce sites, but on mobile it has the potential to slow pages up, as well as eating into data allowances very quickly. 

On the other hand, the fact that a customer is viewing your site on mobile makes some features potentially more valuable. For example, if they’re out shopping, the ability to check and reserve stock at local stores could be very handy indeed. 

With this in mind, I’ve split the things mobile users need into essentials and desirables/things to test…

Mobile product page essentials


Obvious, yes, but essential. 

Product title

Also very necessary. 


Here’s a tricky one. I would say the more images, the better, as this allows customers to see products from different angles and get a better idea of them before they decide to buy. 

However, it’s important to keep the size of images down as this can severely impact on loading times. 


An essential for me, on mobile or desktop as people are simply more likely to buy from a site which contains consumer reviews

Some consideration needs to be given to display of reviews to keep page load times down. A good way is to show an average review score, along with number of reviews, before allowing users to click for more: 

Great sales copy

Sell the product, don’t just go for the manufacturer’s standard description. While this approach is easier, a more personal touch and unique tone of voice can help your product pages stand out and really sell the benefits of products.  

Product detail (materials used / dimensions / weight / cleaning / washing)

People need the detail, so provide all the information they’ll need to decide on the product. 

Size guides

Mobile shoppers need size guides too, but make them usable. A good idea is to link to a size guide, as Net A Porter does here. 

Trustmarks (security signs, testimonials)

Given that trust can be an issue for mobile commerce, it could be argued that reassurances are more essential than on desktop. However, it was hard to find examples of sites doing this on their mobile product pages

Why haven’t you bought anything online using your smartphone?

(The data comes from a Toluna survey of 1,000 UK consumers, the full results of which are included in our new Mobile Commerce Compendium).

Social proof

Social proof is still useful on mobile. Here, Hotels.com shows how many customers booked a particular hotel in the past 24 hours: 

Social sharing buttons

Still useful on mobile, so why not? 

Live chat (or a prominent contact number)

Yes, customers still need help on mobile, and a contact number could be a useful option. Besides, with a click to call link you can make it very easy for customers to call. 

Tools for rating reviews

Less essential perhaps, but Amazon still allows users to rate reviews on its mobile site. 

Sorting options for reviews

This is still helpful when there are a large number of reviews. 

Delivery and returns info

No less essential on mobile. A good example here from Schuh: 

Schuh mobile delivery info

Add to wishlist 

This allows mobile shoppers to bookmark in case they prefer to purchase later when on desktop. 

Product code 

Handy for catalogue customers. 

Highlight special offers

If you have a special offer, let people know about it: 

Zoom tools

People still need to see products close up, so allow them to click for a larger version of images.

Upselling and cross-selling

Why not?

Not so essential? 


A tricky one. As I mentioned earlier, video is a great sales driver, but it has the potential to eat into data allowances, and may not perform well on variable connections. 

However, you could give customers the choice, as ASOS does with a link to catwalk videos below the product image. 

ASOS mobile product page


These are great on desktop, and check out Schuh for a great example of this, but for the moment (until we have 4G everywhere) then they are likely to slow your mobile site down. 

International pricing / currency converter (e.g. £99, EU110, $165)

Not utterly essential, but certainly useful. 

Features which are particularly useful on mobile

Check stock in your local area

This is very useful for multichannel retailers, who can point customers at a local store even if they don’t buy on mobile. 

Here, Sears detects a user’s location and shows stock levels at local stores. 

Reserve items for collection

Another good feature, which follows on from the previous point. The key is to make items available quickly so that customers in the area aren’t forced to wait too long. 

In summary…

People want to see more or less the same features, and certainly the same product range on mobile sites, so retailers need to strike a balance between providing the best desktop features and keeping the site light and quick to load. 

Customers also want mobile sites that load quickly. Stats from Gomez show that the majority of users expect performance levels close to that on desktop.

The stats are a couple of years old, but it’s fait to assume that expectations have only moved in one direction. 

The stats also show that: 

  • 74% of users will abandon after waiting five seconds for a mobile site to load. 
  • 46% would not return to a poor performing site. 

What mobile product page essentials have I missed? What features are especially valuable on mobile sites? Please let me know in the comments…