Picture this: you're watching a tv series that doesn't live up to your expectations. As you sink into total boredom, you finally pull out your smartphone. Ten minutes later, you've ordered a toaster, a genuine sequined sombrero and a snow globe. You have 67$ less in your bank account, but at least you are entertained.
This scenario, very unlikely a few years ago, is proving to be more and more feasible nowadays; indeed, the act of shopping online was not so long ago something that had to be at least minimally organised since it required the use of a computer. For some time now, what is known as m-commerce (the letter M referring to the term mobile) has had a truly devastating success. Unpractical just five years ago, it is gradually becoming the norm: according to the website Simicart, mobile sales are expected to reach 53.9% of total e-commerce sales worldwide by the end of 2021, with mobile commerce revenues increasing by more than 22% by 2020.
In our opinion, these figures represent a very, very good reason to adapt your e-commerce site to mobile devices. However, there are a number of questions that need to be asked before embarking on this adventure...
Do I have to adapt my shop for mobile commerce?
First of all, let's establish a fact: mobile commerce is not a habit for everyone. According to Simicart, the majority of m-shoppers are in the 18-34 age group. The ComK site, for its part, has shown, thanks to a study carried out among French seniors, that 67% of them are held back by the size of the mobile screen when shopping. Furthermore, 46% believe that m-commerce could compromise the security or confidentiality of their data. All these reasons explain their notable absence from the mobile versions of online shops.
Thus, as always in e-commerce, it will be relevant to ask yourself if your choice will be appropriate to your target audience: if it is composed of rather young people, if they are globally very present on social networks and mainly on Instagram, the current stronghold of social shopping, go for it! It's time to position yourself in the fabulous world of m-shopping. If this is not the case, if your target audience is made up of older people (from 35 years old), the prospect will probably be less interesting for your business.
What are the benefits of m-commerce?
- Shopping in three clicks: m-commerce is a perfect answer to our constant need for ease and speed (just like our print on demand platform, by the way). The ergonomics of mobile shops can even allow a purchase in 5 minutes, during a coffee break or while waiting for a date in a restaurant. Moreover, if your shop is linked directly to your Instagram or Facebook profiles, the time between the consumer's interest in your product and the final order is considerably reduced and the customer's trust in your brand is increased, thanks to the centralisation of your brand image, consumer opinions and shopping possibilities in one place.
- Impulse commerce: Our mobiles follow us everywhere, all the time. Imagine what will happen if they become our primary means of shopping? That's exactly what's happening: we are increasingly able to order and respond to any buying impulse, at any time. Clearly, this is great news for online shops. According to a study conducted by Visiplus Academy, amongst the French people who were questioned about their m-commerce habits, 18% said they did their mobile shopping on public transport, 14% at work and 15% in their car (at a standstill, of course: m-commerce is nice, but it's better when it's legal). These are three situations that were almost unimaginable a short time ago, three situations that have very quickly become part of our routine.
- A privileged shop/shopper relationship: The possibility to sell more, anytime, is logically rather tempting, isn't it? That's why many brands take advantage of their mobile platform to offer as many promotions as possible, in the form of discounts and coupon codes. By communicating more effectively and maintaining a special relationship with their users, brands can increase their turnover and approach their mobile presence as a kind of high-performance loyalty programme.
How do I know if my shop is mobile friendly?
If you're just getting to know the m-commerce world, it's only natural that you don't know what criteria to use to determine whether or not your shop is suitable for use on mobile. Fortunately, there are tools to help you, including the mobile optimization test designed by Google.
The principle is simple but terribly effective: in just a few seconds and for free, this tool is able to analyse the URL of your website and give it a mobile-friendly rating. By clicking on the link "Open site-wide mobile usability report", you will also be able to access a detailed description of the features, content and other plug-ins that are not compatible, so you will know what your users are losing out on when shopping on your mobile shop and whether you need to take action.
Which responsive theme to choose?
Your shop may be considered unsuitable for mobile use for a variety of reasons: visuals that invade the entire screen of your users and make navigation inconvenient, a large number of useful purchasing features lost when switching to mobile, a demoralising slowness in loading your shop,... Rather than designing a website dedicated entirely to mobile use, which would force you to manage not one but two different shops (I'm exhausted just thinking about it), the smartest and most efficient thing would be to choose a theme that is flexible to all mediums for your Shopify or Woocommerce shop. The team has put together a list of the best in the business, because you are worth it.
Flexible themes for Shopify
Minimal - Free
As its name suggests, Minimal is a simple and clean theme. It still has a very trendy potential, although its initial version is not very design-oriented (so it is better to have some knowledge of code if you want to customize its appearance). Minimal is not an overly ambitious theme, it just covers the basics and focuses mainly on the product catalogue. Some interesting features will still be available to you (product recommendation to your customers, for example). Beware, however: it is preferable to go on your way if you want to offer a wide range of products, otherwise the loading time of your shop will be discouraging for your customers. We are nevertheless delighted to present you such a high quality theme, which you can purchase for the modest sum of nothing (yes, you read that right, it is free).
Simple - Free
Another theme that lives up to its name: Simple is a clean and minimalist looking theme, without any pretension. Easy to use for beginners, it adapts wonderfully to use on mobile devices (although its "Hamburger" menu, a list of drop-down categories, can take up some screen space, the theme remains quite manageable). Its greatest quality? Its ultra-short loading time, perfect for optimising your conversion rate. Despite its simplicity, the theme still offers interesting features such as the display of consumer reviews or the animation of visuals. Oh, and guess what... It's also completely free.
Startup - $180
The Startup theme is overflowing with style: its full-width visuals give it a strong design aspect without even taking away from its usability or ergonomics. Very flexible, full of qualities and multiple possibilities available on computer as well as on mobile format (video on the homepage, customer reviews, custom modules, sharing on social networks,...), it should however be noted that this theme will be more adapted to shops with small catalogues. This beautiful theme will be yours for the sum of $180 (about €150).
Blockshop - $180
Do you want to impress your customers? Tell them your story, your values, to the point of making them travel? Blockshop will be the perfect partner for brands in search of story-telling: thanks to great visuals and an original and ergonomic user interface, this theme will give your shop a breath of modernity and luxury, all for the sum of $180 (about €150). Fast for all kinds of catalogues, from the smallest to the largest, this theme will also bring a myriad of high value-added features, such as the possibility for the customer to consult the product sheet without leaving the catalogue, quick purchase, promotional pop-ups or the publication of size guides.
Responsive themes on Woocommerce
Storefront - Free
Designed from the ground up by Wordpress, Storefront is THE reference for responsive Woocommerce themes (i.e. adapting to all screen sizes). Its homepage is designed for e-commerce, since it provides all the categories useful for your customers, from new arrivals to products on sale. Very minimalist, it will be preferable to have some knowledge in development to be able to customize this theme. However, Wordpress does not forget the beginners and offers pre-designed themes directly derived from Storefront, such as the pretty Galleria, available for $39 (about €32) per year.
Skinny - $69/year
The contemporary and elegant design of the Skinny theme makes it an advantageous option for optimising cross-media access to your shop. The theme has a rare and beneficial feature: it offers visitors the option to choose between light and dark modes; given that, according to Visiplus research, a large proportion of online shopping takes place after 7pm, this small option could potentially be a big bonus in the eyes of your customers. A blog section is also included in the price of $69 per year (approx. €58): perfect for deepening your brand image and story-telling.
Some tips to prepare my shop for m-commerce?
Beyond the choice of a responsive theme, several precautions should be taken to optimise the use of your shop and to set it up to match the rise of m-commerce. And yes: as is often the case in life, it's not only appearance that counts, but also...
As much as the form, the content is very important when designing a flexible online shop. For the simple reason that the shopping experience should naturally be more efficient and quicker via mobile, there is no need to overwhelm your customers with long descriptions and endless paragraphs. Furthermore, as the screen size of tablets and mobile phones is obviously smaller than those of computers, you need to be careful not to take up the entire screen size with text, which would be potentially uninviting to a customer. So, remember to post clear and concise excerpts on your shop, write the most important terms and keywords in bold, and use a font size and colour that is contrasting enough to make reading as easy and fluid as possible.
Have you ever experienced that awkward situation where, while visiting a website on your smartphone in a public place, you are suddenly assaulted by an impromptu video or music, thus attracting the mocking/curious/inquisitive looks of the audience? Don't be the cause of such discomfort: we can assure you that these unpleasant surprises are a valid reason for your visitors to turn their backs on you. So consider avoiding auto-starting music and videos.
In order to simplify the shopping experience for your customers, the correct structuring of your shop, and in particular your catalogue , will be essential. The aim is to design an intuitive path for your customers, where they can find their way around without any problems and obtain the information or products they want with a minimum of clicks. Are you a beginner and don't know where to start? Don't panic, we've all been there; don't hesitate to visit your competitors' shops to learn about the usual tree structure and categories in your niche.
In order to minimise the number of clicks from your customer, there is another solution: incorporating CTAs into your website. We'll explain : CTAs (or Call-To-Action are buttons that can be clicked by your customer to encourage them to perform a specific action formulated as an instruction or a directive. The famous "Sign up" or "Buy now" are, for example, Call-To-Action buttons. In addition to soliciting your customers, these buttons play an interesting role in m-commerce as they have the potential to make access to certain pages more directly.
One last piece of friendly advice: although sometimes useful and striking, pop-up windows should be avoided overall if you want to optimise your visitors' experience on mobile devices. They may find it frustrating to have their screen taken up by a window whose exit button is difficult to find due to its small size.
Our consumer habits are evolving so fast that sometimes it seems complicated to keep up with them as an e-tailer. Far from being an ephemeral trend, m-commerce seems to be settling in for good, and at an impressive speed: that's the whole point of taking steps to adapt to it as soon as possible, before some of your competitors have even started thinking about it.
To sum up, in order to optimise the experience of your visitors on the mobile version of your shop, the important thing is to put yourself in the shoes of your audience: where would their intuition tell them to go to find the products and information they need? What notions would they find necessary? Mix this desire to rely on your customers' logic with the desire to be yourself and you have the perfect recipe for a flexible and efficient shop.