Just a few years ago, a business’ website was considered its storefront. But now, with roughly 60 percent of all searches emanating from mobile devices, mobile is emerging as a critical frontier for brands and retailers.

The saying “you only get one chance to make a good first impression” is especially true for online.

As the mobile storefront continues to mature, so does the importance of a good user experience (UX).

Creating a good first impression

In our digital-centric world, applications have become the modern storefront for nearly every business. They’re expected to provide convenient services. Not only immediately, but perfectly.

In fact, consumers take perfection so seriously, almost two-thirds of potential customers will abandon a website or delete an app after just one failed use. Additionally, a quarter of those customers said they’d be less likely to use a product or service of a brand if they’ve had a negative digital experience.

In other words, bad UX can forever tarnish relationships with customers.

Setting up shop

Mobile usability and excellent UX are now expected.

Before diving into navigation, buttons, scrollbars, and graphics, developers need to understand what users are trying to accomplish.

As your storefront, not only should you focus on getting customers into your store, but also how they behave once they’re there. Where do they go? What do they look at? You must also decide what you want them to do and how to guide them in that direction.

Whether you’re building a storefront for the first time or wanting to update your current offering, here are the steps you should take to ensure customers receive an enjoyable experience.

1. Speed matters

Speed is key to optimizing the mobile experience.

According to one study, 64 percent of smartphone users expect a website to load in four seconds or less. And 40 percent of shoppers will abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load.

There are some easy ways to speed up your mobile site:

  • Organize tracking with a tag management system
  • Prioritize app testing
  • Compress and reduce images
  • Use minification for your code
  • Reduce redirects
  • Find and remove broken links

2. Optimized design

While the debate over responsive design has been around for years, many businesses are still using a design that is not mobile-friendly.

Pinch and zoom simply doesn’t work and will cost your m-commerce.

But responsive design isn’t the only option businesses have. In fact, responsive only makes the desktop experience look great on mobile. But just because your site will stretch or shrink to fit any device – it still doesn’t address the specific needs of mobile visitors.

Consider developing a mobile app. App development is more work intensive and requires quite a bit of custom programming, but in the end is a direct link to your products and services and yields higher revenue per client. That said, people don’t want to download an app for every store they go to. So consider what works best for your customers.

3. Good search

In this era of instant gratification, users often go straight to the search box to find what they’re looking for. So help them out.

Create a highly-visible search field that’s easily accessible – one placed right at the top.  

You might also consider a bright colored icon that’s easy to see at a glance with text that makes it intuitive for every user.

4. Tear down registration walls

Registration is a roadblock to a good user experience. Forcing users to register or log in before they even try the app can cause 86 percent of users to leave the site.

Before expecting users to offer up personal information, allow them to peruse the website or app. You should also allow users to use guest checkout or PayPal as additional options to registering. Consumers are already wary of where they input their credit card and personal information details thanks to recent high-profile data hacks. Not only does allowing a guest checkout increase the ease of use, it also helps with ease of mind.

5. Information at your fingertips

Remember that most people shopping on smartphones are doing so on the go. They also want to be able to access information – from how to contact you to finding an actual brick-and-mortar store or location.

As such, make sure that key information is easy to find and hyperlinked as needed. Whatever you include, don’t make users copy and paste.

6. Incorporate push notifications

Push notifications open up possibilities that we haven’t even discovered yet.

Quickly reach customers wherever they are, and engage them whenever you like. Hook new users, captivate loyal users and re-engage dormant users by crafting enticing messages for product releases, exciting offers, discounts, and customer reviews.

Don’t forget to incorporate deep links into your promotional messaging.

Deep links allow app links to behave just like web URLs, meaning users are taken to a specific product page. Otherwise, you force users to navigate their way back to the listing which is counterintuitive to good UX.

Putting it all together

Mobile has matured quickly. It’s no longer acceptable to have a poor user experience.

The key to steller UX is to keep a laser focus on creating great experiences that drive brand trust.

If your mobile app isn’t flawless, don’t expect users to stick around. And you could be costing your business elsewhere. Ensure that you’re performing proper mobile usability testing and your bottom line will thrive.

Dog owner, expat, gin lover. Allegedly wise to the ways of digital marketing, PR, and social media. Currently waging a war on mediocrity in communication and storytelling.