Building Your Mobile Customer Conversion Engine

Mobile channels are now the dominant consideration for any business wanting to drive online customer conversions – whether to make a purchase or complete a signup.

Around 64% of online traffic to search engines and retailers is now from users of mobile devices. However, only 50% of online sales are currently made via mobile. (Source: SaleCycle report via Think With Google, 2019)

So why the disconnect between these two figures? The answer is that digital commerce on mobile devices is often less effective than on desktop screens. 

This is proven by ecommerce benchmarking of conversion rates, showing that while 3.9% of desktop transactions result in a completed purchase, only 2.2% of mobile transactions convert. (Source: KIBO, 2021)

Designing a better mobile customer conversion experience

A key problem is that many creators of mobile websites and transactional apps are not delivering as good a user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) as on desktop. This may be partly due to the engineering behind the scenes – but is often a result of a poor user interface (UI) and other mobile design issues.

Typical issues that hinder mobile customer conversions include slow-page loading times, cluttered screen layouts, unclear calls-to-action (CTAs), hard-to-find buttons, endless scrolling pages, and off-puttingly long conversion processes.

Best practices for mobile customer conversion

To drive more mobile conversions, digital product design experts recommend that you apply the following best practices.

  • Design your mobile conversion channels using specific mobile-optimised tools, rather than just relying on an automatic reflow or resizing of the desktop version.
  • Adopt a minimalist approach to design for mobile, eliminating unnecessary screen clutter and page length. If your pages fit the mobile screen with no scrolling, so much the better. 
  • Use powerful visuals – but pay extra attention to the loading times of your mobile pages or app screens. Large images or video may look attractive, but every split-second delay potentially reduces your conversion rates.
  • Avoid long blocks of text – instead use compelling headings, bite-size descriptions and bullet-point benefits.
  • If possible, keep your CTA or purchase button on-screen at all times, perhaps in a ‘sticky’ header or footer bar – so conversion is always just a tap away.

Travelling to higher mobile conversion rates

To see a case of mobile conversion improvement in action, let’s consider an example from the travel sector.

Travel was among the earliest sectors to be disrupted by digital transformation – witness the almost complete demise of the traditional high street travel agent. 

Despite COVID-19’s recent impact on the industry, digital travel sales were estimated at $115 billion (£84 billion) in 2021, with nearly half of these transactions occurring on mobile devices. (Source: eMarketer, 2021) Revenues are predicted to recover from the pandemic and soar to $949 billion (£698 billion) by 2026. (Source: Statista, 2022)

Online travel giants like Expedia, Skyscanner and Booking.com have become the default way for travellers to book hotels and flights. Digitally-enabled platforms like Airbnb have transformed the hospitality and accommodation sector by enabling anyone with a spare room and a smartphone to become a hotel-keeper.

Customer experience is vital to online travel sales

Today, only travel and hospitality brands that offer exceptional digital customer experiences can hope to win travellers’ custom and loyalty. Customers expect a seamless and stress-free user journey across all digital channels – but especially on mobile devices, as today’s preferred method of researching, browsing and buying.

Personalised services and offers are increasingly expected as the norm – with providers competing to develop a winning combination of curated travel ideas and algorithm-driven recommendations, based on data about your travel history and preferences.

The digital user experience is especially important in the travel sector. Holidays are among consumers’ biggest annual spend and the emotional highlights of their year – so they expect the online research and booking experience to reflect the excitement and anticipation of travel – and the luxury lifestyle aspects.

Facing today’s challenges of customer conversion

For example, luxury travel brand Secret Escapes, offers exclusive rates and special deals for its customers on hand-picked hotels and holidays. Customers sign up as members to receive personalised email newsletters with the latest travel offers selected for them. They can then click through to the Secret Escapes website or app to access a digital catalogue of curated hotels and holidays.

While the Secret Escapes email newsletter was generating high click-through rates, they were experiencing poor conversion rates on mobile channels. Customers were attracted by the offers but failed to buy.

Their existing mobile app’s performance had become a priority issue. With the majority of e-commerce shopping now being done via mobile devices, it is vital to ensure the mobile user experience meets unforgiving consumer expectations.

Ensuring a great mobile experience for travel customers

Secret Escapes asked London-based digital product agency Elsewhen to bring its mobile UX and CX up to a best-in-class standard – delivering the ‘wow factor’ that its customers expect. The project team needed to transform the mobile touchpoint into a powerful customer conversion engine, ensuring a luxury brand experience – but without requiring changes to the existing business-critical systems that host their fast-changing catalogue of thousands of destinations, partners and offers.

The team designed and developed a new mobile UI and native app to deliver the best mobile experience for Secret Escapes customers. At the same time, they knew this would have to work seamlessly with the firm’s legacy technology.

Using GraphQL middleware (developed to power giant digital platforms like Facebook), the team enabled API queries to be managed more efficiently, overcoming mobile performance issues and supporting the requirements of a cutting-edge mobile experience.

The new mobile app and API functionalities were created in an accelerated Agile process to ensure they could launch in time for the Christmas and New Year season – a key period for travel purchases.

The mobile customer conversion engine in action

The brand’s new app delivered major improvements for Secret Escapes across a range of metrics. Click-throughs from listings pages to purchasing were increased by 24.4%, while successfully completed purchases increased by 210%. 

While the legacy mobile app had been rated only 1 star on the Apple App Store, our new native app has achieved a user approval rating of 4.8 out of 5 (as of January 2022).

As Secret Escapes concluded: “We saw customer LTV (lifetime value) post-download of the new mobile app is 25-35% higher than pre-download. That improvement goes straight to our bottom line!”

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