Should You Actually be Worrying About Smartphone Conversion Rates in 2015?

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smartphone conversions should you be worried

At the beginning of the year, Smart Insights released conversion data about device conversions, and the numbers paint a pretty grim picture for smartphone conversions:

Add to cart:

Desktop: 8.52%
Tablet: 8.58%
Smartphone: 4.70%


Desktop: 2.78%
Tablet: 2.42%
Smartphone: 0.80%

Now, obviously, your mileage may vary. But while individual site conversion rates for mobile may not be at 0.80%, it’s generally a given that desktop conversion rates today completely and utterly destroy mobile conversion rates. For some sites, desktop conversion rate is twice as high, for others, it’s much more than that, but it’s usually not even close.

There are a number of very good reasons for that today - the phones have weaker connections, they are not as powerful, and device input is not as easy on mobile.

So in 2015, is it really worth investing in the mobile user experience?

Here are a few things you should consider.

1. Mobile opportunity dwarfs PC opportunity over time

Granted, the mobile phones and telecom businesses have always been several times larger than the PC industry. However, what smartphones did is erase the functional barrier, to a degree: many of the things that used to be desktop and laptop tasks are now smartphone tasks.

Now consider this:

By 2020, there will be less than 2 billion desktops and laptops in use, but 4 billion smartphones. The number of desktop and laptop users will basically be the same size as it is today, but there will be 2 billion new smartphone users.

You can’t miss out on those users.

You can think of that as a problem for the future, but here’s the problem with that logic: cycle times and iterations matter. Cracking mobile experience is an iterative process, from asking the right questions to figuring out intent.

The more you work with m. and mobile. and responsive web design today, and the more you’ll solve from a user experience standpoint. So even if you fail to increase mobile conversions significantly in 2015, if you start working on and raising task accomplishment rates on mobile, you’re basically winning the race.

2. We’re living in the lag

When laptops first started getting produced, there was a very small use case for them; PCs were still what you needed if your task required any kind of computing power. Over time, the power gap between desktops and laptops became smaller and smaller, and the use cases for laptops, wider and wider.

That’s where smartphones are now.

They’re not as powerful as desktops and laptops, but they’re getting more powerful every day. They are traditionally thought of as things that people use on the go, but today, they’re getting used at home, even with a desktop available on hand.

The people who are going to get this right a year or two from now when the opportunity is in full swing are the ones working on it today. So you need to start iterating and getting the right tasks ported over to mobile seamlessly.

Review your numbers, obviously, to see which tasks people are trying to do on mobile and focus mainly on those tasks, but you need to start mapping out a plan for the things that they’re not doing quite yet - getting auto-fill to work for a future state when forms are more acceptable on mobile devices, for instance.

3. Your mobile users ARE your desktop users

Finally, today, many of the same users on your site comparing prices or checking store locations are the same ones on desktops, going through the conversion process.

This buys you time, because you need to work on those key mobile tasks first. But you should incrementally be looking at where your major drop-offs are from a mobile standpoint as well, even for things like sales conversions.

When those 2 billion new users use your mobile-optimized site instead of your competitors’, you’ll be happy you did.

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