Why is mobile conversion lower than desktop conversion and does this have to be the case?

  • By
    Aditi Kant
    March 18, 2019
    July 28, 2021

Mobile devices are constantly getting faster, more advanced and being built with more capabilities. Subsequently, this has resulted in a wide-spread mobile-first approach to browsing online. In a world of targeted ads and endless options, it’s no wonder people do a lot of browsing on their mobile devices.

Why is it that higher mobile usage doesn’t translate to high conversion on mobile devices? Companies spend a lot of advertising money on targeting audiences through various mobile platforms but are these efforts misguided? Various studies have found a common pattern: desktop conversion is generally much higher than mobile conversion. When people set out to purchase an item, they may spend a lot of time browsing various options on mobile but ultimately make their purchase using a desktop. Why is conversion so much higher on desktop and does this have to be the case?

Why is desktop conversion higher than mobile?

To a large degree, the reason desktop conversion is higher than mobile conversion, is due to the fact that shopping is generally easier using a computer. Larger screens make it possible to browse and navigate a web page more easily, and see a wider range of options at a time. As we know, mobile screens are compact and don’t display as much detail as larger devices due to their size.

To illustrate this point, think about the last time you visited Amazon. Was this on your phone or computer? Amazon has endless options for an immensely wide range of products. For any one product you end up searching, there may be endless pages of options. For each particular product you browse, each product page has a ton of important information, including product details, customer reviews, similar items, etc. The reality is, people know how to navigate through all this information quickly in order to find what they’re looking for on a computer, whereas this is much harder and much more time consuming on a mobile device.

Another main factor in lower mobile conversion is the ease of the checkout process. Typing on a mobile device is time consuming. What would typically be a quick checkout process on a desktop computer turns into a much longer and drawn-out process on a mobile device. You simply can’t fit as much on a mobile page as you can on a desktop experience.

How can you increase mobile conversion?

In order to increase mobile conversion, time should be spent ensuring that a mobile checkout experience is as easy as possible for a user. An important consideration is that a user shouldn’t spend more time going through a check-out process online than they would otherwise spend. So how do you simplify the check-out process?

  1. Give users the option to check out as guests. If you do include a registration process, try to make this as simple as possible, with as few steps as possible. Also ensure that registration serves the user with some sort of benefit. Will registering now make their future purchases much quicker? Consider what would be beneficial from a user’s perspective.
  2. Keep the check-out process simple, with as few steps as possible. Only ask for the integral information and make sure the check-out form is designed in a clean, simple manner.
  3. Ensure the right keyboard comes up depending on where your user is in their checkout process. Are they entering a credit card number? Switch to the numeric keyboard on this part of the form. Little things like this make an overall user experience much more pleasant.
  4. Utilise autofill. A good way to cut down on a users typing would be to utilise autofill where possible. Do you need a shipping address? Start with the postal code and allow the user to click on the different streets within that postal code instead of typing everything out. Another useful suggestion is giving users the option to use a billing address as their shipping address.
  5. Utilise progress bars. Users like being informed - ensuring that users know where they are in the check-out progress keeps them engaged and aware of where they are.

In conclusion, mobile conversion is lower than desktop conversion, but that doesn’t have to be the case. There are a number of useful design elements that can be incorporated into online check-out experiences that would make users more likely to follow through with a purchase. Incorporating a simplified check-out experience with a few helpful elements, such as auto-fill and keyboard adaptation, could make all the difference when it comes to conversion.

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