Yesterday, Mashable posted a chart that shows Americans still prefer to do their online shopping on a PC rather than on a mobile device. In fact, a whopping 73% chose to shop on their PCs while only 14% did so on their tablets and just 12% used their smartphones. This may come as a surprise to some given the recent ubiquity of mobile devices and ecommerce apps.
I think it has much to do with screen sizes. Online shopping is a very visual activity, and the larger the screen size, the better the visuals. Squinting into a small screen like on a phone to discern the texture of a certain shoe’s suede for example, just isn’t very appealing to most consumers.
This theory actually inspired our whole approach to the design of our shops product, which incorporates a web-first design for the product configurators, and a mobile-first design for all of the other pages. This is based on our usability test findings that your customers or prospects come to your site and visit different pages with different intentions at different times. If they’re coming to your site just to get quick contact info like a phone number, or if they’re just curious to see who you are and what you’re all about because they found you through a tweet or email, they’ll likely pull out their mobile devices to do it because it’s a faster mode. As a result of this behavior, those areas of your shop are designed for mobile devices first. But, when your customers come to your site with an intent to more deeply engage with your products or place an order from you, they’re more likely going to use their desktops and laptops because of the larger screens. So, appropriately, we designed these areas for web browsers first.
We can probably expect the trend to continue for the foreseeable future so long as our larger screens remain less mobile.