5 mobile conversion killers that must be stopped!

The latest WhatUsersDo and Practicology Mobile Usability Report highlights why retail sites lose mobile customers.

I’ve selected five mobile ux conversion killers from the report with recommendations of how ecommerce UX professionals should go about eradicating them.

The report examined the SmartPhone usability of 15 leading UK ecommerce sites by UX Testing them with 120 internet shoppers.

Mobile Conversion Killer 1 – imagery that’s not mobile ready

I was surprised that so many of the editorial-style images were either illegible or did not render correctly on SmartPhones. In many cases these were in prominent positions such as on the Home Page.

Example – the main Home Page merchandising image (“the poo promise”) on Pets at Home is illegible.

pets at home HP

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Recommendation: This seems like a simple issue to fix – and maybe comes down to educating stakeholders in other departments – such as marketing and graphic design – so they create images that work on mobile devices.

Mobile Conversion Killer 2 – product listings that customers can’t control

Customers expect to control product listings using more than one filter (e.g. brogues, brown, male) and specify the number of items that are displayed. Some sites did not support this behaviour or made it difficult for users to control.

Video example – even though House of Fraser allows customers to choose more than one filter, it’s difficult to apply more than one.

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Recommendation: Retailers should find out how customers want to control product listings. Observing how real customers actually sort and filter on their own sites and competitors’, coupled with data from site analytics, will provide the answer.

Mobile Conversion Killer 3 – fiddly forms that frustrate and infuriate

Mobile Usability Report checkoutThere were many examples of forms that customers struggled to complete and will lead to checkout abandonment on mobile devices. Of particular note were:

  • double-entry (of email address and password)
  • auto-capitalising that caused double-entry validation to fail
  • a country drop-down with over 200 alphabetically listed entries*
  • a date of birth field (thankfully not mandatory, but another fields nonetheless).

* We didn’t test with customers in Afghanistan, Albania or Algeria so this is unlikely to be a universal problem. ☺

Example – auto-capitalising on one email field means validation fails:


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Recommendation: Retailers should test their forms with real people, using a variety of mobile devices to identify where they can be optimised and consider splitting long forms into their component parts (starting with email giving an opportunity to re-market).

Mobile Conversion Killer 4 – unwelcoming Home Pages

It’s common for sites to present customers with an overlay on their first visit. Some are essential (e.g. cookie consent) others less so e.g. prompting first time visitors to download a mobile app.

On the River Island site first time visitors to the Home Page were “bombarded” with cookie consent, country selector and a pop-up survey.

The overlay on the Debenhams website, that promoted their app, was the same for Android as it was for iOS users. Meaning Android users could not download it.

Video example – on B&Q most customers found the automatic opening of the burger menu very confusing. Their attempts to dismiss it did not work.

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Recommendation: Retailers should carefully consider the first time experience – those first few seconds when the Home Page loads. The balance needs to be more weighted to what customers want to do on the site e.g. find a product quickly, with app download being less intrusive.

Mobile Conversion Killer 5 – slow page rendering

mobile usability site speedThe majority of retail sites tested in the report suffered from performance issues – even though the participants were all using WiFi connections. The issues we identified cannot simply be blamed on page size alone. Mobile devices are more sensitive to CSS and Javascript code that is not optimised meaning it takes them longer to render a page, even if its (kb) size is small.

As retailers like Schuh (who we know obsess over performance) raise the bar, customers will become less tolerant of slow loading mobile sites.

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Recommendation: Like Schuh retailers should obsess over page load speed, measure it and follow the Google Page Speed Guidelines and set themselves a rendering time target.

Download the Mobile Usability Report to learn how to drive mobile sales by eliminating Conversion Killers

The report was produced by WhatUsersDo and Practicology testing the SmartPhone usability of leading retail sites with 120 internet shoppers. The 15 retailers included in the report are: Amazon, AO.com, Argos, B&Q, Boohoo, Boots, Debenhams, House of Fraser, Littlewoods, Paperchase, Pets at Home, River Island, Schuh, Sports Direct, and Tesco Direct.

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Mobile Usability Retailers

Lee Duddell

Lee Duddell is the founder of WhatUsersDo.

During 20+ years of working in digital, Lee became increasingly frustrated with the amateurish way that companies were making important design decisions. Personal opinions, hunches and incomplete data were driving experience design. And not user insight.

Lee started WhatUsersDo to fix this by making user research and UX Testing business as usual.

3 Responses to “5 mobile conversion killers that must be stopped!

  • I have given up as your video does not allow me to go full screen on my mobile so I can only view a portion of it at once. I am on a Samsung galaxy note 4 using chrome to (fail to) view. Your video is not mobile ready so I am off.

    • Hi Rufus,

      Thanks so much for pointing that out, and sorry you had a bad mobile experience with this post (ironically, perhaps).

      I’ve updated the videos to be responsive—hopefully they work on your device now.

      Thanks again for helping us improve our site!

  • On number 4, if there was a homepage, I would be interested to see if she actually clicked any links or in fact went straight to a menu or search.

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