These days, if you want to give your e-commerce site every chance of success, it MUST be mobile-friendly. We no longer live in a world where those who search for and buy goods online using a smartphone are the exception to the rule.



These days, if you want to give your e-commerce site every chance of success, it MUST be mobile-friendly. We no longer live in a world where those who search for and buy goods online using a smartphone are the exception to the rule.

Far from it in fact. Figures from IMRG, the UK’s online retail association, show that in 2017:

  • Sales on mobile devices (tablets and smartphones) grew by 23.7 percent year-on-year
  • 54 percent of all visits to retail websites took place on mobile devices, compared to 46 percent on desktop

And these statistics only tell half the story. Google implemented significant algorithm changes in April 2015 and then again in March 2016, which made the search engine giant favour mobile-friendly sites in its rankings. That means, if your e-commerce is not mobile-friendly, then not only are you potentially missing out on more than half of the prospective market for your products, but your website is also less likely to rank for searches on desktop devices.

But how do you know whether your e-commerce site is mobile-friendly or not? And if it’s not, what can you do to make it more visible for mobile users?

Check your site on a mobile device

First things first, you need to check if your e-commerce site is currently visible on mobile devices. Unknowingly, you might already have a ‘responsive’ site (a responsive site is one that has been optimised for mobile browsers). This simple Google test will tell you whether your site is mobile-friendly. However, you should also try to access your website yourself using a:

  • Apple iPhone
  • Apple iPad
  • Android smartphone
  • Ideally, you’ll also try a few different android tablets

To test the current level of mobile optimisation, you should use these mobile devices to check the site thoroughly. That means:

  • Seeing whether your site automatically resizes to fit the screen you’re viewing it on
  • Progressing through the purchase process to identify possible flaws
  • Completing an enquiry form to see whether you receive the message
  • Clicking on product images to see whether they zoom in/out and pop out if you have that functionality installed
  • Repeating these tests on different mobile browsers like Safari and Chrome

If you find that everything works as it should on mobile devices then you should consider yourself lucky. If it doesn’t, there are two approaches you can take…

  1. Rebuild your site using responsive design

If your e-commerce site does not look as good as it should or it loses some of its functionality when viewed on mobile devices, all is not lost. A good website developer will usually be able to make a few changes to your code to make it responsive. However, in some cases, the site may have been coded in such a way that makes responsive design more difficult.

If that’s the case, it might be time to think about a site rebuild. Creating the website for smartphone users first gives you the opportunity to simplify processes such as your checkout and generally make your website easier to navigate and use. With smartphone shopping forecast to account for two-thirds of UK e-commerce by 2020, that’s an investment which should pay off.

  1. Redirect your mobile visitors to a subdomain

If it’s going to be too difficult to build a single e-commerce site that tailors to desktop and mobile users, you could create a separate site that mobile browsers are automatically redirected to. For example, if your website is, you could create a separate mobile-friendly site found at

All it would take is for a simple redirect to be inserted into the code of your homepage and you could start benefitting from all those mobile browsers. Instead of building a completely new website, the mobile site would use the same images and copy as the desktop site. That means any changes you make to prices or inventory on the desktop site will automatically be copied across.

Mobile first isn’t a fad

If you sell products online then you need a mobile-friendly site. You will lose customers if your e-commerce experience turns browsers off, so make the necessary changes now before it’s too late.

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