M-Commerce has notoriously low conversion rates

One of the main contributors to this is that most mobile phone shoppers follow a non-linear path to purchase. They may begin online shopping on a smartphone, but finish the checkout process on a desktop.

Some of this can also be attributed to “on the go” browsing. Mobile shopping is often conducted when people don’t necessarily have time to buy. 

Yet often poor mobile UX design is the biggest deterrent to mobile eCommerce. In fact, 75% of consumers admit that they judge the credibility of a company based on their website design.

Unsurprisingly, it’s become increasingly important for eCommerce sites to keep mobile visitors happy by deploying mobile-first, mobile-only, and omnichannel strategies.


“Mobile-First” has been a popular concept for a while. Yet as it gained traction, the term became used in multiple contexts.

Luke Wroblewski, an internationally recognized digital product leader, defines mobile-first as consisting of three key concepts:

  1. Mobile is exploding
  2. Mobile forces you to focus
  3. Mobile extends your capabilities


In 2015, the concept of mobile-only emerged. It’s considered a natural evolution of mobile-first. In mobile-only thinking, the efforts of UX strategies, eCommerce design, and marketing are focused solely on mobile devices, mobile sites, mobile apps, and overall mobile usability.

Obviously, this approach results in a bigger focus on mobile commerce, increasing the quality of buying experience and its sales conversions via mobile.


Omnichannel retail supports the increasingly nonlinear path to purchase that customers take.

A concept we’ve discussed a lot lately, omnichannel retail is when a retailer provides customers with a fully-integrated shopping experience. Customers can switch seamlessly between brick and mortar shopping to online browsing and more. All aspects of retail - sales, marketing, customer service, etc. - are integrated. 

Omnichannel is different than multichannel, though the two terms sometimes get confused. However, there is an important distinction between the two: while omnichannel provides the same experience across all commerce platforms, multichannel allows customers to purchase products in many ways, without integration.

Omnichannel retail supports the increasingly nonlinear path to purchase that customers take.

Forcing Focus

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These 3 concepts - mobile-first, mobile-only, and omnichannel - ally to improve the user’s buying experience.

They mix the complexity of UX thinking with the need to simplify the process for customers.

As Luke Wroblewski notes, mobile does indeed force you to focus. From a designer’s perspective, one major challenge is in designing for a screen that has 80% less space than usual. 

Yet this challenge also presents an opportunity. Designers must focus on what really matters: clear and compelling product images; easy navigation; strategically-placed “add to shopping cart” buttons; simplified ways to pay (beyond credit cards) like Apple Pay, Visa Checkout, or PayPal.

For mobile UX, and for much of eCommerce design, “less is more.” 

Connecting Channels & User Behavior

The challenges of mobile UX present yet another opportunity, too. 

As shoppers’ “on the go” searching, browsing, and buying increases, this allows eCommerce brands the chance to reassess their overall UX strategy. 

Companies should think about the convergence between communication channels (brick-and-mortar store, smartphone, desktop, tablet, television, radio, voice assistant, social media platforms, etc.) instead of seeing them separately.

The most important thing is to recognize the behavior of your users and test simple hypotheses. So, check a trend and focus on mobile as the first screen. Use that mobile test to determine user patterns within a specific device, and then roll it out to various devices to fully understand its impact. 

Work to create a seamless buyer experience, fluidly guiding the customer across multiple devices to ultimately make a purchase.  

While this line of thinking initially demands more time, effort, money, and commitment, it’s also the way of the future, and companies that have fully embraced it have already seen results.

Impact of Focused UX

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A recent report from Econsultancy, Walking in their Footsteps – The Business Case for Customer Journey Mapping, honed in on a critical piece of UX.

Companies that outperform in customer experience all have one thing in common: they map customer behavior across all channels. 

In fact, businesses that developed an omnichannel experience reported outcomes such as:

  • Over half of businesses had improved customer retention rates 
  • Over 40% of businesses saw an increase in sales
  • Nearly 90% of businesses were able to better identify the gaps between what customers want and the experience they are currently getting
  • 45% experienced increased lifetime value (i.e. repeat visits, personalized marketing capabilities, increased customer trust and loyalty, etc.)

Ultimately, a focused UX is worth the investment.

To assess your UX, reach out the team at Object Edge today.

About the Author

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Rohit Garewal


Rohit is a forward-thinking eCommerce evangelist, especially focused on re-energizing the B2B sector and merging the old disciplines with new technology opportunities. He is passionate about delivering profitable growth through people-driven digital transformation. Watch his talk on digital transformation.

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