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Do bespoke mobile sites improve conversion?

Evidence suggests smartphone users naturally convert much worse

     
11:22 am on Nov 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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We're currently looking into ways to improve our conversion rate for smartphone users (which is about half our conversion rate for desktop users).

I've spoken to several people and it seems smartphone traffic just naturally converts much worse, regardless of whether you have a bespoke mobile site, responsive design or the same site for everyone.

Does anyone have experience of a mobile specific site converting anywhere close to the rate of their main site?

Just to be clear, I'm only talking about smartphone users. Our conversion rate for tablet users (e.g. iPad) is about the same as desktop users.

Thanks for your help.
1:38 pm on Nov 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I have not seen, nor am I aware of any examples of a mobile site converting at the same level as a non-mobile. What I have seen is a rapid rise in the use of mobile for browsing and online transactions coupled with a rapid scrambling by the smartphone mfs to make better phones (read: easier to use). SO I expect the conversion rates to improve as the technology improves. Just my 2 cents.
2:27 pm on Nov 16, 2012 (gmt 0)

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Thanks lorax. Personally I often do searches on my smartphone and then move to my laptop to place the order because it's just easier and quicker to do it that way. My gut feeling is most people do that, in which case there's nothing to be gained by having a bespoke mobile site - my overall conversion rate will be the same regardless.

I also prefer using the full version of a site as I want the full features and I won't usually search for something on my mobile if I don't have 3G or wifi access because it's just too painful.

I just read an article comment that advised adding PayPal to improve conversions as it saves people entering lots of details, but now I'm wondering if it might just be better focusing all our effort on making our site really quick and easy to use for everyone.
1:51 pm on Nov 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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I'm facing the same question and would also be interested to hear others thoughts. I know in my experience I have really only purchased from one mobile site (amazon). Other than that I typically do research then complete my purchase on a laptop or desktop.

I do feel though that Amazon "got it right" as far as features available and easy of checkout. Slapping together a mobile version and making it considerably less helpful as far as product information and checkout experience could be a big downfall a lot of people face.
2:11 pm on Nov 18, 2012 (gmt 0)

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...making our site really quick and easy to use for everyone


Absolutely start with this no matter what you have planned next. Simple, useful, fast, and deliver what you promise. These will win you more customers in the long run than any being out on the bleeding edge of the tech curve.
 

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