Mobile Optimization Initiative: Key Findings and Why They Matter

November 8, 2018

Mobile Optimization Initiative

This article is part of our ongoing Mobile Optimization Initiative series designed to help Magento merchants close the mobile revenue gap.

The Race to Close the Gap

Until recently, the mobile conversion gap left the majority of eCommerce companies scratching their heads. While U.S. sales on mobile devices increased by 29% between 2016 and 2017, the average order value of desktop purchases trumped mobile by roughly $35.00. Determined to understand the root causes of this gap, the Redstage team conducted a series of mobile optimization tests with a variety of merchants. Here’s a brief history of the firm’s experiments, the latest results, and why these results suggest a need to rethink mobile customer experiences altogether.

Community Collaboration: Our Story

In the second quarter of 2018, Redstage and several partner companies collaborated on an idea that would spark the entire initiative. Having discussed the disparity between mobile traffic and mobile sales for some time, the team knew heavy experimentation was an absolute must. However, in order to ensure accurate and actionable results, they would need a controlled environment and several highly specialized platforms to stay consistent across all merchant tests…

Redsage chose Magento as the optimal environment for these experiments because of the high level of customization and flexibility the eCommerce platform allows. As a Magento Enterprise Partner with a decade of experience in Magento development, the platform was the obvious choice. Then came the question of tracking all the data. Resulting from previous collaborative work helping merchants optimize their customer journeys, it was clear HiConversion would be best experimentation platform for its highly advanced testing and analytics suite. From there, these companies formed a united front to lay the foundation of what would eventually become the Mobile Optimization Initiative.

Laying the Groundwork: Achieving Proof of Concept

On June 20th, 2018, Redstage released the results of their preliminary Mobile Optimization Report, showcasing a three-stage test conducted over the course of 8 weeks for several Magento merchants. In the opening session of Magento Imagine 2018, Mobile and Millennials – Payments Best Practices for 2018 and Beyond, Redstage CEO Adam Morris teased the results of the tests, hinting at a larger underlying issue. “In a world where responsive design is trying to give [customers] all the same functionality we have on desktop in mobile, there may be a divergence here where we have to start thinking about different mobile-first customer experiences,” Morris explained.

As the architect of these experiments, Redstage Solutions Engineer Oliver Sosinsky later highlighted the intriguing findings on the PayPal sponsored panel, Mobile Conversion in the Wild: Global Research Results. Sosinsky notes, “Some of the changes we assumed would have a big boost to revenue had very little effect and vice versa. It really highlighted the value in making data-driven decisions rather than going off conventional wisdom.” While the preliminary tests were limited to three merchants, the study’s focus on mobile-first customer experiences allowed Redstage to achieve a proof of concept for the next round of testing, one the agency launched the following month with nearly 20 participating merchants.

Results of the Second Testing Round   

The second round allowed us to cast a wider net, proving that the experiments still have varying results for different commerce websites. In order to understand the results, we need to take a quick look at the segment of users being tested.

Redstage Mobile Optimization Initiative | Magento Blog

As you can see in the above image, the blue section represents all site visitors including bounces and browse-abandons (those who never made it to the cart). The thick green section represents only the site visitors who made it to the shopping cart page. This was the segment used for testing. From here, we can see the crux of the mobile gap. Despite more than 23,000 visitors making it to the cart page, only 39% of this visitor segment completed checkout, with 61% abandoning during the final stage of the buying process. By breaking down these metrics further, the team tracked the success of each experiment through three main data points: Conversion Rate (CR), Average Order Value (AOV), and Revenue Per Visit (RPV).

Here are just two examples of the tests we conducted:

The Mobile Numeric Input Test

Redstage Mobile Optimization Initiative | Magento Blog

For this experiment, we assessed whether conversions would increase or decrease if the form fields for zip code and phone number automatically triggered the numeric keypad for mobile phone users when tapped. This would prevent an additional step for certain users who have to change their keyboard to numeric mode before they can type in numbers.

As a result of this experiment, one merchant experienced a 9% RPV lift and close to a 12% lift in their conversion rate (within the test group). However, the experiment also caused about a 2% drop in average order value. It seems that while this test encouraged more users to complete the checkout, it worked best for users with small order totals. However, not all tests showed the same results for all merchants…read on to see what we mean.

The Security Icon Placement Test

Redstage Mobile Optimization Initiative | Magento Blog

In another experiment conducted by Redstage, four merchants added a “Lock” icon to their checkout button, replacing the traditional “Cart” icon. While one merchant saw an RPV lift over 12% for mobile phone users, another saw RPV drop by more than 20% for users on the same device. For three merchants, this experiment negatively impacted CR and RPV for desktop users, but the fourth merchant experienced a 6% RPV lift and a 7% conversion rate lift for the desktop segment.

The most surprising results of this experiment came from tablet users. Of the four merchants in the security icon experiment, two of them saw conversion rate lifts over 80%! Additionally, the same two merchants both experienced RPV lifts north of 40%. One of the remaining merchants saw a slight lift for CR, RPV, and AOV for tablet users, and the other experienced significant drops. While every site is different and there are many factors at play, the need to test simple changes to your checkout is undeniable, as is a key trend emerging from these experiments…

Why the Results Matter

As you can see from these results, these tests suggest a significant need to create different customer experiences based on specific devices. At Restage, we call this trend “Mobile Divergence,” and it’s time for the industry to adapt. “On more than half the tests conducted by the Redstage team, we saw positive results for one type of device, but negative results for another. In order to maximize revenue from these results, it is necessary for the mobile experience to diverge from that of desktop users.” Sosinsky says.

With this in mind, it’s clear that merchants need more than just a responsive site design that looks good on any device. Companies need to start testing different experiences between devices to optimize the customer journey for those specific mobile eCommerce platforms. With this initiative, merchants can run these tests for free.

The Next Phase: Going Global

With the full support of the Magento Community, Redstage and nearly a dozen other agencies are working to bring the initiative to the global stage. With holiday’s just around the corner, now is the perfect time to get some experiments set up to capture more mobile sales.

Follow this link to discover how our results can give you a holiday sales boost! If you’d like to learn more about the initiative, view more test results, or sign up for some experiments of your own, visit MobileOptimized.org today!

About Redstage:

With 10 years of experience collaborating on more than 700 Magento sites, Redstage is an eCommerce powerhouse and the #2 market leader in Magento design and development (Clutch.co). We specialize in B2B & B2C eCommerce transformations from web development and customer experience design to integration, conversion optimization, strategy, and support. Redstage is a Magento Enterprise Partner. Learn more about our agency at Redstage.com, or find us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook!