Imagine you’re the owner of a large retail store and seemingly overnight the world decides it wants to minimize… everything.

So you fall in line and open up a smaller shop next to your big one. But no matter what you do your little shop never sells as well as your big one.

While the world hasn’t undergone such a crazy kind of transformation overnight, for many business owners and webmasters, this scenario seems a little too real with the increasing use of mobile devices.

In reality, the way people use mobile devices and desktop differ drastically, especially regarding how they convert.

Distribution of digital commerce spending in selected product categories in the United States as of 3rd quarter 2017, by platform:


All in all, the mobile conversion rate is just about 1% compared to desktop’s almost 3%.

Thus, desktop devices outperform mobile devices in virtually every e-commerce category. We tend to use mobile as more of a research tool and the reason why mobile conversion rates aren’t as high as desktop can be for a variety of reasons.

Biggest Mobile Conversion Blockers for Users

User Intent in Mobile vs. Desktop Searches

Users on mobile devices perform searches differently and thus have different intent. Google stipulates that 95% of searches with the words “near me” come from mobile devices. These kinds of searches, whether they’re “close by”, “around me”, or “nearby”, mean that people are looking for a solution to their queries in their area which can result in their purchases being made in-store instead of on their mobile device.

Additionally, 90% of in-store shoppers consult their mobile devices while shopping. This is because they’re either comparing product prices, acquiring additional product information, or sifting through product reviews.

So while users may be converting less on mobile devices, they still use their mobile devices in a majority of cases as a research tool to complete their purchases whether it’s in-store or later at home from their desktop devices.

Distractions: Real-world and On-Screen

In the age of multitasking, smartphones are at the pinnacle of distractions. Our concentration can break at any moment; whether it’s something happening in the real world or a push notification coming from Instagram that pulls us off the page and into another app entirely.

Essentially, it comes down to time. How much time does a user have to peruse through a mobile site before they run into a walking and talking real-life distraction? Much less than the average desktop user, who usually has the benefit of a quiet space in the office or at home to make their decisions.

But distractions don’t just mean off-page distractions. Having too much clutter on your mobile website in the form of lengthy copy and headlines or a multitude of images that take away from the CTA can cause a decrease in mobile conversions.

Reduce the informational dump on users on your mobile sites and they’ll be less likely to become distracted. Give them what’s necessary and nothing more.

Real and Perceived Friction

Perceived friction happens when users get to your mobile pages and become discouraged because the buttons seem too small to click, the images are too small to see, the headlines are unclear, or there are too many form fields that look like they’ll require an FBI background check to complete.

Basically, anything that, in the user’s mind, will be too time-consuming and strenuous to complete can be considered perceived friction.

Real friction is when the interface literally makes it too difficult to complete certain tasks. Your buttons are too close, and users click on the wrong link, they have to pinch and zoom in on certain items to read, or page loading times are extremely slow.

Increasing Your Mobile Conversion Rate

Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design (RWD) means that your website’s pages are adjusted according to screen size. Thus the same version of your site is displayed to users on desktop or mobile devices. This allows you to have your website on one URL, which is beneficial for SEO purposes as all of your link building efforts remain intact.

However, it also means that you’re not providing users with a unique mobile experience, which leaves them with the same on-page elements as your desktop users. Ultimately, what converts with desktop doesn’t always carry the same implications for mobile.


Adaptive Web Design

Adaptive Web Design (AWD) means that you essentially create different HTML versions of a webpage that are displayed to users based on their devices. This allows you to offer a unique mobile experience to users and you can optimize each page this way for conversions based on user behaviors on each device.


Notice the slight different within each larger screen and the somewhat drastic difference between the tablet and smartphone versions.

The mobile version is clearly optimized for mobile conversions as it is less cluttered, uses larger buttons, and allows for scrolling in a vertical manner.

Separate URLs

Another more conversion-friendly way to build your mobile website is by using separate URLs. Separate URLs allow you to have a version of your website just for desktop users, such as and a mobile website that looks like respectively.


Like dynamic serving, you can optimize separate content within each page for mobile or desktop users. With this method, the server will detect what device the user is on and redirect them to the appropriate page.

Separate URLs can be great for increasing mobile conversion rates as you can streamline a user’s experience based on a device; however, the cost and time to maintain it is much more difficult.

On-Page Factors That Affect Mobile Conversion Rates

Optimize Your Product Descriptions and Images Together

While it’s completely true you have to be economical with space on mobile websites, it’s possible to do it in a visually pleasing manner without losing the integrity of your image resolution and downgrading your copy to a few ineffectual words.


Here you have a clear, high-resolution image along with an effective product description in an easily readable font. The “customized item” link is between two non-tappable elements so the risk of a user accidentally tapping the wrong link is minimized. They also use white space effectively to showcase the image and feature a coupon at the bottom for users to get.

With this kind of display, mobile users have all the information within a small space and can easily convert with just a few clicks.

Maximize Mobile-Only Features

Mobile only features are elements or attributes that can only be performed on mobile devices. Use these whenever possible to create a more fluid user experience and increase your mobile conversion rate.

  • Tap-and-hold
  • Click-to-Call
  • Mobile payment (Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Paypal)
  • In-store push notifications
  • Optimized forms

Monitoring Mobile Conversion Blockers on Your Website

Use a conversion analytics tool to view how mobile users interact with your website. Specifically, mobile heatmaps can show you any conversion blockers that may be discouraging users from becoming conversions.

You can also use Google Analytics to track the demographics of users coming to your mobile website to see if you have any differences among conversion rates with certain groups of users.


While desktop still owns the online conversion marketplace, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t optimize your mobile website to be as seamless and pain-free as possible for mobile users. Increasing your mobile conversion rate doesn’t have to be fool’s gold. It can be a very profitable outlet for your business.

Mobile Conversion: 3 Reasons Why Users Don’t Convert and How to Fix it

PS. 58% of GrowRevenue visitors are on desktop. The rest is mobile/tablet. That’s around average desktop/mobile ratio for different industries.