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Tips to Optimize Shopify for Mobile Performance

Image showing two mobil phone figures representing STORIS and Shopify storefronts.

Why Should You Optimize Your Shopify Store for Mobile?

More than half of all Google searches and ecommerce traffic are on mobile devices, with 92.3% of internet users accessing the internet via a mobile phone. What does this mean to Shopify ecommerce businesses? You cannot skimp on mobile optimization!

Most of your customers use their mobile devices to shop on your online store. Therefore, optimizing your Shopify for mobile performance can help you tap into the market's largest segment, noting that a third of all ecommerce sales happen on mobile devices

In this blog post, we provide tips to optimize Shopify stores for mobile performance. We also explain why optimizing your Shopify store for mobile devices is crucial and suggest ways to measure your Shopify mobile optimization to help you tweak your strategy accordingly.

Taking a general approach to optimizing your Shopify store is a viable alternative. So, why should you have a special focus on the mobile platform for your Shopify ecommerce store anyway? 

Several reasons make mobile optimization for your Shopify store mandatory and extremely profitable.

Let’s take a look below. 

  • Google employs mobile-first indexing.

Google's mobile-first indexing system primarily uses the mobile version of your website's content to crawl, index, and rank your site in search results. This means the mobile experience of your website has become crucial for SEO.

If you want your site (and business) to be visible and easily discoverable to prospective customers, it must be SEO-friendly. But to achieve that, your Shopify site’s mobile version must perform its best. 

Only mobile-friendly Shopify stores now have a chance to rank favorably in search engine results pages (SERPS) where customers discover your business. 

  • The majority of online shoppers use mobile devices 

More than half of your Shopify customers use mobile devices for their online purchases. Optimizing this channel, therefore, means you’re reaching the majority of shoppers and improving the shopping experience of your largest market segment.

Ignoring mobile optimization means missing out on a huge potential customer base. 

  • Mobile optimization improves user experience. 

A seamless mobile experience leads to happier customers who are more likely to browse, add items to their cart, and complete purchases. Studies show conversion rates drop significantly with slow loading times or difficult navigation on mobile.

More specifically, 86% of buyers will be happy to pay more for a great customer experience, which is what mobile optimization helps you achieve. 

We've established that consumers increasingly rely on handheld mobile devices to browse the internet and shop online. They expect a seamless experience that only comes with a certain design and functionality uniquely tailored to the mobile platform.

But how do you achieve this optimization? Glad you asked. Read along to learn how to optimize Shopify website performance for the mobile shopper. 

  • Create a sticky navigation bar to make it more accessible

A fixed navigation on a mobile site can be an excellent way to kill two (or more) birds with one stone. It can improve the user experience and drive more conversions.

Sticky navigation remains in view, allowing the user to scroll all the way down without worrying about reversing the entire process to access the menu. It allows them to access it in one tap once they are done browsing the ecommerce page content. 

Keeping the menu in view also means the visitor will not scroll past important content without noticing it.

You can choose what critical information you want getting screentime by freezing it in view. Some of the crucial elements to keep in this navigation menu include a checkout link, a homepage link, and a CTA (call-to-action) button. 

For instance, having the ‘Add to Cart’ button remain in the navigation bar until the user scrolls to the subsequent section can be a great way to encourage sales. You can also achieve the same results by highlighting special offers or current promotions in the sticky bar.   

  • Highlight product images on mobile screens. 

Today’s online shoppers largely make their purchasing decisions based on the product’s visual appearance. In fact, product photography influences the purchasing decisions of up to 75% of online shoppers.

What does this mean to a Shopify merchant? Design your site’s mobile version with the user’s visual experience in mind. Place the product photos front and center of every mobile ecommerce page where they get the user's attention firsthand. 

A great example of this strategy can be seen on Outdoor Voices’ mobile website. This athletic apparel company has built its entire mobile site around the products’ visual appeal. This does an excellent job of facilitating browsing and eventually encouraging purchases. 

There is a caveat: the product images must pop. The photos should also be consistent in their presentation and how they are shot. Most importantly, ensure you optimize them, ensure they don't weigh down your site, and make them responsive to render well on mobile. 

Even better, consider capturing the product in use to let the customers see themselves using it. 

  • Test and optimize mobile page speed.

Customers are generally less patient when using their mobile devices. They expect every page they request to render seamlessly, so any slow-loading pages can kill the experience and your chances of closing a sale.

Use Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool to assess your Shopify site's mobile responsiveness and get feedback on its mobile usability. In addition to identifying issues with your site’s mobile optimization, the tool will also provide suggestions for improvement.

This should go a long way in helping you optimize your online business for mobile prospects. 

Spoiler alert: Google's tool is not the only one you can use to test your mobile optimization; Shopify has a built-in tool that you can also use. Later in this guide, we will give you a list of all the tools you can use to measure your site's mobile optimization.

Meanwhile, some of the things you can do to optimize Shopify store for mobile site speed include the following: 

  • Compressing and resizing your images

  • Hosting videos externally

  • Using a fast Shopify theme

  • Avoid pop-ups and layout shifts on mobile. 

Pop-ups may be a powerful way of pushing your intended message to the fore. However, they can be downright insufferable on mobile devices with smaller displays where they take up valuable screen space and interrupt the user's browsing experience.

When this browsing experience is part of the user’s journey to a sale, and you interrupt it, you might just break the journey and lose the customer. 

The last thing you want is to frustrate a customer who is about to close a sale. They can abandon your store altogether. You don’t want that. 

The same rule applies to layout shifts, which you must fix to ensure a seamless experience for your shoppers. 

When elements on your page unexpectedly shift positions while loading, it disrupts the user's focus and makes it difficult to interact with content. This can lead to accidental clicks, missed information, and overall frustration.

To mitigate this issue, do the following: 

  • Predefine dimensions for images and other elements.

  • Use lazy loading for images below the fold.

  • Minimize the use of dynamic content that can cause shifts.

  • Test your store's layout shifts on various mobile devices and browsers.

  • Minimize the use of text on your product pages.

Mobile screens are significantly smaller than desktops, so space is precious. Extensive text can overwhelm users and make it difficult to find key information quickly. Therefore, it’s crucial to design the user interface with this limited screen real estate in mind. 

Since you have limited space to communicate your product’s unique selling points, keep the use of text to a minimum. Instead, focus on key information like product features, benefits, specifications, and price, leaving out any nonessential details.

Doing so will allow you to help users make informed decisions without overloading them with unnecessary information.

We recommend swapping text with visual storytelling for an even more compelling effect. High-quality images, videos, and infographics can convey information more effectively than text on mobile, especially for complex products or technical details.

Of course, always include a bold call-to-action button that compels the shopper to complete the process. 

Reducing text goes a long way in improving the user’s shopping or window-shopping experience while letting you focus their attention on the page’s most important element.

  • Use a sticky “Add to Cart” button to influence action

We have pointed out the importance of a prominent call-to-action when considering how to optimize Shopify for mobile users, and we couldn’t emphasize it enough. 

Because mobile devices have a limited display environment, a design that emphasizes the most important element is crucial. 

What is the most important objective for an ecommerce website? To close sales. Therefore, a call-to-action prompt is the most important element that you must display prominently on the screen. 

Using a sticky CTA button allows it to remain in view throughout as the user browses your inventory. This way, you are constantly encouraging the user to take the desired action. While the tactic may seem small, it has a psychological undertone that makes it extremely effective in driving action. 

The user doesn’t need to remember product details while navigating the page, which leads to a faster and more convenient checkout process. Once they want to exit the site, they can easily hop onto the Add-to-Cart button and leave. 

The sticky CTA button also reduces cognitive load. It eliminates the need to search for it, making the buying decision smoother and less mentally taxing for users, especially on smaller mobile screens.

Now that we know how to optimize Shopify store for mobile performance, how do we assess the results? Implementing these tips will help you achieve optimized mobile performance, but continuous improvement is essential. This is where testing the performance comes in.

Here are the main technical checks you can run to assess how your Shopify mobile site is performing. 

  • Google Mobile-Friendly Test: This official tool by Google quickly checks if your website is mobile-friendly and highlights any potential issues. 

  • PageSpeed Insights: Google’s PageSpeed Insights is a tool that analyzes your website's performance on mobile and desktop, offering detailed insights into loading speed, optimization suggestions, and potential performance bottlenecks.

  • Pingdom Website Speed Test: This tool analyzes your website's loading speed and performance on mobile devices and offers actionable insights for improvement.  

  • Lighthouse (Chrome DevTools): This is a built-in tool within the Chrome browser that offers detailed audits of your website's performance, accessibility, and SEO, including mobile-specific metrics. The tool offers various mobile testing features like responsive mode, network throttling, and device emulation.

  • GTmetrix: Here is another tool that provides detailed performance reports on your mobile site, including page load times, recommendations for optimization, and waterfall charts to identify bottlenecks.  

  • Shopify Analyzer: You can analyze and monitor various aspects of your Shopify store without the help of a third-party tool. The built-in feature includes mobile responsiveness and speed directly within the Shopify platform.

  • Shopify Mobile App: Alternatively, you can download the Shopify mobile app and browse your store as a customer would. This allows you to experience your site firsthand and identify any usability issues.

Recap of the Tips to Optimize Shopify for Mobile Performance

In this blog post, we have learned that you should optimize your Shopify store for mobile performance to improve the user experience, tap into the largest segment of your market, and rank higher in SERPs.

Here is how to optimize Shopify for mobile:

  • Use a sticky “Add to Cart” button to influence action

  • Minimize the use of text on your product pages

  • Avoid pop-ups and layout shifts on mobile 

  • Test and optimize mobile page speed

  • Highlight product images on mobile screens 

  • Create a sticky navigation bar to make it more accessible

Next, we will provide some useful tips and tricks for customizing Magento APIs for headless integration.

Want help optimizing your Shopify store for mobile performance? Contact us at Endertech today to discuss your options for free.