How to optimize BigCommerce for mobile

As an eCommerce store owner, you know how important it is to rank among the top results on Google. You certainly don't need us to tell you that search engine optimization is the key to ranking high.

One of the most important aspects of optimization is making your online store mobile-friendly. After all, mobile is undeniably the primary purchasing medium for most online shoppers and accounts for a significant chunk of eCommerce traffic.

With that in mind, we’ve put together the top BigCommerce mobile optimization hacks to convert mobile visitors into paying customers.

The Importance of Mobile Optimization in E-Commerce

Multiple studies indicate that over 50% of website traffic is sourced from smartphones and other mobile devices. If you drill down further into usage statistics, you’ll quickly realize that making your online store mobile-friendly is one of (if not) the most important aspects of optimizing your eCommerce website.

Here’s why:

1. More Than 6.7 Billion People Worldwide Use Smartphones

The number of people who use smartphones worldwide has risen exponentially year after year. According to Statista, there are currently 6.7 billion smartphone users globally, up 1.8 billion from 2018.

If this trend is anything to go by, it proves that optimizing your online store for mobile devices isn’t just a suggestion; it is necessary to increase your revenue and take your eCommerce business to the next level.

2. The Average Person Spends More Time on Their Mobile Phone Than Watching Television

Remember the good old days when families would gather around the television every night to catch their favorite shows? Remember when TV ads were the only way brands could get their products in front of consumers? Those days are long gone.

Don’t get us wrong. TV ads are still relevant, depending on the demographic you’re targeting. However, the ROI is much lower compared to other forms of targeted marketing, most of which focus on mobile users.

Recent studies indicate that the average adult spends roughly four and a half hours daily on their mobile phone. This figure is much higher than the three hours spent in front of the television. This trend isn’t likely to change any time soon. If anything, the amount of time users spend on their smartphones instead of watching TV will probably increase.

As an online store owner, you must use this trend to your advantage by making your eCommerce website mobile-friendly.

3. Consumers Use Their Mobile Phones as Their Primary Tool for Product Research

When you think of “product research,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Graphs? Charts? Reports? While these are all ways to visualize research, from a consumer standpoint, product research isn’t nearly as complex.

Mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and iPads have made it significantly easier for consumers to look up products they’re interested in. They can conveniently compare various brands as far as quality and price are concerned and even read reviews to find out what previous customers had to say about their experience using the products in question.

Studies show that 60% of consumers use their smartphones to read product reviews when vetting a product or service they intend to purchase. That statistic alone highlights why online store owners should make it their mission to optimize their eCommerce websites for mobile devices. It makes it easier for prospective customers to browse their products when torn between brands.

See also: A Guide to Automating Your Migration to BigCommerce.

4. The Number of Consumers Using Their Smartphones to Make Purchases Online Is on the Rise

Consumers aren’t just using smartphones to research products they’re interested in; they’re also using them to purchase them directly. 79% of smartphone users use mobile devices to buy products through websites or shopping apps.


Suppose your online store specializes in hiking apparel, and a prospective customer is searching for the best boots to buy for an upcoming hike. They’ll likely whip out their phone, open their browser, and Google best hiking boots for men, women, kids, winter, summer, or any other relevant keyword that defines what they’re looking for.

If your store is optimized for SEO, it will likely feature among the top search results. The customer will click on 3-5 of these sites and compare the boots on offer before deciding which ones to buy.

If, upon clicking your website link, the customer finds that the pages aren't loading correctly or the display appears distorted on their phone browser, more often than not, they'll exit your site, return to the Google results page, and click the next link on the list.

How often this scenario plays out in real life would surprise you. Many online stores lose out on potential sales simply by failing to make their eCommerce websites mobile-friendly.

5. Google Likes Mobile-Friendly Sites

It’s no secret that Google rewards mobile-friendly websites by ranking them higher on SERPs. Mobile-friendliness has been a ranking factor for the search engine giant since 2015. That’s not set to change.

Think about it.

Mobile users make up more than half of all website traffic. If your eCommerce site isn’t optimized for mobile, most consumers will exit your store within a few seconds and click on the next link on the SERP. After a while, Google interprets your site’s high bounce rate as not having content that users deem relevant. As a result, your website’s rank drops to the point it no longer features among the top search results.

On the flip side, if prospective customers visit your site and stick around for a while, Google takes this behavior to mean that your site has content users love. As a result, your website moves up the ranks.

Benefits of Mobile-Optimized BigCommerce Stores

So far, we’ve explored why optimizing your eCommerce website for mobile is critical to the growth of your business. Let’s now dive into the top advantages of making your online store mobile-friendly.

1. Improved Overall User Experience

eCommerce websites that take ages to load or those with missing features are a massive turn-off for users. Unfortunately, it is an issue many mobile shoppers grapple with when visiting online stores that aren’t optimized for their mobile devices.

By making your store mobile-friendly, customers browsing products on your website can enjoy the shopping experience. It makes it more likely for them to spend more time viewing products, and drop some big bucks while at it.

A great user experience equals happy customers. Happy customers equal more sales and revenue for your business. It’s a win-win.

2. Enhanced Business Credibility

A website might look great when viewed on a desktop browser. However, there's something inherently unappealing about viewing the same site on a smartphone when it is not optimized for mobile devices. It almost feels like you've entered a time machine and viewed a website designed over a decade ago.

That aside, consumers don't generally trust poor-quality websites, which is what mobile-unfriendly sites are. A poorly designed website that doesn’t load properly on a mobile browser subconsciously signals to prospective customers that your business isn’t credible. To them, if you couldn’t invest the resources required to build a decent-looking website, there’s something sketchy about the operation you’re running.

We're not saying that this is the case for your business. You could be running a legit online store. We're saying that's the message you’re communicating to prospective customers.

Your brand perception needs to meet customer expectations whether they’re visiting your online store from their desktop PC, Mac computer, iPad, iPhone, tablet, or Android device. The user experience should be the same across the board. A mobile-friendly store creates a solid first impression, critical to building consumer trust.

3. Increased Search Engine Visibility

As mentioned earlier, Google likes mobile-friendly websites. It is among the top factors the search engine giant uses when ranking sites on its SERPs. It’s pointless to create a fantastic desktop website only to neglect the mobile-viewing aspect of its design. It's terrible for SEO and will inevitably result in your store not featuring among the top results on search engines.

The search engine gods will only favor you if you build your eCommerce website to cater to mobile and desktop visitors. The result? Increased visibility on Google and more traffic to your online store.

See also: BigCommerce SEO Guide – Everything You Need to Know

How to Optimize Your BigCommerce Store for Mobile – 10 Tried & Tested Tips

The benefits of mobile optimization are undeniable and result in more traffic and conversions for your online store.

We’ve compiled 10 tried and tested methods of making your BigCommerce store mobile-friendly.


1. Create a Personalized Shipping Experience

Yes, you read right – a personalized “shipping” experience. Mobile shoppers often seek out local businesses first when making online purchases. If the specific product they're looking for isn't available locally, they'll consider out-of-town alternatives, but only if the logistics involved make sense.

For this reason, you must provide prospective customers with product information relevant to their location. Request permission to use their mobile GPS and track their geographic position. Use browser cookies to analyze their preferences. You can then use that information to create a personalized offer for the products they want to purchase from your store.

With this information, you can display the relevant shipping information based on their location, including showing them how long delivery will take.

2. Improve Your Website’s Loading Speed

We live in a world of instant gratification. It’s all about getting what we want in the shortest time possible. The eCommerce realm is no different. A customer who sees an item they like expects a fast and seamless shopping experience from the moment they click on the product and add it to their cart to the moment they finally receive it.

Slow-loading websites are one of customers' biggest pet peeves. How slow is “slow?” – You might ask.

According to Google, 53 % of visitors will exit a website if it takes as little as three seconds or more to load. The slower the site loading speed, the higher the bounce rate. People no longer have the time or patience to wait for online pages to load. It’s not 2003.

A major part of BigCommerce mobile optimization involves keeping an eye on your website's performance and doing whatever you can to minimize the time it takes for pages to load. One of the biggest contributors to loading pages is large images. Contrary to what you might believe, you don’t need overly large product images for customers to get an accurate visual of the item you're selling.

Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when uploading product images to your eCommerce site to prevent your store pages from lagging or freezing up entirely:

  • Keep the width of your images 1000 pixels or less;
  • Each image should have a 72 dpi rating or thereabouts (dpi is short for dots per inch);
  • Use JPG instead of PNG image files since JPGs are significantly smaller than their PNG counterparts.

3. Implement Mobile SEO

Search engine optimization is the cumulative techniques and strategies employed to help websites rank on Google and other search engines. Mobile SEO refers to the specific strategies and best practices used to help the mobile versions of websites appear among the top results on SERPs.

It is worth noting that while traditional SEO strategies are still relevant to a site’s position on Google, some practices are specifically tailored to help mobile websites rank. Google proposes three distinct ways of implementing a mobile website:

  1. Through dynamic serving
  2. Via separate URLs
  3. Using a responsive design

Google relies on structured data markup to analyze the content in a website and learn more about it. Implementing structured data in your eCommerce website can help improve your store’s aesthetic on SERPs, increasing your site’s click-through rate (CTR).

Some of the markup options you can use to enhance your site’s mobile SEO include:

Always use the Structured Data Testing Tool from Google to confirm that you’ve implemented the markups correctly.

4. Focus on Proper CTA Placement

Every aspect of your BigCommerce store should be focused on answering the question, “What action do I want website visitors to take at this point?”

This isn’t necessarily difficult to do on a desktop computer since there’s enough room to point customers in any direction you want. However, when it comes to mobile devices, it’s not as easy.

The one thing you must keep in mind at all times is keeping your Call To Action (CTA) above the fold. The fold is the webpage section displayed before users scroll down to see more content.

In other words, when you click on a link to a website and the page loads, the content that appears immediately before taking any further action on the page is considered “above the fold.” Content that appears once you scroll further down the page is “below the fold.”

With that in mind, as a rule, when optimizing your BigCommerce store for mobile, always place the Add-to-Cart button above the fold. You also want to put the shopping cart icon at the top right-hand corner of the site. Alternatively, consider integrating a pop-up window that allows customers to check out any time they like.

The idea behind placing key buttons above the fold is to make it easy and convenient for users to go through the checkout process without first going on a treasure hunt to locate where basic buttons are.

5. Streamline the Checkout Experience

Speaking of checkout, one of the most critical aspects of BigCommerce mobile optimization is making sure customers can check out in the fastest and most convenient way possible. You would be surprised at how quickly users abandon their shopping carts once they encounter hoops they must jump through just to complete their purchases.

Here’s what we mean.

Suppose a customer is browsing your online store and picks out a couple of items they're interested in. They proceed to add these items to their cart. Once they’re through shopping, they click “check out” to complete their transaction. However, when the checkout page loads, they're immediately confronted with a pop-up requiring them to set up an account before continuing with what they initially set out to do – check out.

Worse still, the account creation process requires them to provide so much information outright that it would take them at least three minutes to complete. While three minutes might not seem like a lot in the grand scheme of things, it's an eternity in online shopping. It's enough time for the user to be put off by the entire process and abandon their cart.

A whopping 23% of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts if they're required to create an account before they can check out.

A better approach would be to make the account creation step optional. Rather than compelling users to set up an account first, give them the option to create an account and then check out or proceed with the checkout process as a guest. You can even incentivize them to register an account by giving them a sign-up offer they just can’t resist.

6. Use a Responsive Theme

First impressions matter. It’s the difference between a customer sticking around and browsing your store and clicking away from your website because of how off-putting its appearance is.

As we mentioned earlier, just because your eCommerce website looks great on desktop browsers doesn't automatically mean it’ll look great on mobile devices. Always use a responsive theme for your BigCommerce store so your website can load and display properly on mobile devices.

A responsive theme automatically adapts to any device a prospective customer uses to view your website. Think smartphones, tablets, iPads, laptops, PCs – you name it. It compresses the main storefront elements, including the homepage carousel, category listings, etc. That way, pages load quickly to deliver an optimum mobile browsing experience for users. BigCommerce’s range of Stencil Themes is worth checking out as far as responsive themes go.

See also: The Ultimate Guide to eCommerce Migration

7. Avoid Using Adobe Flash for Animations

While Adobe Flash is usually the go-to for website animations, mobile devices don't support it. A better option would be to use HTML5 instead.

It not only allows you to create animations that can load on mobile browsers; you can also use it to embed music and videos if you’re looking for creative ways to zhuzh up your eCommerce store. You also don’t have to worry about certain elements on your website not loading correctly, which would otherwise create a poor user experience for prospective mobile customers.

That is not to say that users can’t install a browser plugin that allows them to view your content. They absolutely can. The question is: How invested are they to go through the trouble?

Your guess is as good as ours.

8. Steer Clear of Pop-Ups

Pop-ups look great on desktops. We can all agree on that. They add a dramatic effect to a website, capturing the user’s attention and prompting them to take a specific action. They have proven effective in getting site visitors to respond to CTAs embedded in the window.

However, pop-ups don’t look as good on smaller screens. They are hard to view on smartphones and can make it hard for prospective customers to close them, especially if the “X” button isn’t visible.

There’s also the fact that many users find pop-ups on their mobile devices somewhat of a nuisance when all they want to do is view your store content. It’s safer to just steer clear of them entirely.

9. Optimize Button Placement and Size

Button placement and size are both critical aspects of BigCommerce mobile optimization. Users have a certain expectation when it comes to finding specific elements on a mobile webpage.

For instance, they typically expect the navigation menu to be on the top-left corner of the screen. They expect to see the shopping cart basket in the top-right corner. They also expect to find the search bar at the top of the screen, usually toward the right. If they don't find these buttons in these places, it creates a poor user experience and might result in the loss of potential sales.

Button size is also a key consideration as far as optimizing your eCommerce store for mobile goes. Buttons should be large enough for users to tap on with their thumb or index finger without accidentally selecting other links or elements on the webpage.

It is worth noting that since users will typically be using their thumbs when scrolling down your website, clickable buttons should always be located toward the bottom center of the page. This position makes it convenient for customers to browse your store while holding their phone in one hand.

10. Stick to a Minimalist Web Design

Less is more when it comes to mobile websites. The less cluttered your web design is, the more sleek and appealing it will be to mobile users. You don't want to overwhelm visitors with too many CTAs on a single page. It is confusing for users and makes navigation hard on the smaller screens.

As a rule, only include the important functions that a user would actively be looking for, such as the Contact Us form. Get rid of outdated content, taking up unnecessary space. While at it, use more white space to make your content pop. It keeps things looking clean and organized.

Additionally, avoid incorporating long lists of features and options in the menus. Use a hamburger menu to save on space, and only include the necessary functions that mobile users would be interested in.


Final Thoughts 

There you have it – 10 foolproof ways to optimize BigCommerce for mobile.

It is worth noting that mobile optimization is a continuous process. Make a point of testing your eCommerce website periodically on different devices just to see whether the various aspects of your online store are functioning properly and displaying correctly. This is especially important after an update. Test it on iOS and Android devices, and leverage Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see how it scores.

Are you thinking about switching your online store from your current eCommerce provider to BigCommerce? Cart2Cart can help you do just that. With a few simple clicks, our automated shopping cart migration tool will move your eCommerce store to a new platform with no downtime or data loss.

Want to see what hassle-free migration looks like? Sign up for a free demo today to see Cart2Cart in action.


Is BigCommerce mobile-friendly?

BigCommerce’s core architecture supports accelerated mobile pages (AMP), allowing merchants to provide almost instant page loading times for their mobile customers. The platform offers dozens of responsive themes that adapt to various mobile devices and their associated operating systems.

How do I optimize my BigCommerce website?

Some immediate steps you can take to optimize your BigCommerce store for mobile include:

  • Improving your website’s loading speed;
  • Implementing mobile SEO;
  • Focusing on proper CTA placement;
  • Streamlining your store’s checkout process;
  • Using responsive themes.

How can I speed up my BigCommerce website?

The biggest culprits for slow-loading pages on websites are large images. To speed up your BigCommerce website, consider:

  • Keeping the width of your images 1000 pixels or less;
  • Checking to see that each image has a 72 dpi rating;
  • Using JPG instead of PNG image files since they are significantly smaller.

How do I convert my BigCommerce website to make it mobile-friendly?

To optimize your BigCommerce store for mobile, you can:

  • Create a personalized shipping (not shopping) experience;
  • Use HTML5 for animations as opposed to Adobe Flash;
  • Focus on proper button placement and size;
  • Adopt a minimalist web design;
  • Steer clear of pop-ups on your mobile site.