Optimizing Your Holiday Mobile Experience, From Subject Line to Checkout

Austin Caldwell, Product Marketing Director | Katelyn Merendino, Marketing Specialist

August 13, 2020

It’s no secret that mobile is the present and future of ecommerce. Consumers are increasingly comfortable making purchases on mobile devices as the rise of mobile wallet services like Apple Pay and larger screen sizes have created a user-friendly experience and feature-rich retail apps

“If you count tablet traffic too, mobile typically accounts for 60% of traffic and 40% of revenue for the holiday season,” says Austin Caldwell, Senior Product Marketing Manager at Oracle NetSuite. “What that means is, if you’re in paid search or email marketing and you’re not mobile-optimized, then you’re not optimized by any means.”

In today’s ecommerce environment, being truly mobile-optimized means providing a consistent experience from initial touchpoint to checkout, no matter what device your customers are using. What’s more, the specter of COVID-19 is likely to keep shoppers home and turning to ecommerce for their holiday gifts more than ever.  Here’s a step-by-step guide to getting your website and marketing emails mobile-ready this holiday season.


Create concise, compelling subject lines and preheader text

 No matter how enticing your holiday sales, your emails won’t drive revenue unless they get opened—and 47% of recipients use subject lines to determine whether to do so.(opens in new tab)

 A typical desktop inbox displays about 60 characters of an email’s subject line, while mobile devices only show 25–30 characters. Shortening your subject lines will ensure they don’t get cut off, increasing the likelihood that recipients open your messages.

 Preheader text—the summary that follows the subject line when viewing a message from the inbox—is a valuable opportunity to provide more context to your subject line. Depending on the email client, mobile devices display 40–50 characters of preheader text on average, so keeping yours to this length maximizes its impact.  


Build responsive email templates for mobile-first

During the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, your customers are even more likely to check their emails on-the-go. To ensure your templates render consistently across devices, start simply with a one-column mobile layout and work your way up to a more complex two- or four-column desktop layout.

Additionally, custom fonts don’t always render properly on mobile, so doublecheck them and have a fallback. Arial, Helvetica and Times New Roman are safe options that display on every device, email client and web browser.


Have images play a supporting role to descriptive text

In the season of gift guides, magical winter scenery and quotable holiday movies, it’s tempting to pack your emails with graphics and GIFs.

However, image-heavy messages often load slowly—especially on mobile devices connected to spotty Wi-Fi. To lessen the likelihood of your customers hitting “delete,” follow the 80/20 rule when designing emails: 80% text, 20% images.

While 80% text may sound like a lot, it’s the formatting that counts. Keep your copy concise and easily scannable. Think punchy headers, bulleted lists and short chunks of text instead of long paragraphs.


Add clickable, eye-catching CTA buttons

You only have a few seconds to capture busy holiday shoppers’ attention with your emails, so your call to action (CTA) button should be front, center and near the top of your message with brief, direct copy explaining exactly what will happen when they click.

Of course, your CTAs must also be easily clickable. Tapping a button on a mobile device provides much less precision than clicking with a mouse on a desktop, especially since 75% of mobile users touch their screen with only one thumb.(opens in new tab)

To prevent subscribers from getting frustrated by accidentally clicking the wrong link, make your buttons at least 44 x 44 pixels with plenty of whitespace around them.


Design a browsing experience for mobile

Once subscribers successfully click through to your website, finding the perfect gift can be overwhelming on a small screen.

To make the process easier, opt for simple, large fonts, a prominent search bar and a collapsible top navigation menu with a limited number of product sub-categories.

 Similarly, while pop-ups can be an effective way to offer incentives and gain subscribers on a desktop, they’re often disruptive on mobile devices. In 2017, Google announced that it would be penalizing “intrusive interstitials”(opens in new tab)—pages where content isn’t easily accessible to a user on the transition from a Google mobile search result.

 Instead of using pop-ups that obstruct the entire screen, incorporate that content into smaller bars or banners at the bottom of the page.


Simplify and streamline the checkout process

2019 Baymard Institute survey(opens in new tab) found that “a too long/complicated checkout process” and “the site wanted me to create an account” are two of the top reasons for abandonment when making an online purchase.

On mobile devices (where the average cart abandonment rate is already 12% higher than on desktop(opens in new tab)), a smooth checkout process is critical to getting holiday shoppers to convert.

How do you make it easy for mobile users to checkout?

  • Provide clear, visible access to the shopping cart from each page on your site and allow customers to easily add or remove items.
  • Offer the ability to checkout as a guest and place it prominently above the options to sign in or create an account.
  • Make the checkout process as quick as possible—break it up into multiple pages with a progress indicator at the top, minimize the total number of form fields, and present the right keyboard for each field (i.e., the numeric pad for credit card numbers or zip codes).


Get your ecommerce experience mobile-ready

With more holiday shoppers opting to scroll through their phones by the fireplace over standing in long lines at the store, providing a mobile-friendly experience throughout the customer journey is key to hitting your holiday goals.    

For more information, download the 4 Keys to a Successful Holiday A Holiday Shopping Season(opens in new tab).  




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