5 Best Practices for E-commerce Tablet and Mobile Site Design

We know the basics of what’s needed for a functional experience on the second screen. But what about an experience that can actually offer something more than the desktop experience? We evaluated the retail space to determine which retailers were truly innovating on mobile and tablet, no app download required.

Think search, then filter

Retailers have just a short window of time to seal or at least start sealing the deal on mobile. Hence the importance of search that is prominent, easily available throughout the experience, and intuitive enough to help the less dextrous of us find the accurate spelling or terms. If search works great, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be a universal starting point, and some retailers are doing just that by removing extraneous content and collapsing or removing category navigation altogether on the mobile homepage. It’s then up to the user whether or not categories come into play to filter the results.

While tablet’s not as constrained by screen size or time, this approach is still worth considering, especially because category dropdowns often pose hover state and selection issues. Amazon and Target alter their homepage just slightly to facilitate the behavior of starting with search and narrowing by category next. Amazon collapses category navigation on tablet that’s vertically expanded by default on desktop. Target moves category navigation to a collapsed vertical dropdown on tablet.

There’s a ton of things you can do on mobile, but stick with what makes sense for your brand

A small screen + short attention span + on-the-go environment necessitates a streamlined experience. What that experience is should be unique, compelling, and simple enough to grasp in one glance at the homepage.

Here are four retailers that offer completely different yet equally compelling reasons to use and return to their mobile sites.

Target is particularly innovative in connecting mobile to in-store, leveraging geolocation for in-store availability and offering daily online deals, weekly regional specials, and mobile coupons that work smoothly across channels. Their latest couponing application, Cartwheel, connects shoppers to a set number of specials they can select and scan at checkout.