What is mobile optimization, and why should you care?

Apr 10 2018 | PayPal editorial staff

Not that long ago it made sense for ecommerce businesses to focus on websites built with desktop machines in mind.
After all, that’s how their customers were accessing their stores. But that’s changed over the past few years. More recently, best practices have dictated an omni-channel development approach that takes both mobile and desktop into consideration, and today we’re seeing an even greater shift toward mobile. As mobile devices continue to grow in popularity, it’s more important than ever to ensure your business’s website is easy to use on phones and tablets. That’s where mobile optimization comes in.

The importance of optimizing.
Put simply, mobile optimization is just what it sounds like: optimizing your website so customers can easily browse, select, and buy your products from the device of their choice, and it isn’t just a nice thing to do for your customers. It’s also a smart business move. Sixty-eight percent of Americans own smartphones,1 and in 2015, mobile commerce sales rose 38.7% compared to the previous year.2

If that isn’t enough to convince you, perhaps this is: On April 21st, 2015, Google changed the way it ranks websites in searches from mobile devices. The change boiled down to one factor: how well your site is optimized for mobile viewers. If your site isn’t optimized, it could mean that you now rank lower in mobile searches. Google is interested in its users’ overall experience, and you should be too.

If your customers are happy with their mobile shopping experiences, then they’ll be more likely to come back again in the future.

How to optimize your site.
From a development standpoint, there are three ways to create a site that will work on mobile devices:

1. Responsive web design.
Probably the simplest approach, this method produces ONE website (that is, one URL, one set of HTML, etc.) that works no matter what device or size screen it’s viewed on. Responsive web design leverages things like fluid grid layouts for your pages, flexible images that resize, and media queries that trigger different CSS style rules. Done right, the end result is one site that will automatically flow and scale to adjust to the device it’s viewed on.

2. Dynamic serving.
This takes the above one step further by actually serving up TWO sets of code (essentially, two different websites) depending on the viewing device, for an even more targeted experience for mobile shoppers. Your domain name (URL) stays the same.

3. Mobile website.
Mobile sites use a completely different domain name (and HTML, etc.) for mobile shoppers. If you’ve ever seen a URL like “m.domain.com,” you’re on a mobile site. An app can easily be created to launch it.

Mobile design.
No matter which method is used, there are several “rules” to follow that will result in a better experience for mobile users. Mobile sites should:
  • Require less scrolling, data entry, taps/clicks, and zooming.
  • Feature easy-to-find “Add to cart” and “Checkout” buttons.
  • Support a wide range of devices – iPhones, Android phones, various tablets, etc.
  • Use buttons that are big enough to tap easily on a small touchscreen.
  • Keep image use to a minimum, because images increase the time it takes for a page to load.
  • Use a simple payment process that requires less data entry; fewer checkout steps can mean fewer abandoned carts.
  • Implement strong mobile security.
  • Offer universal sign-in between PCs and wireless devices to seamlessly integrate both shopping methods.
Finally, your site should ask for as little new information as possible from existing customers. They should be able to check out with just their username and password – don’t ask them to re-enter their credit card, shipping, and billing information. PayPal’s payment processing, for example, does exactly that: customers only need to log in to their PayPal accounts to complete a purchase with just a few taps. They even have the option to stay logged, so they can speed through checkout on subsequent visits. That’s just one way we keep mobile in mind.

Round out the mobile commerce experience with help from PayPal.
We get it: Mobile shoppers are vital to your business. That’s why our checkout products are mobile-optimized. All versions – Express Checkout, PayPal Payments Standard, and PayPal Payments Pro – will detect a shopper’s device and automatically optimize the payment experience for them. Because the solutions are optimized for mobile devices, your customers won’t waste time waiting for pages to load or entering their personal information on pint-sized screens. Using PayPal helps puts them on the fast track to getting what they came for.

In fact, a January 2015 study of 1,300 participants, done by SurveyMonkey, found that consumers are most likely to use PayPal as their mobile payment service. It also showed that PayPal has the highest mobile payment awareness and consideration in the industry.3

The takeaway: Offering PayPal on your mobile site is a must-have for capturing sales from on-the-go shoppers.

Because our functionally is already baked in, there are no additional fees or charges. Plus, our checkout products are easy for you to set up, and they deliver a seamless, secure payment experience for your customers – whether they choose to pay with PayPal or a credit card.

We understand the importance of making your checkout process intuitive for all customers, including those on mobile devices, and we have the offerings to help make it possible. Visit paypal.com/business for more information about our products, and check out the PayPal Demo Portal to see exactly what the payment experience looks like on a mobile device.

The contents of this site are provided for informational purposes only. You should always obtain independent, professional accounting, financial, and legal advice before making any business decision.

1 Pew Research Center, “Technology Device Ownership: 2015,” October 2015.
2 Internet Retailer, “Mobile commerce is now 30% of all U.S. e-commerce,” August 2015.
3 SurveyMonkey, “Brand Pulse: PayPal & the Mobile Wallet Industry,” January 2015.

Frequently asked questions.

PayPal Payments Standard is the easiest way to securely accept debit and credit cards, PayPal and PayPal Credit. It takes the hassle out of accepting payments online. You handle the sales. We handle everything from the checkout process to security and mobile compatibility. Plus:
  • No advanced programming is needed.
  • Your customers don’t need a PayPal account to pay you.
  • It’s optimized for customers on smartphones or tablets.
And unlike many full payment-processing solutions, PayPal Payments Standard has no application, setup or monthly fees, or long-term commitments. You start paying when you start selling.

What can I do with PayPal Payments Standard?

PayPal Payments Standard lets you accept credit and debit cards on your website or through an online marketplace such as eBay or Etsy. Buying is straightforward: We handle the checkout process and then send customers back to your site. Fees are a flat amount per transaction, so selling is just as simple. To see all discounts and fees, take a look at our fees page.

You can use PayPal Payments Standard to send invoices online too, so you can get paid sooner. For offline payments, you can add PayPal Here, a mobile payments solution, to your account to let you take payments on the go using your smartphone or tablet. (alternate rates apply).

With PayPal Payments Standard, you’re also eligible to apply for the free PayPal Business Debit MasterCard®.

As with all of our payment solutions, PayPal Payments Standard helps protect your business with our Automatic Fraud Screening, industry-leading data security and reliable customer service.

Get Started Now.
When you add a mobile phone number, you can also confirm your mobile phone. Here’s how: 
  1. Go to your ProfileIcon Settings.
  2. Click Update next to "Phone."
  3. Click Update next to your mobile number.
  4. Click confirm your number. We'll send you a text message with a confirmation code. Stay logged in and don’t exit from the window.
  5. Enter the confirmation code into the entry space provided on the screen to confirm your mobile.
  6. Click Validate.
If the confirmation of your mobile is successful, we will send you another text message to confirm that your mobile is now linked to your account.
You can log in with a PIN instead of using a user name and password. When you add your PIN and mobile number for the first time, you’ll get an SMS to confirm your mobile number. You can use your PIN to log in and use PayPal at large retailers.

Your PIN should be 4-8 digits long and something that no one can guess.

To add, change, or enable your PIN, go to Settings (the cog) and tap Login and Security.

You can change your security questions in your Settings or Profile (the cog) page  on our website.

Tip: Logging in with a mobile PIN is available only in certain countries. Please check the PayPal website.


What is the Message Center? 

PayPal has created a Message Center for its customers, like most financial institutions and eBay provide. The Message Center gives PayPal the ability to communicate with you within the framework of a new mailbox inside your PayPal account. It also provides you with a way to validate customer service emails that you may consider suspicious. This way, you can trust that the communications you receive are from us.

How does the Message Center work?

Emails from PayPal will be put into the Message Center. A notification will be sent to let you know that you have a message. The Message Center will be accessible online; mobile browser optimization and access via the mobile app will be included later.

Now, all PayPal customers can upload files in the Message Center when replying to a PayPal email. Customers can still upload documentation in the Resolution Center and in the name change flow, but going forward, you’ll have the option to attach files in the Message Center. This way, customers are able to upload documents when there’s no case involved.

Please note that emails in the Message Center are available for 90 days from the day they were sent. If you would like a copy of any messages prior to that timeframe, please click here for contact information.