What is mobile optimization, and why should you care?
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.
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.
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.
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.
What is the Message Center?
PayPal has created a Message Center, so we can communicate with our customers within the framework of a new mailbox inside your PayPal account. Through the Message Center, you're also able to validate customer service emails that you may consider suspicious. This way, you can trust that the communications you're receiving 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 is accessible online; mobile browser optimization, and access via the mobile app will be included at a later date.
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.
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 after that timeframe, please click here for contact information.
1. Log in to PayPal.com via your mobile phone
Here's how to get the security code sent to your phone:
- When you log in, click the Send SMS button and check your mobile phone for the text message with a 6-digit security code. You'll usually receive a text message response in less than a minute, depending on your carrier service.  >
- If you have multiple phone numbers on your account, be sure your mobile phone has been set as the primary phone number. If SMS is not available, we can also call your primary phone number if you’d like to listen for your 6-digit security code.  >
- Make sure that your primary mobile phone number is enabled before you enable the Security Key, or else you won’t be able to log in with the Security Key. Note: you can still log in via a different method (for example, by answering your account security questions).
2. Download and launch the PayPal app
If you’re using the PayPal app on your mobile phone instead of logging in through our website on your phone:
- Log in to your account with your email and password, as you normally do, and wait for a PayPal Security Key SMS that will contain your OTP. Enter your pin to log in.  >
- The PayPal app allows you to log in to you account using your iOS/Android device’s fingerprint reader. Check the app settings to set up this feature.
- Go to your Settings.  >
- Click Update next to "Phone."  >
- Click Update next to your mobile number.  >
- 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.  >
- Enter the confirmation code into the entry space provided on the screen to confirm your mobile.  >
- Click Validate.
Are additional fees or permissions required?
No. For more information, see the Checkout integration guide.
How do I integrate this option for my customers?
Ensure that customers are using the basic Checkout integration. To enable the option, follow the instructions outlined within the Checkout integration guide.
Can I use the Checkout variables and values?
Here's a list of unsupported parameters.
Are all browsers compatible?
Here's information about browsers' compatibility.
- Old browsers will default to the full-page checkout experience.
Will the In-Context Checkout window appear on mobile or tablet devices?
No. Smartphones and tablets display an optimized full-page checkout window.
Is this option supported in every language?
Here's information about the languages currently supported.
Why are customers having different experiences after integrating this option?
Each merchant’s eligible customers will receive the new checkout experience. Customers who aren't eligible will be redirected to the full-page PayPal checkout experience.
Is there an Opt-In/Opt-Out option?
PayPal supports In-Context checkout integration for all merchants, but won't provide this option. However, merchants can build their own Opt-In/Opt-Out functionality.
Are Reference Transactions, Recurring Payments, Adaptive Payments and Digital Goods supported?
Currently, Reference Transactions are available to US and UK merchants only. Recurring Payments, Adaptive Payments and Digital Goods aren't presently supported.
If I adopt the In-Context Checkout option will I have to integrate again when new features are available?
No, once integrated you'll automatically be given the new features.
Can buyers use a PayPal debit card as a funding source?
Buyers can use their PayPal debit card to initiate transactions. However, they'll be redirected to the full-page PayPal checkout experience.
Will pop-up blockers prevent the In-Context Checkout window from rendering?
No, pop-up blockers won't prevent the In-Context Checkout window from being displayed.
Will the In-Context Checkout window lose focus behind another window?
No, the checkout window remains active unless the consumer minimizes the window. If that occurs, click on the window to reactivate it.
- A message similar to the following may appear: "Don’t see the secure PayPal browser? We’ll help you relaunch the window to complete your purchase. Press Continue to proceed."