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.

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Frequently asked questions.

When you add a mobile phone number, you can also confirm your mobile phone. Here’s how: 
  1. Go to your Profile Settings.
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  3. Click Update next to your mobile number.
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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.
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You can change your security questions in your Settings on our website.

The PayPal Donate button is a convenient and cost-effective solution for collecting donations online. Follow our step-by-step guide to create a Donate button. Define the donation amounts you want to accept or create an open field for customers to fill in; no programming is required.
When donors click your donate button, they complete their donation on the PayPal site. There are no monthly or set-up fees with donation button transactions. Your organization only pays processing fees when they receive a donation.
Other features:
Customers can choose to automatically give a monthly donation to your organization.  Both the organization and the customer can control the recurring payments in their respective profile settings if they would like to cancel or change the amount.
The Donate button is automatically mobile optimized for easier payments on small devices.
When you add a mobile number to your PayPal account, we send you a text message with a confirmation code. Enter this code to your PayPal account to confirm your mobile number. For security reasons, the code expires in 15 minutes from the time it's issued.

To resend the code:
  1. Go to Your Profile.
  2. Beside the mobile number you want to confirm, click Update.
  3. Click Confirm your number.
  4. Click Resend confirmation code. When you receive the code, enter it and click Validate.
Why do I have to confirm my phone number?
This is an easy way for us to keep the PayPal community safe and help prevent fraud or reach you if there's ever an issue.

What are the benefits for me to complete the phone confirmation process?
We’ll be able to reach you via text message to help service your account, and additional features such as receiving a payment with your phone number, instead of email address, will become available to you.

I can't confirm my phone on my account. Is it because it's already confirmed on another account?
To keep the PayPal community safe and confirm ownership of phone numbers, only one mobile number can be confirmed on a PayPal account at a time, and a mobile number may not be confirmed on more than one PayPal account at a time.

I didn't get the code to confirm my phone.
If you didn’t receive the text to confirm your mobile phone number, it could be because your phone is filtering out some text messages.  We recommend that you contact your mobile service provider to make sure that your phone accepts all text messages.

The phone number on my PayPal account isn’t a mobile phone. Is there another option for me?
Yes, we have option for you to use in our Interactive Voice Response (IVR) instead.  You will be able to confirm your phone by clicking “Call you with a code” button, and a one-time password (OTP) will be sent over a voice call.

I have the same phone number on my personal and business account. 
The phone number on your personal account will need to be confirmed in order for you to log in. At this time, this requirement is only available for personal accounts. 

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