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Shopify Mobile Optimization: How to Optimize a Shopify Store for Mobile

Shopify is a superb platform as far as smooth mobile user experience goes. Every theme on the Shopify theme store is fully responsive out of the box. Still, if you want to make your theme truly mobile friendly, responsiveness alone is not enough. Read this post to learn what other steps you need to take to optimize your store for customers with handheld devices.

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How to make your Shopify store mobile-friendly

According to Statista, the retail m-commerce sales in the USA in 2021 exceeded 360 billion U.S. dollars. Needless to say that every e-commerce website owner should be thinking about optimizing their store for the current or potential customers with handheld devices. 

Shopify is an excellent platform when it comes to providing smooth mobile user experience. Every theme you can find in on Shopify store is fully responsive, meaning that it adapts to the screen size of the device on which it is rendered. 

That said, if you earnestly care about Shopify mobile optimization, responsiveness alone is not enough. There are many more things you should give thought to in order to turn your website into a truly mobile-ready application. Here are some of the biggest problems that an improperly optimized mobile e-commerce site may bring:

Problems that a poorly optimized Shopify store may bring
  1. Low SEO rankings. A properly optimized Shopify mobile website is favored by the search engines, especially Google. On July 1, 2019, the tech giant introduced the mobile-first indexing. In compliance with this new algorithm, mobile-optimized content receives a higher ranking when the search is performed on a mobile device. If you have put in some effort to optimize Shopify for mobile, customers are more likely to find your site. Otherwise, you’re running a risk to sink into oblivion. 
  2. No/poor sales. Even if someone comes across your non-mobile-friendly Shopify site and starts browsing it on their Android or iOS-powered device, they may quickly lose interest if it’s hard to navigate, slow to load, has too much text, or presents other annoying obstacles to normal user flow. Inevitably, a drop in sales will follow. 
  3. Damage to the brand image. Saddest of all, your brand image will suffer. The most valuable business tool — word of mouth — will break. No one will want to recommend your brand after having to struggle with your Shopify mobile website. What’s more vital for a business than its image? Lose it and you’ll lose everything.

The good news is that you can avoid all those troubles if you follow the essential guidelines we’ve prepared for you. 

How to Optimize a Shopify Store for Mobile

#1: Optimize Your Tap Targets

Have you ever tapped a button in a mobile app just to select another one next to it? Very irritating, isn’t it? Defining the correct dimensions of your tap targets is extremely important from a UX point of view. 

Ideally, you should make all buttons or images wide enough to be tapped with a thumb. You should also determine the optimal distance between your tap targets. This post in Smashing Magazine gives a very good insight into this aspect of Shopify mobile optimization. While different vendors suggest different sizes for buttons and other tap targets, we recommend making their width 48 pixels or more and separating them by at least 32 pixels of white space. 

Remember to test your Shopify mobile website properly. Ask your coworkers, family members, or friends to tap the buttons and give you feedback.

#2: Simplify Your Navigation 

Limit Your Menus to One Level of Nested Content

It’s so tempting to give your customers as many options as you can so that they can have the widest choice of products or services to purchase. Moreover, since 2018, Shopify merchants can construct menus by simply drag-n-dropping the necessary items. 

However, this can have a reverse effect. Users may get lost in a multitude of options and suboptions and simply quit your site. That increases the bounce rate and may cost you very dearly from the SEO perspective down the line.

To optimize Shopify for mobile, we recommend reviewing your navigation structure carefully and sorting your pages into more and less important ones. Leave what is really crucial for your business and add that to the menu. Keep one level of nested content only. That’s good for both search engine bots and your users. 

Read this post to learn the best way to organize your Shopify mobile website navigation structure. 

Reduce the Number of Navigational Layers

Even with powerful processors in smartphones that make them super fast, it’s still important to have as few navigational layers on your mobile site as possible. 

After the sixth or seventh tap on the screen and still not seeing what they want, the most patient of consumers may say, “Thank you. I’ve had enough,” and exit your site without buying anything. Again, the bounce rate goes up, while search engine rankings plummet.

Make Your Menus Invisible 

The biggest limitation of mobile devices in the lack of on-screen space. You have to be very resourceful in how you use it. Why keep all those menus in sight? You can make them invisible by tucking them under a toggle menu button. This may take several forms:

Types of toggle buttons

Users can click on a button like this to expand and collapse the menu. That frees up a lot of space on the small screen of a smartphone or tablet and contributes to better user experience. 

#3: Consider How You Use Text

Make Your Font Large 

Despite a limited amount of space that mobile devices provide, you still need to give users important information about your offerings. A small font is hard to read and may discourage visitors from continuing to shop on your site. For Shopify mobile optimization, we recommend choosing a font between 14 and 16 pixels and scaling it within the viewport. 

Go for Conventional Fonts 

Unless you absolutely need a fancy font like this to describe your products or services, use conventional fonts such as Arial. Why? Users may not have the non-standard font you’ve chosen and will have to download and install it on their gadgets. That deals a blow to your Shopify mobile site’s speed, which is one of the major causes of the bounce rate growth.

Cut Down the Amount of Text 

Again, you’re facing a tough challenge, we understand. You need to give as many details about your offerings as possible within the tiny area of the viewport. Therefore, you must leave only the indispensable information on the product pages: what an item is called and how much it costs, plus a CTA button. 

How can you give more details? We recommend two main methods

  • Display them after a user clicks a photo or image
  • Toggle them with a hamburger, three dots, or caret menu button

Remove Overlaid Text from Images 

Most banner ads on websites have overlaid text integrated into their code. If you leave a banner like this unchanged and use it on a mobile device, your users are likely to have a hard time understanding your message as the viewport gets smaller. 

To address this Shopify mobile optimization challenge, we suggest that you extract the text from the code of a banner and place it underneath.  

#4: Keep Your Call-to-Action Button Visible at All Times 

The main purpose of any e-commerce site, whether web or mobile, is to sell products or services, obviously. Visitors should be mildly but constantly pushed to making a purchase. While you have plenty of space to display the Buy button on every page of a website on desktop, you don’t have as much room on a mobile device. 

The best way to handle this issue is to have a fixed CTA button whatever place a user is currently on. Just keep it prominently displayed at all times. Who knows? Perhaps, seeing this button, a customer will even purchase something they weren’t looking for, thus increasing your sales. 

#5: Always Keep the Main Navigation Bar in Sight 

Users scroll or swipe to view the information on a Shopify mobile website. While using gestures is great from a UX point of view, it may have negative effects as well. What if someone swipes too quickly and misses the description of your best-selling product? The chance that this visitor will return is minimal. 

One way to make sure that users always see business-critical information on the screens of their mobile devices is to fix the main navigation menu. What items you add to this menu is up to you. However, for Shopify mobile optimization, we recommend having at least a call-to-action button, a link to the homepage, and a link to the checkout

Wrapping Up

If you’re serious about the success of your online store, answering the question “How to optimize Shopify for mobile?” is paramount. Making your Shopify website convenient to use on mobiles is not something you can ignore. An online store that’s not mobile friendly is bound to lose SEO rankings, experience a drop in sales, and spoil a business reputation. That’s why we encourage you to apply the optimization techniques described in this post. 

Shopify Development Services by PSD2HTML

If this work seems overwhelming to you, we’re always close by to give you a helping hand. The PSD2HTML Shopify development experts have numerous successfully completed Shopify projects of different complexity levels in their portfolio.

Contact us for custom Shopify theme development, app integration, and other tasks.



Dmitriy Maschenko

Dmitriy is the Head of a division at PSD2HTML, an experienced web developer, and a prolific author of in-depth technology and business-related posts. He is always eager to share his years-long expertise with everyone who wants to succeed in the web development field.