|EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2840 - July 04, 2012 - ISSN 1539-5065 3 of 4|
Websites that are easy to read on a computer monitor can become very difficult to read on a tiny smartphone screen. This week, Bonanza.com launched a new mobile version of its online marketplace to give shoppers using smartphones a better user experience.
Bonanza founder Bill Harding said he originally decided to develop a standalone mobile website, but as he worked on it, changed his approach. "Eventually (we) realized we could build it more quickly and easily if we just took our existing site and modified it for mobile when we detect a mobile browser," he said.
Right: Screenshot of the "Books" - "Antiquarian & Collectibles" category taken from a mobile phone.
The Bonanza website now automatically detects the browser and delivers the appropriate experience to the user. "We experimented with our mobile site on tablets, but realized that the existing site is already pretty strong on the tablet, so we ultimately decided we would stick with that."
Harding said traffic and sales to Bonanza from mobile shoppers is approaching 10%. It is not necessary for sellers to do anything in particular in order to optimize for the mobile shopping experience. However, he said, filling out item traits is more important on mobile than standard browsers since mobile users are less likely to want to read a lengthy description. "Wide description layouts often don't render well on tiny phone screens," he added.
The mobile site features a smaller, less busy header; larger fonts; bigger buttons and links; and a streamlined shopping experience ("just the shopping").
Left: Partial screenshot of a product listing for a book taken from a mobile phone.
Harding said right now, any Android or iOS device is directed to the mobile site. "We haven't set it up for WinMo or Blackberry yet. We'll do so if we see their traffic climb above 1 percent," he said.
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Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to email@example.com.
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