4 Tipps: So gelingt Ihr Mobile-First-Design im E-Commerce
Tuesday, 22 June 2021
Latori GmbH

4 tips: How to succeed with your mobile-first design in e-commerce

Since smartphones entered our everyday lives in the early 2000s, the number of mobile devices has been rising steadily. Today, most people use their smartphones to navigate the Internet. Online shopping is thus also shifting more and more to small screens. Since the classic desktop view and the smartphone interface are fundamentally different, store development must address this accordingly.

A popular approach to this is mobile first. The basic idea is simple: The most difficult design stage is worked on first. If all functions and design elements could be accommodated on a smartphone, they will also find plenty of space on larger screens. So after the store layout is created for mobile devices first, designers and developers gradually work their way to tablet and desktop.

With the help of a grid basis, responsive web design is created that store visitors can use on any device. The following sections explain what needs to be considered in the mobile-first strategy and what good mobile-first design looks like.

We have already supported several companies in implementing a mobile-first strategy. We'd be happy to help you, too!

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What does mobile first mean?

With a mobile-first strategy, the web design is optimized and adapted for mobile devices before the desktop design is created. This approach follows the trend that more and more users access online stores via mobile devices. Since smartphone usage now accounts for a large share of e-commerce, a mobile-first strategy is a good way to cater to these customers.

Why Mobile First?

A mobile-first approach helps drive smartphone users to your store, expanding your target audience. According to a Statista survey from 2022, around 66% of customers now access online stores via mobile devices. Thus, a mobile-first strategy considers the majority of customers first. Google is also adapting to this trend and has created the "Mobile First Index", a factor that is taken into account in SEO and thus decides your ranking in the search engine.

We will go into more detail about more advantages of Mobile First eCommerce later on.

Mobile First Web Design: 4 Tips for Your Mobile Website

In addition to enabling browser caching, which briefly caches information so it doesn't have to be reloaded when you visit the store again, you can influence your customers' experience on mobile devices with targeted design decisions.

Tip 1: Less is more

The small amount of space available on smartphones for the presentation of brand identity and store functions is striking. What can seem disadvantageous at the beginning helps to define the core elements of a store as well as to identify unnecessary and slowing down components. Remove unnecessary features or design components.

Here, reducing source code, content, videos and images will take up less storage space as well as bandwidth and shorten loading times. Image compression provides additional support. This allows you to create an engaging shopping experience even for visitors whose mobile connection quality varies.

Less content also means shorter scroll paths. These support a fluid movement of users through your store, the fast finding of products and thus the satisfaction of your customers.

Tip 2: Give space

Although this is obviously in contrast to the available space on a smartphone, spacing is an important design tool for your mobile store. White space not only creates a modern look, but also brings elements into focus by moving others out of view. In addition, users will find it easier to navigate if there is enough space around links, buttons or form fields and they can specifically click on an element. This way, you avoid page visitors unintentionally selecting an adjacent link and being interrupted in their movement through the store.

Images and videos should also be given more space on mobile devices. With large-format photos, you can place products attractively and already convey information about them. Use the entire width of the screen. If you place several images next to each other, make sure that the motifs are clearly recognizable.

The size of buttons can also be more generous on smartphones in relation to the continuous text. Present visitors with easily recognizable and quickly accessible call-to-actions to increase the click rate.

live fast die young

Reading tip: Here we show you what makes a good store design for Shopify.

Tip 3: Make interaction simple

Hover and scroll effects can lead to functional errors on smartphones. Therefore, in your web design, make sure that navigation elements, menus and links can be operated with a single click. Also make sure that elements of this kind are large enough and placed at an appropriate distance from the next link so that they can be operated specifically with one finger and avoid frustration among visitors.

Discreetly placed instructions, such as "Swipe to go to..." or "Click to go to..." can assist in handling functions.

Tip 4: Do not forget the desktop

With the mobile-first approach, consider rendering on smartphones first. However, keep in mind that customers also access your store via other devices or even switch between devices within a few minutes. So make sure that users can perform the same actions everywhere and always check all functions on tablet and desktop. If necessary, adapt them for the appropriate screen size.

5 ideas for your mobile-first strategy

mobil screen with LFDY PDP on it

  • Place images and photos across the entire width of the screen

  • Replace several photos with a short video (Attention: Videos can slow down your store)

  • Include easy to execute rating option

  • Integrate mobile-friendly chat function

  • Use smartphone-typical handling functions or designs (swipe, double-tap, store icons from social media...)

Shopify merchants from LIVE FAST DIE YOUNG have a very young target group and know how to play to them with the right techniques. On your product pages, item photos can be easily swiped - just like the target group is used to from carousels on Instagram, for example.

Which specific design options you should use always depends on your target group. For example, younger people often don't need supporting instructions, while older people may prefer less interactive elements. So you should know your target audience well to know what might go down well with them.

Reading tip: You can read more about the success of Live Fast Die Young here.

Advantages and disadvantages of mobile first

The mobile-first strategy comes with advantages, but also disadvantages. We have listed them for you here:

✅ The user experience on mobile devices is improved.❎ Die Gestaltung einer Website für Desktop und mobile Endgeräte ist zeitaufwendiger.
✅ Search engine rankings are improved, since mobile optimization is a ranking factor.❎ Elemente funktionieren eventuell nicht gut auf mobilen Endgeräten.
✅ All users see the same content, which means that when accessed via mobile devices, the same content is played out and no content is lost due to the mobile view.
✅ Improved performance of the store.
✅ The target group is expanded to include mobile users.

Mobile First and Google: Mobile SEO Strategies and Optimization

To be found better on search engines like Google, your online store should be optimized for mobile devices. Since Google introduced the Mobile First Index, mobile optimization has become an important ranking factor. The fact that the use of smartphones in e-commerce continues to increase is also shown by the Statista survey. According to the statistics, 66% of users access online stores via smartphones.

In addition, many smartphone users use Google's Voice Search function to search for content by voice input. Some important aspects of mobile SEO strategy are:

  • Mobile Responsive Design: make sure your website is optimized for different screen sizes and devices. A responsive design ensures that your website looks good on mobile devices and is user-friendly.

  • Fast loading times: Mobile users have little patience for slow websites. Optimize your site to minimize load times. This can include using compressed images, caching, and content delivery networks (CDNs).

  • Mobile Keywords: use keywords that target mobile search queries. Remember that mobile search queries are often longer and more natural.

  • Local SEO: Optimize your website for local search queries, as many mobile searches look for locally relevant information. This is especially important for local businesses and services.

  • Mobile Friendly Content: Make sure your content is mobile friendly. Use clear headings, short paragraphs, and easy-to-read fonts.

  • Mobile Sitemaps: Create an XML sitemap for your mobile site and submit it to Google Search Console tools.

  • Mobile usability testing: regularly test the usability of your mobile site to make sure it is intuitive and works well.

  • Mobile-Friendly Testing from Google: use Google's Mobile-Friendly Testing tool to make sure your site is mobile-friendly and being indexed properly by Google.

  • Mobile Indexing: Make sure Google indexes your mobile version. With the introduction of mobile-first indexing, Google ranks the mobile version of your website first.

  • Mobile-Optimized Ads: If you're running paid ads, make sure your ads are optimized for mobile devices, since most mobile searches involve advertising.

Optimizing your website for mobile devices is essential today as mobile search queries continue to increase. It's important to ensure that mobile users have a great experience on your website to increase visibility in search results and boost conversion rates.

Mobile shopping apps

Mobile shopping apps are an aspect that should definitely be considered in a mobile-first strategy. Our customers show how important apps have become in e-commerce:


mobil screen with GoTiger App

GoTiger, a Berlin-based startup and supplier of Asian food, relies on a mobile shopping app. Shopify serves as their backend here, supplying the app with product data. Customers can easily complete their orders via the Shopify Checkout.

Reading tip: We tell you the whole GoTiger success story here.


mobil screen with Asphaltgold PDP

Asphaltgold knows how important mobile optimization is - after all, around 80% of Asphaltgold customers access the store via smartphones. That's why Asphaltgold decided to expand its existing Raffle app into a shopping app to meet the needs of its customers. Mobile push notifications also help the brand engage customers.

Reading tip: We show you how Asphaltgold takes off with mobile app and Shopify Plus here.


As you can see, there are some good reasons to adopt a mobile-first strategy. As the use of smartphones in online retail continues to grow, you should tackle mobile optimization to avoid losing customers.

Looking for a competent partner to develop customer-focused results on all screen sizes? Contact us today, we will be happy to help you!

Frequently Asked Questions about Mobile First

What does mobile first eCommerce mean?

With the mobile-first approach the store design is adapted to mobile devices at the beginning. Only then does the design for desktop devices follow.

Why should I use a mobile first strategy?

Mobile optimization comes with a number of benefits:

  • The improvement of the user experience

  • Better search engine rankings

  • Same content for all users, which means that when accessed via mobile devices, the same content is played out and no content is lost due to the mobile view

  • Improved performance of the store

  • Target group is expanded to include mobile users

What is a mobile first design?

A mobile-first design is a design that has been optimized for mobile devices, such as smartphones. This means that the content adapts to the respective screen size.

Why should I use mobile apps?

Since 66% of online store access is via smartphones, it makes sense to offer customers an app to meet the needs of the target audience.

What is mobile marketing?

Mobile marketing refers to marketing activities and strategies specifically targeted at mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. It is a discipline of digital marketing that aims to capture the attention and engagement of mobile users in order to promote products, services or information.

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