Retailers have been wising up to mobile, recognising it as its own category rather than treating it as a pared down version of a desktop PC.

But according to Spreadshirt CEO Philip Rooke (pictured), a truly “mobile-first” strategy needs to break decisively from a desktop one – in fact, in many ways it should be the opposite.

The Germany-based company, which sells customisable print-on-demand T-shirts online, saw the number of people coming to the site via mobile grow rapidly in 2013. Mobile quickly moved from being a second screen to the main screen, Rooke says, becoming the main way for people to search for things that they wanted to express on their personalised T-shirts.

Spreadshirt responded by introducing what it calls a mobile-first strategy. But what does this mean? The key difference, Rooke tells InternetRetailing, is that while the standard retail approach is to add as much functionality as possible, mobile requires the opposite.

For example, Spreadshirt used to enhance the desktop version of its site with more and more features. A similar approach is in place in offline retail, he says, with outlets such as clothing shops adding extra product lines such as accessories and installing coffee shops in the store.

With mobile the aim is the opposite. “It’s counter-intuitive to most retail thought. We have to walk through every…