Have you noticed? As a species we humans are evolving.
While we were sleeping, our smartphones have morphed into an indispensable extension of ourselves. An essential part of our daily routines, they make up our spare brain (with expanded RAM), an extra set of eyes, and our preferred means for speaking to work colleagues, customers and even loved ones.
No wonder we simply can’t live without them! No surprise that 30% of people start experiencing withdrawal symptoms whenever their phones go missing. Among millennials, the vast majority (87%) say they keep their smartphone within arm’s reach 24 hours a day. Businesses simply need to get in gear and take advantage of mobile to reach customers, build engagement, and pull in their fair share of the $104.5 billion in sales occurring on mobile (for 2015, up 38% YoY).
In case you need further convincing, here are five big reasons why your website needs mobile optimization.
1. Mobile—It’s Where Your Customers Live
It’s where they shop. In 2016, the vast majority of customers – 80% says Comscore – employed the internet at some stage in each decision of what to buy, when and where. In 2016, purchases occurring online finally surpassed those taking place in a brick-and-mortar retail establishment, topping 51%.
“Mobile users want to know, go, and buy swiftly. Your mobile experience has to be fast and frictionless.”GoogleOur world is entirely permeated by the multitude of mini-moments in which we are consulting the web. Moreover, that world is increasingly dominated by smartphones. A remarkable 60% of website visitors now reach those web pages exclusively through their phone or tablet. And mobile is grabbing an increasing share of e-commerce. In the 2015 holiday shopping season, for example, revenue from mobile sales jumped 59%—from $8 billion to $12.5 billion—expanding its share of e-commerce to 18%.
Those impressive mobile gains largely reflect a better user experience on phones and tablets, says comScore: “The mobile phone is firmly entrenched in shopping DNA. User interfaces are now tailored to the device, the imagery is better, and the checkouts are simply quicker.”
Graphic courtesy of UPS/comScore
2. Local Search: The Better Business Booster
Local search is killer for local businesses. When people are hunting for the nearest purveyor of fast food, checking store hours, or quickly trying to identify your store’s location, they want it now and they want it clear. You need to provide your info in the clearest, most accessible way on mobile optimized websites. And buddy, that doesn’t mean appearing in fine print on page 626 of the yellow pages. It means being front and central on mobile.
In this new, on-demand economy, a good 50% of shoppers who start a mobile query for local information are walking through the store’s doors within 24 hours. And fully 18% of those searches end in a sale. Local search is indeed the royal road down which customers zoom in hot pursuit of goods and services.
Your business needs to display a clear presence online with a mobile-friendly website to ensure that you are capturing the web traffic that turns into your store’s foot traffic. And your web pages need to be optimized to ensure local search ranking.
3. Grab Customers with Properly Mobile Optimized Websites
Mobile offers unique opportunities to please customers, generate sales, and keep buyers loyal by catering to their desires for fast, effortless, on-the-spot transactions. Whether it’s an impulse buy or repeat purchase, mobile websites can thrill consumers by:
- Automating ordering, paying, and delivery with the mere touch of a button
- Streamlining shopping choices
- Personalizing so that buyer preferences are remembered to speed the transaction
Pizza is the poster child for this strategy of exploiting mobile’s potential to please repeat, impulse, and “lazy” customers by making the transaction stunningly simple.
What if you could simply tap a button on your phone, and BAM! a pizza just showed up—exactly the way you like it with all the toppings, thick dish or not, and steaming hot—in 20 minutes?
In fact, pizza is a revolutionary pioneer in mobile innovation.
Why? According to Scott Davis, pizza caters to a “primal urge that demand quick satisfaction. However, there’s little to distinguish one pizza offering from another. And in the modern, on-demand world we live in, those conditions beg for technology.”
As a consequence, chains like Papa John’s and Dominos have been leaders in mobile digital innovation. In fact a stunning 50% of Domino’s daily $1 million in sales derives come from digital orders.
To satisfy your customers’ on-the-spot cravings, you need to take full advantage of the mobile web’s capabilities, including storing individual personal preferences and streamlined interactions, in addition to a maximally simplified checkout procedure.
4. Satisfy the Need for Info—In Your Store!
Merchants and retailers used to fear “showrooming” – that insidious act in which consumers check out goods in your store only to help them decide what to buy online. But today, online commerce and in-store sales are increasingly two connected, not competing, endeavors.
While physical stores continue to claim 90% of all purchases, in 2016 mobile devices are predicted to influence a remarkable 17-21% of in-store retail sales, adding up to $752 billion in spending. Consumers enter stores armed with research and seeking to test their initial conclusions with up-close inspections. Furthermore, when scrutinizing merchandise in product showrooms, customers often build their confidence toward making their purchase by whipping out their phone and going online.
According to BT’s 2016 survey, the most typical in-store uses of mobile devices for shopping are:
- Price comparisons — 54%
- Looking up product specs — 48%
- Checking reviews online — 42%
- And seeking coupons or deals
- Taking a picture of the product — 25%
- Texting or calling someone — 18%
Understanding these shopping routines, merchants can facilitate the customer’s journey to a purchase and build loyalty. You can present bar codes that enable customers to jump online and check product details. Moreover, retailers can provide access to both Wi-Fi and their own mobile-optimized website with a full range of product information. In fact 61% of customer say they are more likely to visit a store if they can inspect the store’s inventory online.
5. Mobile Optimization: The Hub of the Multichannel Journey
Customers no longer travel a straight path down one channel until they reach their journey’s end with a purchase. Whether it’s in-store shopping, social media reviews, online ordering on desktop computers, or on-the-go mobile window shopping, a full 38% of consumers skip and hop from one channel to the next depending entirely on which is most conveniently at hand.
“Smartphones dramatically improve conversion rates. … Smartphone shoppers are 14 percent more likely than non-smartphone shoppers to convert in store.”Deloitte DigitalThat means merchants, retailers and brands can no longer neglect any channel, but need to present seamless info and design across all channels. And increasingly at the hub of this multi-channel journey is mobile. A fatal flaw in your mobile presentation is sure to turn off customers and tarnish your brand. In fact, 40% of consumers say a bad experience on mobile at a site is enough to dissuade them from ever returning, and 28% will immediately depart for a competitor’s web pages.
As mobile continues to powerfully disrupt B2B and B2C sales, businesses and brands need to take full advantage of mobile innovative new possibilities to grow their profits:
- First and foremost, establish your business’s prominent online presence.
- Second, deliver mobile-optimized websites that ensure a seamless, friendly user experience.
- Third, exploit the emerging potential of mobile in the omni-channel customer journey to engage shoppers and convert them into lifelong, loyal customers.
Increase revenue and customer engagement with Mobilizer, the mobile user experience inspection tool. With Mobilizer, your team can see exactly what your website visitors are seeing on their phones and tablets. Easily identify display issues, monitor mobile performance metrics, and optimize the customer experience.
Top image courtesy of Jason Howie/Flickr