bag phoneMobile phone technology has come a long way in the 40 years since the first cell phone call was made. For example, I no longer carry my phone around in a bag! Today we do a lot more on our mobile phones than just make phone calls. There are apps that keep us entertained and help with our productivity. With Internet connected mobile devices, we have access to the wealth of human knowledge in the palm of our hand. Ahh, the wonders of technology.

With mobile web surfing estimated to overtake desktop web surfing by 2015, there’s no doubt that marketers need to pay attention to mobile marketing trends. Such easy and immediate access to information has also brought changes in shoppers’ behavior that smart marketers should consider when developing their mobile website.

Mobile users have immediate needs. They visit your mobile website because they are interested in performing some sort of action such as click to call, find your location, or make a reservation. They want this information right away and they rely on the information that they can find, literally, at hand with a quick search on their smartphone.

Mobile usage is often local. Mobile users are, well, mobile. They are looking for a nearby restaurant, what movies are in town, or what store in town has the product they’re looking for. Populate your mobile website with content that is locally relevant.

Users seeking local information are ready to buy. Research from Google found that 77% of mobile users made contact with a business as a result of looking for local information on their smartphone. And 44% actually made a purchase.

actions taken on mobile website

Mobile web surfing is a secondary activity that enhances the consumer experience

Mobile device usage is not an exclusive activity. To the contrary, cross media consumption is on the rise as consumers move between multiple devices to accomplish their goals. In fact, 90% use multiple screens at the same time to shop online, manage their finances, plan a trip or just browse the web.  

cross media consumption

Google’s research shows that this multi-screen experience impacts online shopping, as smartphones’ accessibility enables more spur of the moment purchases.

multi screen

How mobile websites improve retail shopping in the store

The use of mobile devices improves the shoppers’ experience while they are in the store too. 74% of shoppers who use a smartphone to assist with their shopping experience will make a purchase, according to the Bootstrappers’ Guide to the Mobile Web. Retailers can use QR code tags to provide more product information, and even a “click to buy” button on a mobile web page.

The key to a good mobile website is to keep it simple and easy to navigate. Users expect a web browsing experience comparable to the desktop version.  Keep in mind, however, that users are operating the interface with their thumbs, not a mouse, so make call to action text, links and buttons large and obvious.

The smartphone brings together the perfect combination of technologies to help users make informed decisions. The GPS built in to most smartphones, and of course the ability to make a phone call, makes it the ideal tool for users to search for businesses, find the nearest location on a map, get customer recommendations and driving directions, and call in a reservation all with just a few clicks or thumb swipes.

Best practices for your mobile website

While the data speed of the mobile web is improving, it’s still not quite as fast as your business Internet connection or even the wi-fi at your local coffee shop. But that doesn’t stop users from expecting fast load times. If a mobile site is too cumbersome or slow, the user is likely to search another site within 5 seconds or less. Don’t miss the opportunity for a conversion. Optimize your content, images and video for mobile.

With the increasing use of mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, a mobile website is becoming more and more important for driving engagement with, and ultimately revenue from, new and existing customers.

Image courtesy of supakitmod /