Have you noticed people’s using their mobile phones everywhere? People check them before going to bed at night, and use them as an alarm clock to wake up in the morning. We have more cell phones than TVs or PCs. What does this mean for your business?
Mobile Internet Use by Consumers is Soaring
Consider these statistics:
- By 2014, mobile internet is predicted to take over desktop internet usage (Source: Microsoft Tag, 2012)
- 50% of U.S. cellphone users now have smartphones, and among those aged 24-35, it is 66% (Source: Nielsen, 2012)
- The average smartphone user spends over two hours per day using their device. Actually using it to make phone calls, ranked 5th on the list of smartphone activities behind internet, social media, music and games (Source: O2, 2012)
- Three-quarters of consumers read email on their phones every day. (Source: Google, 2012)
- 66% of consumers use their phones to aid in shopping, and of these 81% say they use their phones before arriving at the store to look up information, pricing, coupons, and reviews (Source: eMarketer, 2012)
- 31 percent of adults use their phones for the majority of their Internet access, and for those 18-29 yeara of age, that percentage is 49% (Source: Pew 2012)
The web has changed consumer behavior, and this means businesses must come up with new strategies to reach users right at the moment when they are making a purchase decision. Increasingly this decision is happening on a mobile device. Consumers are ahead of business in mobile internet use. What can you do to catch up?
Some Businesses are Capitalizing
Some businesses are capitalizing on this by developing innovative uses for mobile internet technology.
For example, The GetTaxi app lets you order a cab from your smartphone. A nearby cab driver gets notification of your location, and users are even able to see their requested taxi finding its way to their location via GPS tracking on their mobile device.
Tesco has created a virtual store in an underground station in South Korea. It allows customers to use their mobile phones to scan images of products projected on to virtual shelves, and to have them delivered to their home. View a video below:
Other retailers are using QR bar codes and free wi-fi in their stores to offer shoppers with smartphones reviews, video demonstrations, and the opportunity to sign up for coupons or a mailing list.
Most Businesses Not Ready for Mobile
Most businesses are not ready for this mobile internet explosion however. The majority of users who enter a website on a mobile phone do not return again as the site is too slow to load, doesn’t work properly, or is poorly formatted for a mobile device. 90% of the businesses using QR codes are not directing users to a mobile-optimized page. (Source: Mashable 2012) When a user scans a QR code with their phone, and the resulting page has no value or is difficult to use on a mobile device, it turns into a frustrating experience with limited value for the consumer.
What can Businesses do?
First, make sure your website works on a mobile phone.
A few years ago, mobile internet meant a separate mobile web site, or a custom iPhone app. It can be difficult enough to keep one website up-to-date (not to mention your social media presence) without having to maintain a separate site for mobile. Developing a custom app is expensive when you consider that today you need separate apps for smartphone users that use iPhone, Android, or Windows phone operating systems. Many services that will give you a mobile site for “free” are not owned by you or connected to the domain name you own so your efforts to raise your search engine visibility will not extend to the mobile site.
Fortunately, we have a better method today. Create your website using responsive design techniques. Responsive design allows your website to fluidly adjust for mobile, tablet or desktop users by displaying content optimized for the device’s screen resolution without the need to scroll or zoom. For example, while a desktop user may see two or three columns of information, a mobile phone user will see the same page displayed in a single column with a larger font size to make up for the smaller screen resolution.
Have you looked at your website on a mobile phone? What is the user experience like? Another way you can determine how your website is experienced on a mobile phone is by examining your Google Analytics reports. (You are using Google Analytics, right? – This free service from Google tracks how many visitors your web site has, how they got there and what they do once they get there). Among other things, Google Analytics shows you how many users come to your site using a mobile device, and the bounce rate for those visitors. The bounce rate tells you how many people came to your site, and immediately left to return to search results or to go to another site. Compare the bounce rate for your mobile visitors versus your desktop visitors. A much higher bounce rate on mobile versus desktop visitors tells you that your site has problems working on a mobile device. You can also find out how many visitors use a mobile or tablet device. We have seen mobile visitors skyrocket for our customers. While a little more than a year ago, it would have been unusual to see more than 10% mobile traffic, today we are seeing over 25% mobile and tablet traffic for some sites.
Use Responsive Web Design to Get Mobile Internet Traffic
Using responsive design, you can create and maintain your content one time, but optimize the experience for different devices. Depending on your current site design, responsive design may be a simple add-on to your current site, or it may require an update to the overall theme. Either way, you will simplify management of your online presence by using this technique, and be better positioned for the mobile future, which is happening today!