News & Resources

Being mobile-friendly is a new business essential

Jun 10, 2013 Philip Burgess

The game is changing for retailers. While having a welcoming brick-and-mortar store, friendly staff and excellent products used to be the bulk of what it took to bring in customers, implementing a comprehensive mobile strategy is becoming a more important part of that equation. Now, shoppers want to be able to browse items and make payments on the go, and if company owners don't support this desire, it's possible that these individuals will simply take their business elsewhere.

Left behind
According to recent studies, it is becoming increasingly apparent that today's consumers don't have the time for little inconveniences. Internet Retailer reported that Forrester Research recently released a report showing that mobile optimization is a major factor in whether a person will actually make a purchase. While the conversion rate for PCs is between 2 and 3 percent, most mobile sites only reach 1 percent, which is largely attributable to these online locations working poorly on users' devices.

One reason that optimization is critical is that oftentimes, consumers are using mobile tools as a way to get prepared to either buy through the app or at a store. The research firm discovered that 14 percent of online adult mobile phone owners use their gadgets to research products and otherwise get ready to make a purchase. Additionally, 10 percent of smartphone users and 28 percent of tablet owners leverage their devices to check customer product reviews.

In terms of what shoppers are looking for, Forrester revealed that 22 percent of mobile consumers are buying apparel, while 21 percent purchase tickets and 20 percent make hotel reservations. People who shop with the help of their smartphones and tablets spent an average of $90 over the past three months through these channels. For retailers, this kind of business could certainly add up.

However, it is critical that company leaders are careful to launch mobile websites that can be accessed on the go by handheld gadgets. Mobile Commerce Daily noted that in a new report from Kentico Software, 44 percent of online shoppers admitted that they wouldn't ever return to a website that wasn't optimized for mobile, and another 52 percent would avoid accessing the site frequently.

Another important finding was that when stores are conscious of mobile customers' needs, they are often rewarded with repeat business. In fact, 76 percent of smartphone uses and 78 percent of tablet owners often go back to the sites that work well and look good on their devices.

"Businesses are making and breaking customer relationships in mobile," said Thomas Robbins, chief evangelist at Kentico Software. "If a site isn't mobile-friendly, users will turn to sites that are, and they will carry those new relationships with them beyond the mobile environment. Retailers must do all they can to make their mobile sites as easy to use, helpful and personalized as possible."

Making the most of mobile
By launching tools that suit the needs of consumers on the go, retailers may be able to increase their revenues and improve the customer experience overall. However, it's important that they consider convenience when making these attempts - if they don't ensure their websites and payment tools will work well wherever they're accessed, it's possible that they'll lose out on sales.

Additionally, it's critical that when aiming to make their mobile payments technologies streamlined for users, companies take into account the need for security. No shopper wants an online purchase to result in identity theft and damage to their consumer credit report, which is possible if safety isn't made a priority. By thinking about how to ensure customers are always in good hands, businesses can develop a positive relationship with their patrons and a strong reputation, driving in more shoppers down the line.