Sunday, May 12, 2013

6 Vital Reasons You Should Optimize Your Site for Mobile Devices

Think websites not optimized for mobile viewing are still in the game? More than 80 percent of smartphone users never leave home without their mobile phone and on-the-go shopping and finding the exciting are more popular than ever.

1. Statistics Prove Mobile Optimization Is a Must-Do

mobile-usage

Image via Flickr by Bruce Clay Inc.

According to Usabilla, in 2012 the number of mobile users reached six billion and that’s 87 percent of the world’s population. In addition to smartphone use, the stats below make a strong case for website mobile optimization.

  • 94 Percent of users look for local information on smartphones.
  • Two out of every three people access the Internet at least once a day from mobile phones.
  • 66 Percent of smartphone users searched for a product or service after seeing a mobile advertisement.
  • Google has long been the King in search engine world and Google has a uses a separate index for mobile content and much of that index is untouched making it wide open for the mobile arena.
  • 93 Percent of all adults in the United States own a mobile phone.
  • The average mobile user spent 13 hours per week on their cell phone.
  • Four out of five people use smartphones to make online purchases
  • People are using mobile phones to find local restaurants—90 percent of the time and of that 90 percent, 64 percent choose a restaurant within one hour of browsing for eateries on cell phones.
  • 74 Percent of consumers in the United States seek out local review sites like Google Places and Yelp and rely on those reviews.
  • 57 Percent of smartphone users will not recommend a business with a bad mobile design.
  • In 2012, mobile purchases were calculated at approximately $171 billion worldwide.
  • 47 Percent of cell phone users read product reviews on their phones before making a decision to buy.
  • 43 Percent of shoppers have downloaded apps from their favorite stores when available.

These statistics alone are enough to convince retailers to make websites mobile-friendly to increase sales revenues and engage consumers.

2. Developers Are Eager to Create Specialty Apps

An Internet search will reveal more than 260 million app developer websites to choose from. For those seeking out a mobile app, beyond asking how the developer will test the app once complete, they should also ask for a client list and to see examples of prior mobile apps created.

Developers of mobile apps should also be asked what sort of operating system apps will work on and the app should be available on the most popular like iOS, Android, RIM and Windows. A mobile app must also allow for online shopping and payment. Because consumers are 51 percent more likely to purchase from a store with a mobile-friendly app, thinking of cell phone shopping as a trend is not smart nor does it allow for competing with giant retailers.

3. Consumer Interaction Features of Mobile Optimization Are Beneficial

 blackberry

Image via Flickr by edans

It’s not just giant retailers that take advantage of mobile-friendly websites, small business owners are also jumping on board.

Effective mobile friendly websites offer features such as:

  • Creating wish lists
  • Saving items to shopping carts
  • Allow for consumers to create personalized accounts
  • Keep track of past purchase histories
  • Suggest products based on past purchases
  • Optimal customer service features
  • Consumer and expert product reviews
  • Product images and videos
  • FAQ and how-to pages
  • The ability to work on all smartphone operating systems

With all of these features and more, mobile shopping becomes easier and personal and allows for the on-the-go web experiences consumes desire.

4. Consumers Are Demanding Mobile-Friendly Websites

According to Sprout Insights, 61 percent of consumers will leave a website it it’s not mobile-friendly. These same consumers also offered the features most desired including:

  • A search bar to for browsing was important to 78 percent of those surveyed.
  • 74 Percent wanted the ability to go to the full non-mobile website.
  • A fit-the-screen mobile site is a necessary must to 70 percent of consumers.
  • 66 Percent wanted an easy click-here to call feature.
  • 73 Percent wanted mobile sites to save information for future use.
  • Big and easy to see buttons are wanted by 66 percent.
  • 64 Percent wanted sites to scroll up and down only, not let to right.

Smartphone users also enjoy being able to quickly find store hours, a map with directions, visible telephone numbers and access to product specifications. Making your website mobile-friendly engages the consumer and if the old saying the consumer is always right is true, a mobile website is an essential must.

5. Offer Mobile Sites To Teach and Instruct

There is another world of mobile users that seek out websites to learn how to do something or to perform research. Organizations that can and are benefiting from the ability to offer mobile instruction, DIY tips or self-help include:

  • Dieting, exercise and healthy meal planning
  • Doctor’s offices and medical facilities
  • Colleges and universities
  • Tutors and mentor aides
  • Bookstores, magazines and newspapers
  • Online gaming
  • Music and radio
  • How-to DIY for home and auto
  • Non-profits and foundations
  • Governments—Federal, state and local

If a business, establishment or organization falls into one of these fields, making website content and interaction mobile-friendly not only helps the consumer but ensures people turn to these sites again and again for support—monetized or not.

6. Mobile Sites to Entertain and Connect

Many app developers are taking advantage of making websites compatible with smartphones to entertain in a number of areas such as puzzle games, board games and video games. Others are optimizing user activity by providing videos, all-in-one social media sharing, idea exchanges, connecting like-minded groups and self-help forums. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are all smartphone ready by downloading the appropriate app based on operating system and engaging with others without having to power on a PC or laptop.

Along with entertaining comes the ability to share with others instantly—not wait for a friend or family member to read an email and click on the suggested link. Instant connectivity to entertain and connect via websites that have mobile-friendly apps is just one more consumer demand that businesses are paying attention to and delivering.

When a website is non-viewable, hard to read or crushed on a smartphone screen, consumers will find one that is able to provide a total experience. Business and organizations everywhere must turn to mobile optimization or lose the consumer whose choice is the ever-growing mobile phone environment. 

This article was contributed by DJ Miller, a graduate student at the University of Tampa. He is an app developer who spends most his time writing on anything tech related. In his spare time he likes to travel, play soccer, and watch movies. You can follow him on twitter @MillerHeWrote

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