Use of mobile devices for shopping and browsing is on the increase – without a doubt, smartphones and tablet devices such as iPads signify a change in people’s shopping habits.
Online news site eMarketer forecasts that between 2012 and 2016 the number of smartphone users in the UK will have more than doubled, from 19.2 million to 41.9 million. While news is the most searched-for category on mobile devices, research by the Direct Marketing Association shows that 3 in 10 mobile searches are for local shopping.
These statistics have critical implications for anyone selling via the web. If your customers can’t easily use your website on a mobile device, you could be missing out on good opportunities.
What is a mobile-friendly website?
Screen sizes of smartphones and tablets are smaller than typical PC monitors, and vary from model-to-model. A mobile-friendly website is designed to look good and work well, whatever device it’s displayed on. When designing websites we almost always use a technique known as ‘responsive design’. We blogged about responsive design in a recent post but, put simply, this means that the format of a website will alter automatically depending upon what device the visitor is using.
A responsive site will also take into account the browsing method. Most people use a mouse when using the internet on a PC or laptop, for example, while a mobile device is likely to have a touch screen. Navigation menus, content displays and links around the site need to be designed with this in mind.
Mobile for browsing
It’s clear that consumers like to use the internet for research, even when they intend to make their final purchase in a shop. So even if your mobile website is not the place where you make the most sales, it still has an important function in the buying process.
Search engine apps account for over 60% of mobile searches so there are implications for your search marketing and what terms you want to be found. It also leads to questions about your wider digital marketing strategy such as which websites you may want to advertise on and which sites you target for PR and links.
Creating a seamless customer experience
The rise of internet shopping and use of mobile devices means consumer demands are changing too. Not only do consumers expect to be able to browse products and product details online, but they expect to be able to self-serve too. Immediacy is key.
This means greater integration between online and in-store experiences. For example, big brands like Argos and B&Q allow you to check stock and collect from your local store. The seamlessness of this experience – finding the item, reserving it and collecting it – makes shopping quicker and easier for customers and in turn builds loyalty. It also raises the game, as new capabilities in customer care become normal expectations.
The case for integrated marketing
Customers want a consistent experience whether they’re shopping online or in a store. We’re strong advocates of integrated marketing strategies where the customer experience is harmonised. To a certain extent, businesses are focusing on mobile in response to market demands. The question is, how does your website and marketing strategy stack up?
To talk to us about integrated digital marketing, please contact Carol Moore on 01606 884123.