Why Your Business Absolutely Must Have a Mobile Site

One of your customers is hanging out at the park having a fun-filled vacation day when they spot a unique dog leash they absolutely have to have. They whip out their phone and head to your online store, knowing you specialize in items like that.

Unfortunately, you’ve never established a dedicated mobile site for your store. The customer is forced to try and load your regular website and store on their phone which doesn’t quite go as planned. The pictures are warped, buttons don’t work, and even though they’ve been to the site many times they can’t figure out where to go to buy anything.

Eventually they give up, making a mental note to do it later. However, by the time they get home they’ve completely forgotten about the leash and most likely will never think about it again. You’ve just lost a sale.

Big Numbers

Instead of leading up to them, let’s just throw the big numbers out there: 94% of top US advertisers use mobile, and almost 60% of Americans own smartphones. If those numbers alone don’t sway you, consider that 67% of people surveyed by Google said they are more likely to buy from a company with a mobile friendly site. 61% said they would leave quickly if the site doesn’t work for mobile.

Hopefully you’re seeing that having a mobile friendly site isn’t just a fun add-on, it’s practically a necessity. By the end of 2013 some have predicted mobile usage will outweigh PCs for the first time when it comes to connecting to the Internet. If you’re not preparing for a big change, it’s going to happen and leave you completely behind.

So what’s the big deal? Just like in the above example, mobile websites are designed to work with smartphones and tablets as opposed to a PC or laptop. They’re designed to fit the smaller screens and often to work better as touchscreen interfaces. Generally the navigation is easier and is less graphically heavy so everything loads faster.

This makes the experience much smoother for your customer-on-the-go. Instead of fumbling around on a store that only half works, they can quickly find the stuff they need and be on their way.

How to Optimize

If the name of the game is simplicity, your mobile website should be easily navigated for by everyone with every kind of device. This involves thinking about several aspects of a website you may have never considered before.

For one, not everyone has an unlimited data plan anymore. Many phone companies tier their data plans meaning customers can’t download huge picture galleries or videos every time they visit your site. Cut the graphic stuff down to a minimum so your store loads up quickly and doesn’t kill customers’ data plans for the month.

Also, since your customers likely aren’t using a mouse to navigate your mobile site, make clickable links big enough for their fingers. This is easily one of the biggest problems for mobile sites right now; it’s almost like developers think all fingers are the same shape and size. This is not the case, and if someone can’t navigate easily they will quickly leave.

Another mistake many mobile website developers make is to assume mobile users don’t need all the information included on the desktop or laptop version. This sometimes goes as far as leaving out completely vital info or redirecting pages for no reason like what Karen McGrane went through with United Airlines.

Never assume you know what your customers want or need. Track, plan, and above all else ask what they want and if what you’re offering is working. If it isn’t, don’t be afraid to change things up – a strong mobile presence is clearly worth all the work this entails.