The exploding popularity of tablets and ever more powerful smartphones has forced a change in the way companies do e-business. Displacing the laptop for more than 25 percent of Internet shoppers and up to 41 percent of casual Internet browsers, smartphones and tablets are fast becoming the media of choice for online shopping, as well as web searches and browsing, leading companies to search for better methods of mobile conversion.
Match User Expectations
These activities become inconvenient or even impossible, however, when users encounter a website that has not been optimized for mobile devices. Mobile users expect high-quality, aesthetically pleasing mobile versions of websites that load quickly, offer trusted security and are easy to navigate. Businesses can no longer simply prepare for a desktop or laptop clientele and hope mobile users pinch and zoom through a poor website experience. In order to avoid profit and traffic loss, businesses must be make specific mobile conversion optimization adjustments.
Responsive Web Design
One of the most efficient adjustments is using responsive web design (RWD). RWD is beginning to replace easy fixes like apps, which had been an inexpensive and convenient way for many websites to offer a mobile-ready experience. Many mobile device users crave a true browser experience, tailored for their small screens and image resolution. RWD provides that; in fact, the innovative technology can automatically detect the device being used for viewing and then morph into the proper format for that device, whether phone, desktop or tablet. This appeals to mobile touchscreen users, especially, and makes it easier for businesses to display advertising; apps are not as conducive to mobile ads.
RWD is also eclipsing the past trend of creating a separate site with duplicate content for smartphone visitors and another one for tablet use because the all-in-one responsive web design is much faster to implement and cheaper. Experts recommend that businesses that opt to stay with duplicate mobile sites built on a sub-domain consider an HTML 5 structure, which provides a mobile-ready look for phones, eBook readers, tablets and any other mobile device.
In addition to accommodating screen differences through design, some experts are encouraging customized offerings for behavioral differences. Businesses could build a database of mobile subscribers and increase mobile conversions by offering unique deals for those shopping by smartphone. “Research shows that shoppers behave differently when using mobile phones, so retailers should adjust their tactics in this channel,” said Ken Barber, vice president of marketing and product development for mShopper. Since mobile shoppers generally have their phone nearby throughout the day, businesses should text message high-value, time-sensitive deals and promotions exclusively to phone customers; such benefits, he said, would reward them for taking the time and effort to shop on tiny screens.
Other optimization strategies include checking Google analytics to study mobile behavior, keeping landing pages simple, using jQuery responsive slideshows (such as PhotoSwipe and Flexslider) and using geolocation tools that detect the whereabouts of mobile users so that special marketing messages can be sent to those who are nearby.