Mobile is now. Is your business ready?

As mobile use continues to climb, inherent design challenges arise for businesses.

Customers and clients access the Internet on mobile devices more often than ever before, so it is imperative businesses evolve to cater to the mobile customer. In the last year, there has been a 67% increase in global mobile Internet use. What this means to business is: your online customer is interfacing with your brand and business through a mobile phone or tablet. Your online presence should take that into account.

As mobile use continues to climb, inherent design challenges arise for business presence and communication. For starters, fixed sites and emails are dead; mobile users demand responsiveness. Businesses must adapt their communication systems to allow customers to read at a desktop, a tablet, or a phone. A “nice to have” website is a thing of the past; it is imperative for any business that is serious about maintaining its online presence to have a modern website, that is present and has adapted to the mobile-friendly model.

The Details.

<><>Statcounter recently released data showing a 67% increase in mobile web traffic over the last year. Those numbers show mobile usage growth from 17% to 29%. Tablets account for about 7% of all Internet usage, up from about 5% a year ago.

Since most of us are at a desk during the day, I don’t expect mobile usage to completely take over in the next year or two. Still, it is time to consider your options based on your customer’s behavior and those options should include mobile design. If your client-base is younger, mobile should be a priority.

Consider This.

You’ve likely experienced this mobile fight or flight as a customer.

As a a restaurant, your customer is likely seeking out your phone number, menu (in HTML not PDF), location, or hours of operation. As a retailer, a mobile client will likely look for hours of operation, contact info, services/inventory, and/or locations. This information needs to be mobile-friendly and accessible since it is relevant to mobile users. It should be easily found and readable when your customer needs it.

This thinking applies to all businesses. If your site doesn’t consider the mobile user and reasons for accessing the site, it is not working for your business. In fact, it could be driving away potential customers.

You’ve likely experienced this mobile fight or flight as a customer. Now, imagine this: you are on vacation, strolling through a new neighborhood, and hungry. You search for a type of food or a specific restaurant. You click through to an interesting restaurant to find bloated PDFs for menus and an unreadable desktop version of the site (on a tiny screen). Frustrated, you close the browser or continue searching for another option.

In the previous example, you didn’t have to imagine much. Right? Unfortunately, everyone has had this experience. Sadly, there are decision makers or business owners that don’t consider it a real problem for their own site and customers (even if they’ve experienced the same pain point). Whether they use budget as an excuse, are in denial, or are simply apathetic, we all know first impressions matter—a website that’s not functional on a mobile device leads to a negative perception  of your business.

Ask Yourself Some Questions.

Is your site working for or against you?

Who is using your website the most, when are they using it, and why are they using it? Have you analyzed your site’s traffic data? Do you even have site analytics?

This data highlights when visitors are hitting your site. It can also highlight how visitors found your site (keywords) and give you clues about why they are accessing your site. Further, you can summarize by the length of their visit if they’re finding what they need.

Back to the restaurant example… If a restaurant’s traffic data shows a visitor stayed for 5 seconds, it’s reasonable to assume the visitor found it by accident or the information was not accessible. If it is the latter of the scenario, then more than likely the hungry and curious customer will either place a call to your restaurant for information (adding demand on potentially busy staff to answer basic questions ), or they will find another restaurant with accessible information , resulting in a loss of business for you. Neither option is ideal for the restaurant.

Your website should be your business’ 24-hour customer service. It should predict, respond to, and resolve a customer’s needs and offer a method of contact for visitors with unresolved questions/needs.

We can all agree on one expectation all mobile users have at this point: a mobile-friendly website. Is your site working for or against you?