Small business owners without a mobile presence are missing out on an enormous slice of the consumer sales pie. EMarketer estimates that mobile commerce sales, including purchases on tablets, smartphones and mobile devices, rose 81% to about $25 billion last year. This statistic alone should be sufficient to galvanize businesspeople into immediate action. U.S. Consumers will access the Internet more through mobile devices than through personal computers by 2015, estimates the International Data Corporation Worldwide New Media Market Model. Now is the time to optimize your site for mobile or risk falling behind the curve. Here’s how to get started:
This year, consumers will spend about $13.44 billion via smartphones alone and nearly double that by 2016. Before snatching your own piece of that enormous sum, your mobile website must first be configured in such a way that users can simply and intuitively navigate it. Social Media Explorer gives Papa John’s mobile site accolades for its refined and easy-to-use nature. When entering PapaJohns.com on a mobile device, users are presented with three choices: Find a store, order for takeout and order for delivery. Papa John’s understands that anyone visiting their site wants a pizza and pizza only. Its mobile site quickly presents users with these options to streamline service — everything else is extraneous and thus left out.
Web pages load sluggishly on mobile devices, Forbes points out. For this reason, businesses should minimize web pages to maximize conversions. With today’s rapid pace, speed is key. Avoid text if you can. If you do incorporate text, think of all the typo-riddled text messages you’ve sent. The same is likely to occur with users and frustrate them. Fat-fingered folk (and just about everyone with fingers) require larger buttons and adequate space between those buttons to avoid mistakes. Better yet, integrate pre-populated fields and clickable menus for ideal accessibility.
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In addition to having a mobile presence, it never hurts have a physical presence as well. Never underestimate the personal touch of a business card. Even in this digital age, people appreciate a well-designed business card. This is especially important if your business involves art or graphic design. Obtaining hundreds of cards is actually quite inexpensive when using Printing for Less business cards to spread the word. If your card is aesthetically impressive, expect to rake in more business from word of mouth. This is only part one of your first impression to potential customers, however.
Part two is having established a functional, simplistic and intuitive mobile site for customers. Mobile users generally won’t tolerate sites that are not optimized for mobile. A single bad experience will drive users away and damage your brand. Place yourself in the mind of mobile users when testing out your site. Forbes recommends using Google’s GoMo site to preview your site just as it would appear on a mobile device. HowToGoMo.com also exhibits plenty of case studies of company’s mobile success stories, mobile research and a directory of mobile developers and agencies provided by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Brian is a freelance writer who lives in London.