Own a Business? Increase Sales With a Mobile Friendly Site

Jenn Reichenbacher |

October 1, 2013

Mobile Devices

The continued growth of tablet usage is driving new opportunities for businesses that embrace e-commerce and deliver a cross-medium shopping experience optimized for the consumer regardless of the device they use. Tablet users enjoy browsing on their devices, finding items they like and buying them on the go. The convenience of shopping from a tablet creates a fun, easy and carefree way to buy, but a surprising number of these consumers never make it through the checkout process. Why? Because many retailers simply drop the ball when it comes to creating websites that are optimized for tablets and other mobile devices. In those cases, this sub-segment of consumers has a negative experience and abandons their transactions, leading to lost revenues for the retailer. Shopping on a tablet or even smartphone sounds like a natural thing to do. After all, who doesn't like the idea of shopping while on the train, waiting in a doctor's office or if you’re just out and about? 

A recent survey by TheFind shows that the desire is certainly there. The problem lies in the fact that many retailers turn a blind eye to the importance of having mobile-optimized websites. Many mobile apps fall far short of people's expectations and their needs as well. According to the survey, 40 percent of those who don't use their tablets for shopping say it's because the available sites and apps just aren't up to par. More specifically, a full 49 percent of respondents said that a lack of optimization was their biggest complaint. That's not to say that people who own tablets, smartphones and other devices don't shop online. The survey shows that 87 percent use them to browse while 71 percent make purchases from time to time. The point of the survey - and the thing that should strike impact you most as a retailer - is that many people choose not to make purchases due to a lack of mobile optimization.

You may think that you can afford to miss out on this kind of business, but that's going to become less and less true. The survey also reveals that 40 percent of tablet owners are using their devices to make purchases more regularly than they were just a year ago. That trend is sure to continue, and retailers who expend the effort to make fully optimized mobile sites will rake in the benefits. Those that don't will be left out in the cold. Where do you want to be?

Checkouts Need Improvement

Many retailers do the bare minimum to create mobile presences. The problem is that they don't seal the deal by ensuring that people can get through checkout with ease. People want to feel secure with the process every step of the way. They can "walk away" at any time, and it looks like many of them do at checkout. In other words, your mobile site or app doesn't just need to have great product descriptions, snazzy images and a user-friendly interface. It needs to have an optimized checkout as well, or people will abandon their carts and never return again.

Customers Want to Make Purchases on Their Tablets

There's no lack of enthusiasm for shopping on tablets. The same survey shows that two out of three people would prefer to shop with their tablets and mobile devices using shopping apps. The problem remains: There is a dearth of decent shopping apps to use. Companies that actually have them are going to blow away their closest competitors. In other words, you can start blowing away your closest competitors by prioritizing mobile optimization. It really is that simple, and it doesn't have to hugely expensive or extremely involved.

How to Draw in Mobile Shoppers

The key to earning the business of mobile shoppers is straightforward: You need to make it as easy as possible for them to shop on your website with their mobile devices. The simplest way to achieve this is by creating a responsive website, which is a site that adapts to render correctly on different types of devices. In other words, one site will look and function just as well on a tablet as it will on a computer or smartphone. This is the most advanced and convenient way to create a functional mobile presence.

That's not the only option. If you're happy with your existing website and willing to hire someone to create a separate mobile site, you can do that as well. Another option is to have someone develop a mobile shopping app. Regardless of which of these options you choose, however, you need to make sure that the developer optimizes the entire process so that it's as user friendly and easy as possible. Give it several test runs yourself and have others test it out as well. Don't allow it to "go live" until you're sure that it's ready for prime time.

If you don't already have a solid mobile shopping platform, you're missing out on all kinds of exciting opportunities. The longer you wait, the more you're going to fall behind the competition. By having a top-notch mobile shopping platform developed now, you will be able to draw in new business and gain an important leg up on the competition. People who own tablets and other mobile devices want to use them to shop. The question is whether or not you'll be there to accommodate them.