Tuesday, 24th April 2012, 12:36:18
It's common knowledge that a strong website presence is essential to good business practice. A company's site is often the first point of call for any potential customers, and a negative experience may deter them from pursuing the firm in question any further.
These days, however, a well-designed website is not enough to hold consumers' attention. In order to be successful, businesses must be optimised for the mobile world.
It is largely due to the increasing prevalence of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. These easily-transportable electronics are everywhere: at home, on public transport and even in the workplace. In fact, a recent study by Lieberman software revealed that 94 per cent of firms reported an increase in employees bringing personal devices with them to the office.
In a recent Technology Barometer survey by ABI Research, 25 per cent of respondents said that they intended to buy a smartphone during the first half of 2012. One only needs to look at the hype surrounding the new iPad and the highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S3 to know that the consumer love affair with mobile devices is unlikely to sour anytime soon.
With a mobile device, consumers can instantly access the internet quickly and conveniently from wherever they are.It is therefore perhaps unsurprising that there was a huge 132 per cent year-on-year rise in smartphone and tablet search volumes this year, according to the British Retail Consortium.
Google's retail director Peter Fitzgerald said that these figures provided more evidence of the "growing importance of mobile".
"These statistics demonstrate the growth potential of online for UK retailers and the part retail can play in building a recovery based on exports, given the right conditions and a genuinely free-trade world market place," he said.
That is why it is crucial, particularly for e-commerce firms, to ensure that they are mobile ready. If a mobile site is poorly optimised in such a way that undermines this convenience, the consumer is unlikely to return to the company.
Figures show that bounce rates on mobile devices are significantly higher than for desktop electronics. Bounce rates refer to when consumers log on to an online retailer site but leave without purchasing anything, and in this case can be attributed to a lack of mobile optimisation.
It is not only browsing problems that are putting consumers off their m-commerce (mobile commerce) purchases. Researchers at Stanford University recently discovered that badly optimised mobile websites were putting unnecessary strain on the battery power of many popular smartphones.
"We hope this paper demonstrates the importance of building a mobile site optimised for mobile devices," the report said.
"Sites who do not, end up draining the battery of visiting phones. This can potentially reduce traf?c to the site," it warned.
There was some good news from the report for Google, which was named as one of the greenest mobile sites to visit.It is apparent that the search company recognises the importance of mobile optimisation, as its recent Get-Mo launch focused on helping companies to develop their mobile online presence.
The message to businesses is clear: embrace mobile technology or fall behind the firms that do.
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