It's not surprising that mobile shopping has been making headlines recently. What is a little more interesting is just how much of an impact smartphones and tablets have had on the commerce world. A recent Mashable article published an infographic that highlights some of the ways mobile is shaping ecommerce and traditional retail. Here are a few of the key points:
• 103 percent increase in smartphone web traffic from 2011 to 2012
• 37 percent of smartphone shoppers take pictures of products in stores
• 35 percent of smartphone users search for stores on their devices
The importance of mobile was also discussed in a recent Entrepreneur article written by Jason Fell, the website's technology editor, who said nearly 50 percent of adults in the United States use smartphones. According to the article, organizations that don't have a mobile version of their websites are likely turning customers away. The 35 percent of users who search for stores on mobile devices may be frustrated if they're unable to find relevant contact or location information.
"Take, for example, a recent excursion I had with a friend in New York City's Upper West Side," Fell wrote. "We were on the move, smartphones in hand, looking for a particular restaurant - which will remain nameless - to grab a bite to eat. I used my Motorola Droid Razr to look up the restaurant's website but all I saw was a white screen with two links to download PDF files of the lunch and dinner menus. No contact information. No hours. No easy-to-read menu. Sorry, no business from me."
Fell's article focused on small business, but it's important for organizations of all sizes to consider mobile hosting services, not only to guarantee a high level of website performance for mobile users but also to have the flexibility required to experiment with new web layouts and new features. The article offered three tips for designing the mobile version of a website:
• Display crucial information at the top of the page, in plain text: This includes the company's location, relevant contact information and a brief description of service.
• Don't include Flash-based videos: Many devices don't support Flash, and videos can significantly increase load times for smartphone and tablet users.
• Make information easy to read: It's important to make information as accessible as possible. Mobile users don't want to have to navigate several pages or download documents for important information.
Designing for mobile doesn't have to cause headaches. Organizations can also benefit by using ecommerce platforms with mobile-friendly templates to streamline the design process while still adding some of the brand's own flare to the aesthetics and layout of their sites.