When it’s time for a new pair of kicks, a dress for a friend’s upcoming wedding, a birthday present for a niece or nephew, or an anniversary present for your significant other, our first instinct is no longer to hop in the car and drive to the mall. (Who still does THAT?) Instead, we look to our phone, which is probably already in our hand – or at the least very nearby. This is especially true of millennial shoppers, who seem look to their mobile devices as an extension of their being, or as companions for whatever task they are trying to perform.
How Popular is Mobile?
According to recent statistics from Hubspot, “One-third of people use their smartphone as their primary device to access the internet.” That’s a pretty significant chunk of people that aren’t viewing your website on a desktop application. And, according to an article published on Marketing Land in early 2016, “Mobile now represents 65 percent of digital media time, while the desktop is becoming a “secondary touch point” for an increasing number of digital users.” Finally, according to recent comScore statistics, “Mobile devices now account for nearly 2 of every 3 minutes spent online.” We’re definitely spending a lot of time on our mobile devices.
So, what does this mean, and why is it important to business owners and other stakeholders? In a nutshell, it means that if you’re not mobile-friendly, you’ve missed the boat. The ship has sailed and you’re going to have to swim out to sea and climb on board, or you can wave the future goodbye as it sails away. And, let’s face it: More and more, without a strong and dependable digital presence, your business may as well not exist.
Sorry to be so blunt but, when it comes to having a mobile website design and strategy today, you no longer have a choice in whether to conform. If you want to thrive among today’s consumers, your website must be available for both desktop and mobile viewing, and the latter is becoming more important than the former.
A Smarter Shopping Companion
Today’s consumers are using phones and other mobile devices as their go-to reference points to help choose the best products, at the best prices, in the shortest amount of time. Phones and tablets are easily stored in pockets and pocketbooks for access while riding the bus, waiting in line at the DMV, or even while physically shopping in a store. People are using them as a smart companion, to make sure they’re making the best decisions possible based on the information available.
How Are We Using Mobile?
According to recent Google research on mobile websites and apps, “The top two reasons people turn to their phones for shopping is to browse products and find discounts and deals.” Let’s face it; even when you find a product for a price that seems reasonable, there’s always that part of you that’s wondering if you can get a better deal. Can you find it at a store nearby for less? Or can you find a bigger or better version for the same price? And it’s not only products and consumer buyers who are using their mobile devices for that research, either. Business purchasers and services purchasers are also using their devices to research, compare, check credibility, and look for options or alternatives.
Our mobile devices allow us to entertain all those thoughts and exhaust all of our options before making a purchase. With a few clicks and/or scrolls, we can compare prices, browse products, look for discounts or special offers, read reviews, demo a product, talk to a salesperson, confer with an expert and more, all from the palm of our hand. Plus, we can do all this while our other hand is being used to eat ice cream, pump gas, sip coffee, etc. So, that’s what we do. In fact, according to Google, 58% of people use their smartphone for shopping-related activities.
Are We Using Apps or Mobile Sites?
Both. Smartphone users tend to both apps and mobile sites when shopping online, but they use them for different reasons. According to Google’s latest stats, “Consumers use apps to keep up with loyalty programs and share their purchases. They turn to mobile sites for browsing and information.”
Did you hear that? Consumers are more likely to perform purchasing tasks such as comparing prices, browsing for products, reading reviews and finding contact information using a mobile website. Is your website optimized for mobile? If it’s not, you’re missing out – no matter what you sell, or what kind of consumer buys it.