It doesn’t take much to notice that consumer reliance on mobile and mobile search is growing at an enormous speed. But just how important is it for businesses, even small business, to create a powerful mobile experience for their users? Well, according to a new Google-sponsored study , that need is being called “critical.”
To get a better understanding of what users want from mobile, Google hired third-party research firms Sterling Research and SmithGeiger to conduct a survey that polled 1,088 adults on their feelings about the mobile Web. The results may confirm what we already suspected, but still provide an interesting read.
Not surprisingly, the survey showed that the opportunity that exists in mobile is considerable. Seventy-five percent of respondents say that they prefer a mobile-friendly site and 67 percent said they are more likely to buy a site’s product or service when they visit a mobile-friendly website. Add that to the fact 96 percent of users said they had stumbled across sites not designed for mobile, and the opportunity available for savvy businesses is clear.
And it’s not just considered a “positive” to have a mobile site, it is looked at as a serious negative if you do not. Why? Because according to the survey, if consumers aren’t happy with your mobile experience, they won’t just end their search there. They’ll keep trying competitor sites until they find an experience that works for them.
- 61% of users said that if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site, they’d quickly move on to another site
- 79% of people who don’t like what they find on one site will go back and search for another site
- 50% of people said that even if they like a business, they will use them less often if the website isn’t mobile-friendly
By not focusing on mobile, you not only lose that conversion, you hand-deliver it to a competitor website. You can’t afford to do that.
The survey also found that having a non-mobile site can negatively affect your reputation in the eyes of your customers. Sites that are not designed for mobile leave customers feeling frustrated, which then impacts their overall impression of the brand.
- 48% of users say they feel frustrated and annoyed when they get to a site that’s not mobile-friendly
- 36% said they felt like they’ve wasted their time by visiting those sites
- 52% of users said that a bad mobile experience made them less likely to engage with a company
- 48% said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business!
Ouch! Do you really want to tell nearly 50 percent of people that you don’t care about their business by NOT having a mobile site? My guess is no!
Small business owners need to make sure that they have a functioning mobile version of their website. I know that my company  is steadfast about making sure clients are doing all they can to attract customers, regardless of what device they are accessing them from.
What should SMBs consider when it comes to mobile?
Know how your current site looks: Have you checked your site on a mobile device lately to see how it displays? If not, there’s no better day than today to find out. Google offers business owners a free tool to help SMBs learn how they’re already doing and where they can improve.
Understand mobile surfers are task-oriented: While the number of “casual” mobile surfers may be growing thanks to higher functioning devices, the majority of mobile users are task-oriented. They’re accessing your site while on-the-go because they’re looking for specific information. Perhaps it’s directions or a menu or hours. Go into your analytics and see what pages are getting the most views from mobile devices and then set your site up to highlight this information and make it easily available. Help customers to work through their tasks faster and the numbers show they won’t forget it.
Mobile users are low on patience: Users accessing your site via their mobile device are less likely to hop through hoops looking for information. Instead, they’ll just try another website. Likely a local competitor. Keep users on your mobile site by prioritizing the information you show, making content easy to read/skim through, and requiring as few clicks as possible. The more you make someone look for the information or wait for something to load, the greater the chance you’re going to lose them in the process.
Make conversions easy: Outside of just lowering the number of steps, make it easier for users to finish tasks. Shorten forms, use checkboxes to make data entry easier, and make phone numbers clickable. Use big buttons with lots of padding around them to prevent against accidental clicks. Without the benefit of a keyboard and mouse, it can be tricky to perform tasks on mobile that are seamless on the desktop. Be aware of these limitations and account for them.
Take advantage of free resources: Google’s Mobile Playbook  and How To Go Mobile site offer SMBs with great resources to learn more about mobile
Above are some SMB-friendly tips to make sure your presenting as great of a mobile experience as you are a desktop experience.
How have you integrated mobile?
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