Shane Nolan, director UK & Ireland SMB at Google, explains why a seamless mobile experience is vital for any brand
What is the first thing that you do in the morning? Turn on the radio? Put the kettle on? Given the stats, I’d hazard a guess that the answer is most likely that you check your phone. Amazingly, two-thirds of smartphone users say they check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning and 87% of millennials are attached to their devices constantly, day and night. As a result, the world’s two biggest search engines, Google and YouTube, both have more searches coming from mobile devices than desktop computers.
Small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) need to start investing in a mobile marketing strategy in order to reach consumers when they are searching for products and services. The potential is huge. Retail foot traffic has declined but consumers are spending more when they do visit stores – simply because they’ve done their research and made decisions before they’ve walked through the doors. The tools are there to provide people with solutions to their problems when they search whilst pushing forward relevant offers based on their interests.
Many consumers that search on mobile don’t have a specific brand in mind when looking for a product. This provides an opportunity to get in front of them first and drive clicks to your site over a competitor's. The executive team at beauty retailer Sephora noticed how often its customers browsed on their phones while in store. Whilst many retailers may fear that customers are using their mobile to shop elsewhere, the Sephora team was eager to see how they could tap into this behaviour in a meaningful way. The company learned that most of these customers were looking for reviews of the products in front of them or trying to remember which shade of makeup they’d bought last time. With these needs-based insights in hand, Sephora developed a mobile website and app specifically to serve shoppers in those moments. Understanding how to be useful matters because it drives advocacy in a world of consumer choice.
Quite often you’ll find that those smartphone users that do search for a specific brand will eventually purchase from a different one if the information provided was useful. This could be anything from showing a nearby store where a particular searched-for item is in stock or having a customer helpline number clearly displayed and clickable. Remember, even if the sale itself doesn’t happen on a mobile device, that doesn’t mean it didn’t play a significant role in the sales process. Conversions need to be measured and analysed with both mobile and desktop in mind and you need to think about all the ways consumers use mobile to connect with your brand.
Finally, don’t forget that having a mobile site that takes too long to load or has too many steps to reach purchase or desired information will drive today's consumer away. This is why it's worth investing in the creation of a fast, seamless experience.
This article comes courtesy of Digital Garage, Google’s online initiative that provides free digital skills training on everything from building a website to analytics.