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Mobile Friendly Websites are more than just Fashionable

By Paul Fitzgerald for America's Backbone Weekly

With the mobile revolution now at its peak, it's hard to look anywhere and not see groups of people staring down at their screens. Our lives are now on our phones. Whether we're looking for news or staying in touch with our friends on social media, our phones are usually the first place we turn. Tablets are also phenomenally popular. For a lot of people, they're replacing the PC as a platform for reading and internet browsing. We even shop on our phones and tablets now. A 2012 study by comScore, Inc. revealed that 4 out of every 5 smartphone users shop with their phones. A 2013 comScore study revealed that in June 2013, 55% of all online shopping occurred on a mobile device (44% on smartphone, 11% on tablet). That was 2013, and statistically, the number of mobile shoppers is rising. With this in mind, let's look at some reasons you should have a mobile-friendly site for your retail business.

  1. More and more, customers are turning to their devices to shop. They simply want to be able to shop on their phones and tablets, and in today's competitive retail environment, giving your customers what they want is essential for success.

  2. Mobile phones and tablets have small screens which regular web pages weren't designed for. Regular websites are distorted and messy when viewed on a phone. Usually they are downright unnavigable. Customers may leave and never come back.

  3. If you only have a regular website, Google might not display it among the top results when people are searching on their phones or tablets. This is because Google can tell if you're using a mobile device and adjusts its search algorithm accordingly, favoring mobile-friendly sites.

  4. Mobile-friendly sites are particularly helpful for small businesses. A 2014 Google study revealed that 50% of consumers who searched on their phones for a local business went there within the next 24 hours, whereas only 34 percent of desktop or tablet searchers visited the store.

  5. The range of smartphone demographics is wide. A 2014 study by Pew Research showed that people across gender, socio-economic and age groups now own smartphones. So it's not the case that by building a mobile-friendly site you'll only be catering to a limited demographic.

  6. A study from Google and Ipsos found that 94% of consumers searching on a smartphone want to call the business right away. Google's convenient click-to-call button shows up in Google ads, letting them call you instantaneously. If you're not using Google ads, a prominent call button on a mobile-friendly site will let your customers connect right away.

The need for a mobile-friendly site couldn't be more apparent in this day and age. If your budget allows, you should also consider making Android and iOS apps for your store. Customers can install the apps directly onto their phones and tablets, meaning they won't ever need to search for your virtual storefront again. They'll literally be carrying it in their pockets.

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