Do Customers Care If You Have a Mobile Website?

For many business owners, the introduction of the idea that they need to have a mobile website (let alone mobile strategies and tactics) is just one more thing. One more signal trying to punch through the white noise of the ever growing wash of new trends, technologies, and concepts that they’re told they need to adopt if they really want to drive their businesses successfully. So why is the mobile web any different than anything else on that pile? Especially if you already have a desktop website?

 

Answer: Because customers care. They care a lot.

 

The Mobile Consumer Environment:

  • As of June 2012, smartphone penetration has reached 55% (Nielsen, 2012).
  • This means of the 300 million people in the U.S. who carry smartphones, over 150 million of them are smartphone owners.
  • 4 out of 5 of those smartphone owners have integrated them into their buying behavior and decision making process. (ComScore, 2012)
  • That gives us about 120 million mobile consumers.(as of June 2012 – smartphone adoption continues to grow rapidly!)

 

How are these mobile consumers integrating mobile into their buying habits?

  • Chart_131% research via mobile before making an in-store purchase.
  • 40% research via mobile before completing their purchase via a desktop computer.
  • 20% research via mobile before making their purchase from that mobile device.

 

And, So What….?

The key takeaway here is that all of them enter their respective sales funnels through mobile, with over 60% of them making an immediate beeline for a retailer or service provider’s website (Mediative, 2013: “Spotlight On Local Mobile Consumer Search Behavior”). This gives us between 65.5 million and 72 million mobile consumers (and growing!) whose first impression of you, your business, and your brand is shaped by the experience you provide (or don’t provide!) them on their smartphone.

 

How does that experience impact your brand equity? To what extent does it drive consumer engagement? Most importantly, how much might a poor mobile experience be affecting sales? The recent Google report “Reasons Mobile Matters” offers some insight:

  • 66% of respondents said, “If I really like the brand or company, I’m disappointed if the mobile site is a bad experience.”
  • 55% said, “A frustrating experience on a website hurts my opinion of the brand overall.”
  • 67% said, “A mobile-friendly site makes me more likely to buy a product of use a service.”
  • 52% said, “A bad mobile experience makes me less likely to engage with a company.”
  • 52% said, “If I don’t see what I’m looking for right away on a mobile site, I’ll quickly move on to another site.”

 

The full report can be found here: http://www.howtogomo.com/en/d/why-go-mo/#reasons-mobile-matters

 

Ultimately, providing a poor mobile experience can directly impact lead acquisition and sales. So, don’t do that. I’ll introduce some best practices in next week’s post that can help assure that you’re providing the best mobile experience possible. In the mean time, you can get a feel for your customers’ experience simply by visiting your own website on a smartphone, and see what you think. Is it a good experience? Is it a poor one? Is that experience helping you meet your goals (lead gen, sales, marcomm, ‘other’), or is it handicapping them?

 

Your customers care about their mobile experience so like it or not, you need to too. For more information about how MoFuse can help ease the stress: Click Here!

 

 

 

69 thoughts on “Do Customers Care If You Have a Mobile Website?

  1. Yeah.. mobile website is the most wanted right now. Many people already using their mobile to access internet as the main tools instead of using real computer. Thank for highlighting this..

  2. yes ,definitely customers Care If business a Mobile Website or not . As the no of users on mobile are increasing so businesses should have mobile site.

  3. Mobile website is needed if you want your business to grow you have to keep pace with technology. I am Pro!

  4. Thanks for sharing great post for Mobile marketing. I think upcoming years will totally dominate to Mobile search and will have more value than desktop websites.

  5. A lot of people are catching on quickly when it comes to mobile marketing. However, I really don’t understand why so many websites which are custom made for mobile phones and tablets look so bad. It is like they think that mobile users don’t want to see any design! Low budget maybe?

    Good article, thank you!

    • Thank you for commenting! I think cost/budgets are certainly a factor, especially if someone is DIYing it and they themselves aren’t a designer or developer. But I think the main culprit is that mobile is still maturing. It’s easy to forget how new mobile still is because of how rapid the adoption of it has been, at least over the past few years. As mobile continues to mature, so will the tools and technologies that are used to build mobile websites. Nothing can replace an experienced web designer. But as the tools mature, people of all skill levels should find it easier and easier to build out better looking and better performing mobile sites with minimal investments of time and money.

  6. Even if no one cares, having a mobile-friendly website is necessary in 2013 when a good portion of readers are using mobile devices.

  7. I really need to get my website more compatible, but am having problems doing it with all WordPress Plugins! Currently I get 30 Facebook likes, 70 Twitter follows and 500 website hits to my business via Mobile Phone per week! Which means you defiantly need a website compatible with mobiles!

    Keep up the great posts!

  8. I have found specifically instead of having just a mobile website and standard website you can do just fine with a theme that is responsive to mobile browsers instead. I do think it’s important to adjust for mobile browsers but with most wordpress themes able to handle that job there is almost no reason not to be using one. Especially considering the amount of smartphone users today.

  9. Thanks for sharing great post for Mobile marketing. I think upcoming years will totally dominate to Mobile search and will have more value than desktop websites.

  10. If you don’t have a mobile website you are falling behind, the growing percentage of m-commerce transactions proves that you need to get on board.

  11. A lot of the visits to my website are from mobile… it is a must have a responsive site.

  12. The usage of Mobile is increasing day by day and the Business owners wants to facilitate the their customers. So they are offer mobile websites so that their customer will access their website from mobile any where and they can get access to buy prducts and services

  13. About 25% of my pageviews are from mobile devices. I don’t have “customers” but I have very loyal blog readers. I’m amazed people want to read my posts on their phone, but so be it.

    This mobile business is tricky for me because my husband and I travel full-time in a sailboat and an RV and we haven’t had a cell phone since we started our travels 6 years ago.

    I recently found out that the banner photo and post headline on my site look weird on mobile devices, but I haven’t had a cell phone since 6 years ago and I have no idea when or how I will set about troubleshooting this issue.

    I know mobile is the way of the future. But it’s so darn hard to keep up while living on the road!!!

    • Hi Emily, thanks for commenting! Given your nomadic life of high adventure, it sounds like a smartphone and the mobile web would be a perfect fit. Regarding your display troubles, you do have a few options. There are a number of WordPress themes out there that are ‘responsive’, meaning they’re able to assure that your blog will display and resize correctly on any device. Alternately, build a custom mobile site (like, say, on the MoFuse platform!) and host your blog via RSS feeds (which are easy to set up, with a WordPress blog). Either option would ably solve your problems

  14. The use of smartphones is increasing everyday and many people use it as a computer on the go. So having a mobile website has huge potential.

  15. Mobile searches are increased day by day. I had attanded one webinar and for the same thry had one survey that how many people love to check their smart phone. And more than 80% usersa says yes for the same. After completing webinar I had decided to make my website mobile friendly and now I am not only getting traffic for my website but getting business from mobile searches…. I think that’s power of Smart Phone…..

    • Thanks for commenting! Some website platforms like WordPress offer themes that have been built to be responsive, meaning, those sites will automatically rearrange and reconfigure themselves to best fit the parameters of the device the site is being viewed on.

      Then there are dedicated mobile website platforms whose sole purpose in life is to create mobile optimized websites. Some approach this through ‘scraping’ whereby they look at an existing desktop site, attempt to grab content and design information, and embed all of that into a template optimized for mobile. Others (like MoFuse’s) allow users to easily build a mobile optimized website from scratch.

      There are pro’s and con’s to each approach, and each approach lends itself better than the others to different types of websites. Very content heavy websites that need to have all of that content available to mobile users tend to be great candidates for ‘scrapers’ for example, while less content heavy but more feature oriented or functional sites tend to translate better to mobile when built from scratch (though if you don’t have a desktop website, the choice is kind of made for you).

  16. If you want to retain business and gain new clients a great mobile website is a must! People are on the go now, constantly working on their phones. Simple, clean, and professional mobiles are needed.

  17. Yes ofcourse, people take interest in anything related to mobile phones these days. Cell phones are getting advanced every day, you’ve got everything in it these days, you feel incomplete without your phone :D You can access internet, sit on face book, what else do you want!

  18. Absolutely! As a web designer, most of my customers don’t even realize how often they go to their favorite websites on their mobile device. I’d say most of us for convenience will see a website first through phone, after interacting with said product or business. Having a mobile website is an absolute must for any business owner looking to grab a larger chunk of their market. Heck, I bet they’ll see a huge advantage against their competitors having one prior to them.

  19. Personally, I find that mobile websites leave out important parts of the page in many cases. Some sites will not let you view the desktop version from a mobile phone which in some cases means some sections are left off, like the comment section.

    • Thanks for commenting, Robert! Effectively delivering content is certainly one of the keys to successfully optimizing a website for mobile users. The key there being mobile users, not mobile devices. Especially content heavy aspects like comments sections or online forums are tricky because they don’t translate easily into good mobile user experiences, and in many ways the nature of those beasts flies directly in the face of a number of best practices (lots of text, lots of scrolling, awkward formatting of post/reply relationships).

      Weighing the inclusion of specific kinds of content vs. the overall user experience is a core challenge facing any mobile marketer. However to your point, if you know that a lot of your mobile users are looking for the comments section, then one should certainly find a way to make it available while preserving that mobile user experience as best as they can. I also agree that mobile sites should always allow some way to access the desktop version of the site, if only so desktop content can still be reserved specifically for the desktop site, but mobile users have easy access to it if they really want it. By default, for example, we embed a dedicated link to a mobile site’s associated desktop site in the footer of every mobile site allowing for easy access, while keeping it out of the way (assuming there is an associated desktop site and the site designer wants to allow such access).

  20. I think yes they care about it because lot of costumers (I’m one of them) are browsing internet using their iphone or ipad so it’s extremely required to have a mobile version of your site.

  21. In my eyes, Mobile Sites are now the next big thing. Things have evolved a lot and now people moving away from their latops prefer to do all that they can through their smartphones.

  22. Would you say mobile users are more apt to be in a buying state of mind than desktop users?

    • Hi Paul. This is a fantastic question!

      I would, yes. Mobile users are generally in a much more action-oriented state of mind, meaning, when they’re accessing the mobile web, they’re doing so with the intent of accomplishing some specific task. Because of this, whether they’re using local search to find a place to eat, researching product or service information, or visiting a mobile website looking for mobile coupons or other offers, mobile users do indeed typically demonstrate a more immediate intent to buy compared to desktop users – especially when we’re looking at local markets.

      Note that this doesn’t directly translate into immediate conversions or actual mobile commerce, however. For example, the majority of eCommerce consumers still prefer to make their actual online purchases via desktop or tablet, though we are seeing consistent growth in mCommerce-based conversions.

      There are a great many articles and studies out there that explore this topic in greater depth. But to start with one reference, xAd just released a related study that offers some actual facts and figures for current consumer trends: http://www.xad.com/about/news/46-exclusively-use-mobile-for-researching-local-products-services-study
      . The study offers some great insight into how consumers are integrating mobile into their buying behavior, and at what stages in their buying process are they integrating mobile.

  23. Thanks for this good article. I do feel it is nowadays important to provide a good mobile user experience. But you need to make sure that you provide the right functionality as well. There are many sites where the desktop site is difficult to use or read on a mobile device but the mobile site lacks some of the functionality I do need. So I end up switching between the two sites all the time. If it is a site I do not really need, I just end up not visiting anymore…

  24. Yeah .. mobile website is the most wanted right now. Many people already using their mobile to access internet as the main tools instead of using real computer. Thank for highlighting this..

  25. Hi! Thank you for the insights sir! :) I’m a newbie tech blogger and yes, i do feel that mobile site’s are very important in today’s market.. So now i’m thinking of getting myself a “Responsive” Website theme so that it ll fit itself for mobile, tablets etc!

  26. Our small business have only recently had our eyes opened to the potential of mobile, as we’re in the recruitment industry. As we didn’t build our website with mobile in mind, we may need to revisit the drawing board.

  27. Would you say it is better to have a specific mobile site or a site that works well on mobile devices? http://www.as-photography.co.uk seems to work on most mobile devises as it is so would i still need a mobile only site?

    • Hello! I took a look at your site, and it does indeed work pretty well on a mobile device. The reason being, however, is that the site itself is very well designed with minimal clutter, a lack of content-onslaught, and the pages were built for vertical scrolling. These are all things that fall into mobile site design best practices. So because of the excellent site design, you can certainly get away with it as is. But there are a few things that stand out: your nav menu displays quite small on mobile devices, your photo gallery is Flash based, the site reads MUCH easier when viewed on a mobile device held in a horizontal orientation as opposed to a vertical one, and though my iPhone recognized your phone number for what it was and correctly prompted me to call/not call when I tapped it, the number itself doesn’t display prominently on mobile devices and it struggles to serve as its own compelling call-to-action because of it.

      Do you need a mobile site after all is said and done? Ultimately, it does depend on your audience. If your desktop site analytics are reporting that you’re seeing a lot of traffic from mobile devices, and if you also seem to have a high bounce rate, there certainly might be some causation there (as per the data in the article, and mobile trends and preferences in the UK seem to be similar to US trends and preferences). But if most of your traffic isn’t mobile, and/or your bounce rates are where you want them, then you could certainly be fine with just the desktop site.

  28. I think having a mobile supported website is very important, because everyone is one their phones and tablets, and they use it more that a laptop or a home computer. For my site I invested in the mobile support for the website. Now I am paying a monthly fee for this but I think is worth it.

  29. I defenitly think sites should focus more on mobile marketing, since more and more start using mobile phones for searches. Thank for sharing your post!

  30. I think in these days more and more people are using mobiles to surf on the internet instead of desktop. So it is very important that you must have a mobile supported website along with the desktop website. This is very good for your business point of view if you are targeting visitors to your websites through online marketing.

  31. Ofcourse there are a lot of users on mobile these days and they need to get information fast and with responsive themes it becomes easier for user to use the websites..!

  32. Mobile website is such a huge hit and business should aware and keep up their strategies with this trend. Wherever their customer are, business should also be there.

  33. of course it is important. the use of smartphones and tablets grows every day. In this sense, webmasters really need to think about the further possibilites of local SEO!

  34. It depends on what type of business you have. Ecommerce sites, information magazines, social networks or other can count “need degree” with Google Analythics. Sometimes mob. version is more important than desktop one but sometimes the situation is reversed.

    • Hi Lynn! Very true, and you bring up an incredibly important topic/point: mobile works best when it’s a part of a broader marketing strategy. Not all businesses have the same needs, but all of them (in this day and age) do have some “need degree” for a mobile site.

      How that mobile site is integrated into the business strategy however, can vary wildly. In some cases, a mobile site should be built as a main point of contact and conversion. In other cases, it should indeed be focused on lead gen/lead acquisition – perhaps driving traffic to a company’s full desktop site. Thanks for bringing this up!

  35. Really informative post. Thank you for sharing. It’s so hard to keep up with technology and the demands of consumers, but it seems like if you are not up to par on the web then you are really missing out. I recently launched my own website for my tree service business, and I have been talking (mostly to my kids) about their thoughts on it. That’s one thing I’ve heard a lot of business owners talking about, converting their sites so that they are more mobile friendly. It looks like the numbers are there to support such a move. I look forward to reading more on this topic.

    • That’s really what it all comes down to, absolutely, is the numbers and data. And they’re all saying the same thing – our consumer culture is evolving into a primarily mobile consumer culture.

      Fortunately for business owners, it’s not just about keeping up with yet another tech trend. Mobile technology offers many features and capabilities that are just making it easier than ever for customers to find and connect with sought-for businesses. It’s also opening up a number of new windows through which business owners can better understand their customers and their markets

  36. People definitely use their smartphones. And lots of times the first impression about a firm comes through them. The fact that the conversion comes through their desktop implies that some developers give the weight on the desktop view and lower the user experience in mobile devices. That could result in lessening customers taking for granted that some of them shape their first impression through mobile. Furthermore, a non optimized and non friendly mobile version is the main reason (from my point of view) that people do not complete transactions through mobile devices. They just remember if they liked the content and go for the desktop mode for further activity. To sum up conversion is a matter of functionality. Buyers use smartphones mainly for research. Having an optimized mobile version is of high importance and ideally give weight on checkout experience through such devices.

    • It’s very true that consumer trust in mobile transactions and mobile payments has seen MUCH slower adoption than consumer adoption of the mobile web. I agree that part of it is certainly that the user experience many mobile payment solutions offer is still maturing. But there’s been a tremendous amount of movement and development in mobile commerce this year – both integrating mobile with POS or POP as well as full mCommerce solutions.

      I’m expecting/optimistic that 2013 will continue to see the needed maturation of mobile commerce solutions. That in turn should aggressively drive adoption rates in 2014.

  37. In Malaysia, mobile website is still not common yet. However, i find that it is a must to create a mobile website to cater for future IT requirement.

    Your article is really good information for me.

  38. I’m glad I found a blog that is covering this information, Ted!

    As an online tax website, we are struggling with designing a mobile layout for our website for next tax season. If you look at our site now you see one of our displays doesn’t show(because it uses flash, I assume.)

    From the other responses you have given to others with similar questions, I gather I need to focus on making the content more simple and focus on customer acquisition. Do you think having a special promotion focused on filing or paying for your tax return on your mobile device is a good business strategy?

    Thanks for all the numbers, this is definitely something I need to show my boss!

    • Hi there, and thanks for posting!

      I took a look at your site and my iPhone, and yep! Flash isn’t supported on any mobile device at this point (Adobe even canned development of Flash for mobile a couple years ago).

      As to your second point/question: I would agree that designing a site around customer acquisition would be a good way to go. The desktop site, as might be expected, is covering multiple bases from branding, to customer acquisition ,to account management, to education, and more. That works great for a desktop site but I’d offer that, that’s way too much for content for most mobile users. One great way of identifying what’s most important to your mobile users is to integrate Google Analytics into the site. Google Analytics will differentiate mobile traffic from desktop traffic, and help you compare and contrast where your mobile traffic is going vs. your desktop traffic. Whatever content the majority of your mobile traffic is consuming, and whatever content is most helping drive mobile leads? That’s what should be considered for the mobile site. Everything else? Leave it for the desktop site. Also pay attention to how your call-to-actions display (like the ‘Register’ button, ‘Contact Us’, or social links). How much do your mobile users seem to be influenced by them (i.e. are they interacting with them)? Another big perk with mobile sites is that they help get those calls-to-action front and center for mobile users (e.g. a click-to-call number icon/button placed at the top of the mobile homepage).

      Finally, offering mobile-only incentives/promotions on a mobile site is a fantastic way to cater to mobile traffic. Utilizing mobile coupons, or launching a QR code campaign that brings users to a dedicated campaign landing page, are additional mobile marketing tactics that can work exceptionally well in helping drive conversions.

  39. Wow great article and great blog. We really need to work more on our Mobile view of our website. We constantly get compliments for the cool design of our site, but I feel that it looses some style and character in the Mobile Version. Do you have any plugins or ideas to improve the mobile look of a webpage?
    Thanks in advance and keep up the good work!

    • Hi Nick, thanks for commenting!

      Your desktop site does look great, but from a mobile perspective, there’s a great deal of content that most mobile users may not be able to comfortably digest. Analytics data would give you a more objective window into what content would benefit from being hosted on a mobile site but subjectively, a mobile site that offers an RSS feed or few so that blog postings, photos, etc. can be easily shared in a mobile format would help mobile users focus on that content with minimal distractions (compared to the desktop site where there are a lot of things competing for their attention). Links to your guides might also be of interest to your mobile traffic, and would certainly make for incredibly practical content for a mobile user out exploring the world. Also, by building them into a mobile optimized site, you could make the calls-to-action that exist on the desktop site (i.e. your social media links, sign-up form, and donation button) stronger, by making them more readily accessible and noticeable to mobile users.

      It looks like your site is built on WordPress, and WordPress does offer some plug-ins that make a site somewhat responsive. But I’m not sure how much control over the site layout those plug-ins offer. With the caveat that I could be completely wrong, I’m guessing they tend to take more of a ‘kitchen sink’ approach, which is what you’d be trying to get away from. So, shameless plug: http://www.mofuse.com/build-it-yourself/ . We offer a 14-day free trial, so the price is right for some tire kicking!

  40. Sure it is important. smartphones and tablets will overtake computers and Laptops in popularity for surfing the web IMO so with that in mind webmasters need to consider it for SEO

  41. Mobile optimization is absolutely necessary for a successful site. Almost everyone has a mobile phone and there’s nothing more frustrating that trying to read a website for which one must scroll and search all over the place. In the end, I get frustrated and give up. This not only discourages readers, but buyers, and those that might click on ads as well. Revenue can be hugely impacted.

  42. A huge amount of people are browsing the internet on their phones, so having a mobile website is a must!

  43. Yes, I don’t think it’s more important than a “regular” website but it is certainly important to some people, especially adolescents and business people who are all the time connected to the internet through their cell phones, tablets, …

  44. Thank you for the wonderful article, Ted. You have made some very excellent points here and I especially like the statistic you stated from the Google Report of “If I don’t see what I’m looking for right away on a mobile site, I’ll quickly move on to another site” While I was reading the beginning of your article, I was thinking it myself. Personally, I agree with this as well. When I am using my smartphone, if I have to pinch and zoom all over their website to try and find the information I am looking for, then I will quickly move on. Don’t forget, the same can be said of desktop websites as well! Thanks again!

    • Hi Kristyle. Thanks very much for sharing your thoughts and your own experience! Not for nothing, that’s also a great acid test for any business wondering how effective their current site is (be it desktop or mobile) at engaging mobile users (outside of looking at analytics data). Visit your own site on a mobile phone and see if you like the experience or not.

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