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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : January 11, 2011

Mobile is a must for retailers

With the introduction of the Internet retailers continually had to be convinced that if they wanted to survive and thrive in the 21st century they had to be online. But, in order to keep up with technology and consumer behavior, retailers are now being urged to make the move into another space - mobile - and for good reason.

by Helen Leggatt

foresee logo.jpgBy the end of this year, analysts predict smartphone use will outstrip feature phone use. That means more consumers than ever before will have access to retail websites and apps, and retailers that don't provide a great mobile experience will feel a knock-on effect both online and in their stores.

Around two-thirds of the U.K.'s online shoppers currently use, or plan to use, their mobile phones while out shopping and in the U.S. 11% of shoppers used their mobile phones to make a purchase over this festive season.

On the whole, shoppers remain slightly more satisfied with traditional websites than mobile websites and applications, found ForeSee Results. This is largely due to mobile being a less mature channel.

However, Larry Freed, CEO of ForeSee Results, warns that consumers aren't concerned with the challenges faced when designing a mobile experience because "their expectations are being set by the best websites and the best mobile experiences".

It's not enough to merely have a mobile presence. The mobile experience must be such that consumers won't be turned away by slow-loading and badly-formatted pages.

In fact, by providing a satisfactory mobile experience, retailers pave the way for shoppers to go on to purchase via other channels. ForeSee Results' survey found shoppers who are satisfied with a mobile experience are 32% more likely to go on to purchase from that retailer online and 31% more likely to buy offline.

"It's another reminder and a nice way to quantify that every customer touch point matters to overall loyalty and sales," said Kevin Ertell, vice president of retail strategy at ForeSee Results. "Retailers cannot afford to ignore or even neglect the mobile experience and assume it won't hurt their traditional online or in-store business."

Make a good impression on consumers and keep them coming back to your mobile website by following these five basic tips.

1. Keep it simple

The golden rule of mobile website content is "less is more". Cut out unnecessary images, or give visitors the option of whether to view them.

2. Cut down clicks

Make information easily reachable without the need for excessive clicks or typing.

3. Hone the homepage

Consider what features customers find most important to the mobile shopping experience and highlight them on the homepage.

4. Be finger-friendly

Touch screens are becoming more widespread. Users will be using their fingers to navigate. Make sure content and links are large and clear to make navigating the site hassle-free.

5. Test

What looks great on one device may be a complete turn-off on another, so test mobile websites on as many platforms as possible.

Tags: mobile marketing, mobile website

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