5 Reasons “Going Mobile” is No Longer Optional

Zubaz pants.

Cassette Walkmans.

Slap bracelets.

Websites that aren’t mobile friendly.

You may be surprised, but all of these things are still around and being produced in 2015. (The Amazon results for “hammer pants” are particularly delightful.)

While the first three are mostly retro relics of the 80s, brought back by hipsters for ironic impact, desktop-only websites are still incredibly common. And they’re still being created today.

Maybe it’s a stubborn web dev department, or just a casual approach to technology adoption, but for whatever reason, only 60% of the Fortune 500 have mobile-friendly websites. Venture outside of those elite businesses and the percentage likely grows.

While being mobile-friendly was still rather optional in 2012, three years later it’s essential not only to the customer experience, but in a businesses’ ability to be discovered in the first place.

1. Consumers are already there

The individual reasons why a mobile-friendly presence is critical would comprise a long list. But allow us to distill it down a bit to a few high points that should drive the point home:

Estimates project over 70% of North America will be toting smartphones this year. But what should really inspire you is what they’re doing with those devices. Mobile has overtaken the desktop in a number of categories, including time spent with digital media, search, pre-purchase research, email, social media, and so on.

In other words, most functions that were once performed on a desktop are now happening on a mobile device. Not having a mobile-friendly website is the 2015 version of not having a website at all.

Perhaps most exciting to you should be the fact that mobile users tend to spend more than desktop users. Cha-ching!

2. Search demands it

Major panic and hustling ensued earlier this year when Google announced that mobile-friendly sites were going to get priority in mobile searches, and by all indications, mobile-friendliness is now a major factor in search results.

Another factor in search engine algorithms is bounce rate - or how many people leave a site without clicking anything else. Bounce rate indicates the search engine sent the user to a bad result, resulting in a penalty. Non-mobile-friendly sites viewed on a mobile device have very high bounce rates.

3. It isn’t going away


New Call-to-actionBy all accounts, we’re still just scratching the surface of what we can do with mobile technology. Wearables are still in their infancy, mobile wallet adoption is still on the runway, VR is on the horizon, biometrics, second screen experiences, mobile POS...there’s still a lot to come, and many more things we haven’t yet heard about.

The more things progress, the more they’re going to become integral to the everyday lives of consumers. Look at the smartphone itself - 10 years ago they were barely in existence. Today, we’re actually having a serious conversation about the ramifications of smartphone addiction.

4. It’s where social media is

If you have any social media presence at all, there’s a good chance those channels are major traffic referrers. According to at least one study, social media referrals to ecommerce sites is rising 50% YOY. And where does most social media interaction occur?

Yep, mobile devices. Running into a non-mobile-friendly website on a mobile device used to be no big deal. It was part of the experience. But we can all fess up to getting just a little annoyed when it happens today. The pinching to zoom in, trying to hit the correct link on a tiny navigation’s just not a great experience.

5. Your experience can accelerate

Look, all of the previous mentions were more technically-focused, geeky preferences. The real reason you need to optimize everything for mobile is because it’s an opportunity to create a great experience for everyone who comes into contact with your brand.

A great customer experience means getting people to what they’re looking for as easily and quickly as possible. Anything else is asking consumers to jump through extra hoops, jeopardizing the relationship before it ever starts.  

For example, if you search "tacos" in Google in your desktop, the top result is the Wikipedia page. Search for it on mobile, and the top result is a map and listing of places nearby offering tacos.

We can't all have the capabilities that Google has, but they've nailed the concept of having a unique experience geared toward mobile. 

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Stop: Hammer Time

“U Can’t Touch This” was a great song in 1990. I’m not ashamed to admit I still think it’s a fun listen every now and then.

Old school websites don’t really have that nostalgia. Sure, it’s funny to see an old Geocities website, or the “I Kiss You!!” guy every now and then, but people don’t want every experience to be like that.

A great, native customer experience is where a brand can first convert a visitor to a prospect or a customer. It’s also a key component of customer loyalty. And today, most of those experiences are probably going to begin on a mobile device.

That means a mobile-optimized experience isn’t really optional any longer. No brand can afford to have a visitor’s first reaction be a sigh, or a kitschy comparison to 80s relics.

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(Walkman image courtesy of Tom Taker)

Topics: Customer Engagement

Written by: Brandon Carter

Brandon is a former writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter at @bscarter

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