There was a time when launching a web site was one of the first tasks performed by a startup. Now that has been replaced by developing a mobile strategy—and then building a web site. That’s because mobile is the way that people now access web sites and the Internet.

Mobile designThis year mobile access officially became the primary way that consumers access the Internet, according to eMarketer. Roughly 51 percent of all digital media now is viewed on a mobile device, compared with only 42 percent for laptops and desktops. What’s more, ComScore reports that 11.3 percent of all web viewers now use mobile devices exclusively for web browsing. It is estimated that roughly 91 percent of adults have their smartphone within reach 24 hours a day.

 

Clearly, mobile has taken over as the front door to the Internet for most people. If you’re part of a growing company, your IT resources are likely stretched thin already. It’s important to spend time on the projects that have the most strategic impact. Prioritize mobile first to go where your customers will find you. Here’s 5 reasons why:

1. Mobile has its own requirements

Looking a web site on a mobile device is a drastically different experience than browsing from a computer. The need for website design that accommodates mobile users is so great, earlier this year Google created what developers called “Mobilegeddon” when it announced that it would lower the search results for any web site that wasn’t mobile friendly.

Mobile-friendly means a clean design, first and foremost, because small mobile screens cannot handle an overly cluttered page. The amount of text on a page also should be reduced, as mobile users need the ability to quickly scan pages and digest small amounts of content at a time. Further, sites designed for mobile lay greater emphasis on visuals, which work well on mobile, and generally favor responsive web design that adjusts layout according to the screen size accessing the site.

2. For a rich experience, try apps

Apps are a great way to extend your reach to customers on mobile, and may make sense if you can offer something truly useful with interactivity you can’t leverage through a browser.  Apps are stickier than web sites, helping a business build a continuous relationship with customers.

Developing an app also allows businesses to bring better functionality to users. Agora.io, for instance, when integrated into your app, enables businesses to implement click-to-call functionality directly into the app for a more seamless customer experience. Customers can click a button on the app and be connected directly with a customer service rep who can visually demonstrate product use by way of real-time video, and customers can ask pre-sales questions on chat or video while browsing at a store or considering an online purchase.

3. Mobile is how people shop

Roughly 75 percent of mobile users now use their devices for shopping while in-store, according to ComScore, and three out of every five web searches is performed via mobile device. An estimated 90 percent of these mobile phone searches result in a purchase or store visit.

This is largely because mobile devices are always by the side of consumers, so when there’s a need or a want for a product or service, looking for the right solution online and conducting research makes the most sense from a mobile phone.

With half of all travel and restaurant mobile searches leading to a purchase, it is incumbent that businesses realize that the most critical point of contact with consumers outside of an in-store visit is through mobile devices.

4. Marketing is more effective on the go

If you still are not persuaded on the importance of a mobile strategy, stop to consider this fact: 95 percent of text messaging coupons are opened within fifteen minutes of having been sent, as multiple studies have shown.

Since mobile devices are taking on an increasingly important role during the buying process for consumers, these devices also are the right vehicles for marketing and targeted promotions because they hit consumers while they are making purchases.

More than half of all smartphone users surveyed recently said they would prefer receiving promotional offers on their smartphones, and 70 percent of all Americans said they would be interested in special promotions delivered to their mobile device. Roughly 22 percent of mobile coupons also are shared with one or more friends, too.

Mobile phones are the preeminent vehicles for social media, and they are in the hands of consumers during the shopping process. This makes mobile a critical focus for marketers, and every business needs a plan for how they will market via mobile.

5. Millennials live by their phones

The millennial generation has officially overtaken the baby boomers as the largest single group of consumers today. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that there now are 75.3 million millennial consumers, compared with only 74.9 million baby boomers. Focusing on millennials is not just about catering to young consumers known for spending more than other age groups, it is about orienting toward the largest living generation in the U.S.

It should come as no surprise, too, that millennials are increasingly centered on their mobile devices as a result of being the first generation to fully grow up with the technology.

More than 85 percent of millennials use a smartphone, and 20 percent rely on it exclusively for Internet browsing according to ComScore. Three quarters use mobile for online research prior to purchases. If your business cares about the largest group of consumers today, it needs a solid mobile strategy.

Even if your business doesn’t care about reaching millennial consumers, you still need a mobile strategy. As we’ve shown, mobile strategy is no longer a forward-thinking business activity. It is essential, right up there with having a web site and a sales plan.

For more tips like these, with strategies on how to grow your business, visit xerox.com/smb.


Peter Scott is a journalist and editor who has been covering business, technology and lifestyle trends for more than 20 years. You can contact him at PeterEditorial@gmail.com. And JT Ripton is a business consultant and freelance writer who has penned articles for The Guardian, Business Insider and Entrepreneur.com among others. You can follow him and check out all of his latest articles on his twitter page @JTRipton

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