Despite 25 per cent of shopping-related searches coming from mobile devices, recently released data by Google has found that four in five Australian businesses don’t have mobile-friendly websites.
In a blog post, 2011 Christmas retail search trends: Santa’s got a smartphone, Google A/NZ Head of Retail, Ross McDonald, delves into some Christmas shopping trends in Australia and their connection to smartphone use.
While statistics like the one above may seem as if businesses are shutting the door on one out of every four customers during the most important retail period of the year, McDonald feels that it’s still not too late to mobilise for Christmas.
“Our data shows that this Christmas, more people than ever will be looking for you on mobile phones,” he said.
“But Christmas is a marathon, not a sprint, which means it’s not too late to be early – yet.”
McDonald’s first recommendation is to do a “mobile health check” to see if your website has been optimised for mobile browsing.
“It’s not hard to find out whether your site passes the test,” he said.
“Google provides a quick and easy tool that shows you how your current site looks on mobile and provides a personalised report on what’s working, and what could be improved by simply accessing www.howtogomo.com.”
Another solution is to use a smartphone to open your company’s website in the phone’s browser and start exploring to see if it is mobile friendly.
The second step is to figure out what you want your customers to do on mobile, such as how your customer will find and use your site, and focus your efforts on the parts of your site that meets their immediate needs.
Once a business has decided what they want their customers to be able to do, businesses can make use a free tool like Google’s mobile site builder on howtogomo.com and the six simple ready-for-mobile templates that are available.
“Studies show that customers often use their smartphones to research, call, and visit physical businesses,” McDonald said.
“That means that for many retailers, the best thing to do is create a mobile-friendly landing page with focus on the basics, like location, hours, and contact information.”
Once the mobile-friendly website is up and running, McDonald suggests that businesses start looking into mobile ads, as they offer several capabilities that more traditional digital formats don’t.
“Google’s click-to-call ad format enables users to tap a phone number to call a business directly from within an ad, while Hyperlocal features tell customers how close they are to an advertiser’s physical location within the ad,” he said.
Finally, Google’s advice is to build your mobile ads strategy around what your customers want by asking yourself how you can best reach your customer when they are using their mobile device.
“If you want to drive foot traffic to your store, location is especially relevant,” McDonald said.
“Choose an ad format that includes directions and a map within the ad to direct prospective customers to your store with directions and a map within the ad.”
Alternatively, the business could choose a hyperlocal ad that shows distance information within the ad, alerting customers that they’re close enough to the business to visit it.