By now it should be widely accepted that businesses need both mobile apps and mobile friendly websites so as to be able to operate in the modern business world. Some people may still be tempted to question the need for a mobile app if they already have in place a mobile friendly website. However, if you just sit back and look at the facts, then you will see the logic in this. The truth of things is that we have gone mobile in a big way. People will rarely sit there mobile gadgets down and this has resulted in an increase the number of online purchase.
The modern day business dynamics dictates that you will need to move beyond a mobile-friendly website to attract and retain a reasonable number of customers to your business. | Kārlis Dambrāns (Flikr)
The modern day business dynamics dictates that you will need to move beyond a mobile-friendly website to attract and retain a reasonable number of customers to your business. Your business will have to advance to the level of a mobile dedicated app. A mobile app will let consumers keep in touch with your business though their small screen in the way they are used to keeping in contact with their other favored businesses.
The good news is that many small businesses have already seen light at the end of the tunnel and are therefore developing their mobile apps as the days go by. They have come to realize that app development is a very essential component of their marketing strategy. The rapid development in technology has made things better than before. App developers have an opportunity to come up with apps which have got better features and are easier to use. This has boosted the performance of the mobile apps.
It would however be untrue to claim that mobile apps only benefit small businesses. Large businesses have been able to benefit tremendously from the mobile apps. Research has been done to show the types of small businesses that are making use of the mobile apps. A great percentage of the businesses that make use of mobile apps are in the health and food industry. Hairdressing and automotive industries also take a considerable portion of the circle. Religious organizations, charities, event organizers and legal bodies have equally not been left behind. If you look at almost any industry you can find an example of a business making use of mobile applications to help their business grow.
Given the fact that developing a mobile app is very cost effective, it is within the financial capability of most businesses.
All these should however not lead one to the conclusion that mobile websites should now be forgotten. Mobile web sites are essential to help you be found by new customers. These websites be developed in such a way that they provide more personalized experience, just like a mobile app.
The most recent forecast from IDC predicts that the smart devices market will grow 15.6% in 2014. This would have the smart device market reaching close to 1.8 billion devices. This growth is expected to be lead by smartphone growth as PC and tablet sales expectations have been lowered slightly. IDC further estimates that shipments will grow to 2.4 billion units in 2018 and expects smartphone shipments to outpace total PC shipments by more than 6 to 1 in 2018.
“Apple’s iOS-ification of Mac OS, and Microsoft’s implementation of Modern UI throughout different form factors are clear indicators that we’re living in a mobile-first world,” states Jitesh Ubrani, IDC Research Analyst.
Further illustrating the move to smartphones as users primary devices are usage numbers. The amount of daily time spent on mobile devices is now outpacing TV in the U.S. (according a newly-released 2014 AdReaction study from Millward Brown). On average U.S. users now spend 151 minutes per day on smartphones and only 147 on average in front of TVs. In China users spend an average of 170 minutes per day on their devices.
xAd and Telmetrics 2nd Annual UK Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study states that up to 46 percent of UK consumers now use mobile devices as their primary medium for purchase decision making, while one in four use mobile devices as their exclusive shopping research device. Mobile applications and mobile web sites are becoming more important than ever as they are becoming consumers primary point of contact with brands.
In a recent study by Constant Contact, mobile web users made up a lower percentage of overall restaurant web site visitors than visitors to their regular web sites. Which wasn’t surprising, but, the study showed, that mobile web site visitors remain on the site’s menu pages for a longer period of time. Broken down by format, the average tablet viewer was on the site for just over 5 minutes, desktop users for 4 minutes 56 seconds and mobile/smartphone users for 4 minutes 41 seconds. These are great numbers for viewing times when compared to other industries.
Given the effectiveness of the mobile web for restaurants, it is important that restaurants take advantage of the opportunity.
What are the best ways to do that?
First, make sure you include your daily specials and promotions. When you update the menu with specials or promotions, make sure you update the online menus. A CMS works wonders for restaurants. That way customers have a reason to visit on a regular basis.
Second, make sure you include pictures. Images of food increase website views and conversion. Use strong visual images to wow potential guests. Pictures of what you offer is one of the main reasons visitors reach your site, make sure you are giving potential consumers the information that they are looking for to increase conversions. Keep in mind the mobile format and download speeds when formatting images.
Third, make sure you include your menu on social networks like Yelp. Make it simple for diners to find out what is on your menu as they browse those sites.
Mobile consumers are on the go right now and looking for local businesses information while they are doing so. Mobile is potentially a highly profitable investment for restaurants if you give users the information they are looking for in an effective format.
According to new report from Usablenet, most smartphone owners are reaching out with their smartphone to shop, and not to talk. Over three-quarters (79 percent) of American shoppers and two-thirds (64 percent) of British shoppers are using smartphones for browsing and shopping via both websites and mobile apps.
Looking deeper at the report we find that 70 percent of American shoppers have their mobile phone while shopping in-store and that a full 30 percent of US shoppers report that they use those mobiles to get a better in-store shopping experience. Additionally it is reported that 77 percent of American shoppers prefer browsing via their smartphone but buy using a tablet or computer. Not surprisingly, most American shoppers do not bring tablets into stores with them (78 percent).
“Right now, we are seeing retail shoppers regularly using their mobile devices to check all sorts of store and product related information while they are shopping” states Kimber Johnson, Pacific App Design’s Managing Director. “Currently there is a massive opportunity for retailers to integrate mobile with their in-store experience and we are seeing savvy businesses taking advantage of this opportunity.”
To better appeal to mobile shoppers, Usablenet suggests that retailers should focus making it simple to buy online, or in-store, by expediating check-outs and making it quick and easy to find about product availability or other product data.
In a recent survey, taken by Google and Ipsos, data suggests that promoting telephone calls from mobile sites is very important. Specifically, the survey shows the value of a “click to call” button included on mobile web sites and in search data, as a substantial number, 70 percent, of users using mobile search used the “click to call” directly from Google’s search results.
But why are searchers using “click to call”? 59 percent of mobile searchers stated that it was the need for speed that motivated them to utilize “click to call”, 57 percent wanted to speak to a real person and 54 percent said they needed more information than the website could provide. Breaking down the data further, the primary reasons stated for calling a were to check business hours (52 percent), making a reservation or scheduling an appointment (51 percent) or to inquire about inventory, availability or booking information (47 percent).
Businesses that don’t have a “click to call” button in search results risk losing business to their competition. 41 percent of mobile searchers will check out other brands in the event their chosen brand has no “click to call” and another 41 percent state being annoyed and frustrated by the lack of “click to call” feature.
“Based on the research, driving phone calls should be a priority for businesses.” says Kimber Johnson, Managing Director of Pacific App Design. “A click to call button has been shown to be very effective in turning searchers into potential customers and should not be ignored in a businesses mobile marketing efforts.”