Whether you offer a service or product, have a web based business, or a brick and mortar, or both mobile commerce is going to become more and more important to cater to. A few areas to consider in the mobile commerce arena to get you started are mobile phones, mobile apps, and tablets.
Most businesses have a website and feel that is all they need to fulfill their accessibility/validity quotient and although a website is vital in this digital age, making sure that all visitors can access it is key. I mean, why build a website if when your visitors arrive they cannot quickly access the information they came for?
The first step in understanding the usability and functionality of your website is to do a little research, you can hire someone to do this for you or do it yourself.
- Visit your site from multiple web browsers i.e. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Safari.
- Visit your site from multiple devices, i.e. Desktop, Laptop, Tablet, Smartphones, and web enabled mobile phone.
- Look at your site analytics for browser and mobile visitor usage stats.
Your web developer probably tested your site out in multiple browsers when they were building your site, but there have been browser updates since then that could make your site look funky or have slowed down the load time of your site. Take a look so you can catch it before your visitors do, web visitors especially first time (unique) visitors will not be forgiving with a slow loading site or coding issues. If you find issues contact your web master and have them check it out.
With a well coded site your website should look good in any size monitor, but your site may not perform well on a Tablet, Smartphone or mobile phone. Flash sites for instance will not be seen on most mobile devices, and large information and media rich sites may not come out flatteringly. You need to see what your current and potential customers see.
Your website analytics will tell you a lot about your site visitors. If you take the time to check out the data and then act on that information you will have a site that results in a higher visitor to customer conversion ratio. It is important to look at the behavior of your visitors, the number of visitors, time on site, average number of page views, and clicks. It is important to look at where they came from and how they are accessing your site by researching the referring sites, keywords, web browsers, devices, and operating systems they are using.
Don’t get caught up in just the big numbers, most website owners look at the larger demographics and cater to them. For example if most of your website visitors use Firefox, you could focus on making sure your site performs well in Firefox but perhaps the reason you do not have more Internet Explorer visitors or they do not stay on your site as long is because your site does not perform well in that browser. Do you see what I mean? Don’t miss out on opportunities.
This includes mobile traffic, your numbers for mobile visitors maybe low which could be due, to a poor performing site or, to the fact that your target audience is not a mobile web user. But as mobile usage grows your demographics will change and the need to compete on this level will increase, so why wait?
Here is a snapshot of our site’s mobile visitors. In this snapshot we can see that the percentage of mobile visitors is low and that some of our site averages are lower, except time on site that is a little higher. So we have enough information to keep them there, but we may not be pushing to mobile users or making it easy for them to find additional information.
Also, we do okay with the iPhone, iPad, and Android, but not as well with BlackBerry and web capable mobile phones. This is something for us to consider, our target is businesses and professionals and BlackBerry is still a popular device in those demographics.
Here is a snapshot of our blog and here we can see comparable stats in everything except time on site. We are way down which could be because our blog is information and media rich. We will need to develop either an app or a mobile version to compensate for this. Through click tracking we know that Facebook and Twitter provide quite a bit of traffic to our site and with 62 percent of Twitter users and nearly 200 million Facebook users accessing the networks through their mobile device that could be an important demographic we are missing.
Research, Build, Measure…..Repeat
If you want to be successful in the digital marketing universe, research is vital. You have to know what is going on on a macro level and then bring that down to a micro level, accounting for your specific needs, goals, and resources.
What we have shown you above is some of the research we will use to build a better mouse trap. Once we build it, we will measure it, do some more research and then add to or take away from our construct. This is the only way we can stay current and generate ideas for innovation; that point where we step away from the pack and lead – a goal that should be shared by most businesses.
On top of our internal research it is imperative that you look at the current consumer, technology, and marketing trends. We have found a couple articles with some excerpts listed below that will get you started.
Great article on Mashable: Tablet Commerce Expected to Explode in 2011 [STATS]
In the post by Mashable they discuss mobile commerce, tablet commerce and social commerce as reported by Forrester. Forrester’s take on social commerce for retailers is grim, but in my opinion that is due in most part to retailers lack of knowledge on how or what to track for ROI in the social sphere. We will discuss that in a later post, for now the important information to look at is the mobile and tablet usage.
Key Takeaways for us were:
Forrester half-jokingly coined the term “t-commerce” in the report section covering tablets and online retail. “In spite of the fact that the iPad was only introduced in the spring of 2010,” its analysts write, “it immediately proved to be a formidable driver of traffic through mobile devices. Many retailers report that already half of what they consider to be mobile traffic is coming through tablet devices.”
Forrester opines that the smaller form factor of smartphones make them a less-than-ideal device for would-be mobile shoppers. And while smartphone traffic will continue to supplement web-based online retail, Forrester says, “Tablet devices, on the other hand, will grow by capturing share from traditional PC web traffic by untethering shoppers from their desktops, enabling easy browsing in a living room, during a bus commute to work, or at an airport.”
Great article on MobiThinking: Global mobile statistics 2011
There is quite a bit of information in this posting about global and U.S. mobile statistics, do not get mired in the mindset that “you are not targeting globally so why should I care about these numbers”, instead look at the global and national statistics as trends that you trickle down to a local level. The businesses that look globally and react locally will be the ones to succeed in the coming years.
key Takeaways for us were:
PART A: Mobile subscribers; handset data; mobile operators
1) Mobile subscribers will surpass 5 billion in 2010 (that’s over 70 percent of the world population) and growing rapidly, led by China and India.
• What other medium offers that reach?
2) Mobile devices sales rose in 2010, while smartphone sales showed the strongest growth, but feature phones still outnumber smartphones 4:1.
3) By 2011, over 85 percent of new handsets will be able to access the mobile Web.
• Please note that this does not mean smartphones – you do not need a smartphone to access the mobile Web (but it does make for a richer experience).
1) What do consumers use their mobiles for? According to ComScore’s comparison survey data (June 2010) Japanese consumers are still much more advanced in their mobile usage, with 60 percent accessing the mobile Web and 54 percent using email, but with the US at 34 percent and European consumers at 26 percent they are catching on fast:
2) Most popular activities on the mobile Web are mobile search, reading news and sports information, downloading music and videos, and email and instant messages. In the future, money transfer; location-based services; m-health and m-payment will be key drivers.
1) SMS is the king of mobile messaging.
The ITU (October 2010) estimates that 6.1 trillion messages will be sent worldwide in 2010, that is triple the number sent in 2007 (1.8 trillion). That means 200 000 text messages are sent every second, earning operators US$14,000 every second (if a the average text costs US$0.07)
• The most number of texts are sent in The Philippines and the United States.
Portio Research (February 2010) estimates that SMS is used by four billion consumers worldwide and that worldwide SMS traffic will exceed 10 trillion in 2013.
• MMS, mobile email and instant messaging are all growing strongly. The driver for MMS is the number of camera phones, for mobile email is the business market and while IM is popular with the youth market.
• The global mobile messaging business is worth over US$150 billion, and will hit US$233 billion by 2014.
2b) Shopping on the mobile Web, i.e. m-commerce will reach US$119 billion in 2015 predicts ABI Research (February 2010), that’s about 8 percent of the total e-commerce market:
• Today, Japan is king of m-commerce, where mobile Web shopping exceeded US$10 billion in 2009, making the US$1.2 billion bought in the US by mobile look trifling.
2c) Top m-commerce retailers:
• In 2010, eBay consumers bought and sold over US $2 billion worth of merchandise on eBay via mobile, up from $600 million in 2009. According to Steve Yankovich, vice president mobile at eBay, this $2 billion in gross merchandise volume is derived 78 percent via its numerous mobile apps and 22 percent mobile web.
• “In the last twelve months, customers around the world have ordered more than US $1 billion of products from Amazon using a mobile device,” according to Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com (July 2010).