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Have you noticed how your website seems to become less and less effective at bringing in customers?  Your designer probably poured their heart and soul into producing the most user friendly, engaging and standards compliant creation that they had ever turned out.  But I have to ask a question.  Did anybody ask the customers what they were looking for or how they search for answers?  Did your designer understand the implications of  not building in effective mobile website design features?  In the last two years and more particularly in just the last twelve months, the whole process and demography of searching for answers has changed.

People’s Buying Habits are Changing: Your Customers are Going Mobile!

People – and most importantly, the people who are your best prospects and customers; are just getting into their groove, with the smartphones that have been burning holes in their pockets for a year or two.  Why is that important to you and your local business?

The “best” customers for your business, i.e. the ones with cash to spend, tend to be the most skilled with smart phones and expect businesses that want their business to be mindful of the time they have taken to become fluent.  This higher expectation of the businesses they deal with  and their short attention spans for anything that doesn’t work well with their mobile devices; is a real and growing Achilles Heel for businesses who thought they had just got themselves online successfully!

Whether the mobile device is: an ipad, smartphone… or Nexus with telepathic Google Now; if the website these customers find when they search for a service, a product or a solution to a real problem isn’t displaying well and needs zooming, they’re gone!  If that was your website, you just lost a customer!

Some Mobile Website Statistics to be Aware Of!

The New Media Trendwatch website has compiled a digest of significant data as it researches patterns of behaviour change in the UK.  The following is part of the scene setting for the slightly random collection of significant information that the rest of the article contains.

A recent study of UK mobile internet users by the Direct Marketing Association UK shed some light on how smartphone users in the country are conducting mobile internet searches.

The DMA study found that most UK smartphone users (68%) searched using dedicated apps such as those from Google, Bing, etc. Mobile searchers in the country were also slightly more likely to use a brand or store app (such as one from Amazon or eBay) (37%) than a mobile web browser (35%) to find what they were looking for.

In terms of what they were searching for, 54% of respondents cited news, making it the No. 1 mobile search category. Three out of 10 also said they commonly searched for information on local shopping using their phones – further evidence that mobile and local technologies are a natural fit for each other. Close behind in terms of search popularity were searches for movies and music, at 28% and 27% of respondents, respectively.

Top 6 mobile searches conducted by UK smartphone users, October 2012 (% of respondents):
1. News: 54%
2. High street retailers: 30%
3. Movies: 28%
4. Music: 27%
5. Local travel updates: 24%
6. Finance and insurance: 15%

As for why respondents were searching in the first place, practical considerations dominated. The top reason listed for using mobile search was for offers and deals, cited by 50% of respondents. Directions came in just 6 percentage points behind, followed by a desire to find information about a brand (40%)-a finding sure to be of particular interest to marketers.  (eMarketer, December 2012)


Local is Mobile:

As some of the figures above demonstrate, even here in the UK a large chunk of online local search happens from mobile devices.  Other evidence that has been gathered demonstrates that the size of mobile device has a bearing on the price points of  eventual purchases.  Typically, searches from tablets tend to lead to higher ticket price purchases.  I haven’t found the evidence for this yet, but I suspect the volume of purchases is still very much higher for smartphones than tablets, purely because tablet uptake lags behind smartphone use.

Here is a local example.  I searched for “taxi Carlisle”  The majority of websites and by implication the business owners haven’t yet bitten the bullet with mobile website design.  I can guarantee that at peak demand times people are searching for taxis from their phones!  Take a look and imagine the relative thumb gymnastics that have to go on to use these 2 example websites on the 3 phones in the screen grabs.  And also bear in mind the relative sobriety of many taxi customers, when they really do NEED a taxi 😉


A taxi firm in Carlisle no mobile website

A website un-optimised for mobile devices simply gives more and more customers a bad experience.   As Google focuses more on mobile, lack of a mobile presence can hurt your place in the search results.



One taxi firm has grasped the future and uses a simplified website structure that is easy for users to navigate and press with clumsy fingers.


Which of these are you more likely to respond to quickly?  Cumbria Cabs has its thumb friendly, intuitive navigation and little else to distract or slow down page load times. In contrast, the first competitor I happened to sample, does at least have the phone number visible at page load, but other than that, very little going for it when mobile device users find the website.  How will your customers react to your website when they finally become mobile searchers?

Contact Consulting Cumbria Ltd today to find simple solutions to your mobile readiness

Mobile Use Infographic via PayPoint