By Raj Kamal
Sep 11 , 2010
With the exponential growth and rise of smart phones, your business must also adapt to suit online customer needs.
An idea is always considered ridiculous till it proves itself a phenomenon. Same can be said for e-commerce that met with huge criticism in its early days, is it safe or not? Is it viable or not? With the popularity of the internet and stupendous advancement in the fields of mobile technology, e-commerce is here and that too, with a bang. Sites that are equipped with proper phone-support get a huge advantage and are preferred by world leaders such as android, blackberry etc.
These claims are backed by evidence based on facts and numbers. ABI research has estimated that online shopping via mobile technology in the United States of America. from the year 2008 to 2009 more than trebled, reaching a whopping $1.2 billion. It is estimated that panning the globe, customers will splurge $119 billion by the year 2015 via mobile online shopping, constituting roughly 8% of all the e-commerce happenings. Juniper Research has gone a step ahead and estimated that the entire value of mobile transactions will multiply fourfold from $170 billion today to a staggering $630 billion at the end of the year 2014.
Hence, mobile e-commerce looks to grow exponentially in the near future. What must be your plan of action then? First and foremost make a website that supports the use of mobile devices. It should not only be mobile-friendly but also be designed so as to accommodate all the restraints in the mobile devices. This would be a well-defined step in the direction of the ever-growing, ever-changing industry.
There are three basic ways to implement the change:
A Simple, Well-Defined Layout and Intuitive Navigation
You must remember that a mobile screen cannot and will not possibly be as large as a monitor or laptop screen. Even the mobile phones that boast of large screens are comparable to our palm size, so it would be a smart move to cut down on ornamenting your web-site and make it strong in content. Since a customer using a smart phone for business deals is probably a busy person and wouldn’t like to scroll through unnecessary pictures before getting down to business. The page should be well-organized and intuitive in navigation.
Try to use relatively bigger fonts, remember that one would use the mobile phone for business while on the move and not in a comfortable room with a desk. It would be practically impossible to read small fonts on your mobile phone screen while in a car or a train. The user shouldn’t have to strain their eyes in order to work; they already have enough stress to deal with.
Navigating the mobile site should be made simpler as compared to standard web pages, since it requires getting used to. Try to reduce the number of links and keep and option to go back to the home page directly on every page, this would save time and confusion. Online shopping sites have gained major acceptance and merchants who are yet not online should do so very soon. Ebay mobile has seen tremendous rise in sales in the past few years and the figures continue to escalated, the sooner you get on this ship the better for you. People have become e-addicted, auctions and sales on the internet continue to draw a lot of attention and profits.Make sure your correspondence links emails are clearly legible and available.
Bandwidth and Mobile Check-out
Ensure that the mobile check-out facility of your site is good enough. Since usually the mobile transactions are made publically, people are generally apprehensive about giving out personal details such as credit card information and the overall check-out experience. Incorporating a pro check-out utility that saves the data on-line will improve the overall experience.
Take steps to optimize and reduce the consumer’s bandwidth usage by reducing video-streaming or heavy animation. Carriers such as AT&T have reduced the service providing costs and other carriers will sooner or later follow suit, this will increase the number using smart phones considerably, but these customers are bound to be extra-careful in the amount of bandwidth they use.
You could link your website to relevant mobile apps and social networking sites. Say, use Google Maps which would give directions of your actual store or give discounts to users who advertise your website on their blogs or use location-based social sites to publicize their visit to your online store. Such integration would give you a wider scope to advertise your site and attract more customers.
Keep in mind though the mobile device constraints that would limit you to go all out in creating an attractive website. Remember to limit the embellishments to provide easy access to the main content in your web-site. Another consideration is the Apple iPad which is a genius device. It is a device that falls somewhere between a smart phone and a laptop; it is mobile and has the excellent gesture-recognition features of the iPhone and a large enough screen to accommodate any standard web-page equally well. So you would have to compete with heavy, standard sites where customers that use iPads are concerned.