The smartphone dominates the modern world. The average Briton spends a day a week on their phone, a staggering figure that’s indicative of the vital role that phones play in our lives. It’s hard to believe that just over a decade, their primary use was to make calls and receive texts, with a handful of bonus features and rudimentary multimedia options. Now they pack state of the art cameras, graphics capabilities that can render 3D games and an immense library of apps that extend their functionality beyond what even the most aspiration technophile could have imagined.
They are the lens through which a staggering portion of society sees everyday life: the source of their news, the way they enjoy their music, the remote for their tv, the way they respond to email, the way that they pay for things and, crucially, the way that they interact with businesses. A potential customer can find out your prices, how that compares to your rivals, how you treat your customers, how you treat your employees and pretty much anything else about you. More importantly, they can do it almost anywhere and anytime, with an item the majority of people have glued to their persons. This is an enormous, paradigm-shifting change: your entire digital presence is just a few finger taps away.
81% of consumers, for example, have searched for a restaurant on a mobile app in the last six months. More than half of searches related to auto parts, services, and maintenance come from mobile. The list of statistics goes on and on, and all points to one clear message: not only is the potential there for consumers to use smartphones to inform their purchasing decisions, they are very much taking it.
Which is why it’s imperative for your brand to have a strong digital presence, to respond to complaints and queries on social media, to have a good set of online reviews, to have a website that’s clear and informative on every common device. The latter is particularly important. Google is now ranking sites differently based on whether they’re view on mobile or desktop. With mobile traffic now the majority in the UK, it’s crucial to provide a mobile site that Google will rank highly, lest you lose that valuable source of business.
Perhaps even more importantly, consumers themselves don’t just desire a good experience on mobile, they demand it. 46% of people have said that they will not purchase from a brand if they had an interruptive mobile experience. It’s an incredible stat, a black hole that swallows almost half of potential leads and repeat customers without a trace. Worse still, with a mobile in hand it’s very little effort for them to find a competitor who’s doing in right and take their business there.
So, how can you adapt to this radical shift in the market?
Start by making sure that your website is completely responsive on mobile, which means that it all scales down to work on the smaller screen. Functionality ceasing to work as it should, squished images and designs that don’t fit on the screen are all deeply of-fputting to customers.
Next, make sure your website is optimised to load quickly. An elaborate and beautiful site isn’t useful if it takes 8 seconds to load as 3 seconds is the limit for 53% of people.
Set up a reviews page online on your relevant niche site (for example, TripAdvisor). Actively respond to reviews, especially negative ones. Likewise, if you use social media you should make a serious effort to address any complaints sent your way.
Make sure your business has an accurate and informative Google business listing, ideally with great photos.