Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Key to a Successful Holiday Season Going Mobile By Connie Certusi

With free two-day delivery and endless options literally at our fingertips, the holiday shopping season takes on a new meaning. The internet has drastically changed the way we approach the holidays.Increasingly, consumers are turning to mobile devices to do on-the-go holiday shopping, buying gifts when and where it’s most convenient for them. For small business owners, this means you should prepare your website for the busy rush of holiday shoppers.

According to IBM’s annual benchmark report, mobile traffic and sales surged across the e-retail board last year, with 45 percent of all online traffic coming from smartphones and tablets. Retail sales on mobile devices also jumped 27.2 percent year-over-year in 2014.  As m-commerce continues to grow, small business owners have an opportunity to grow their business and increase their customer base. To get your website ready for mobile customers shopping online,

Follow these six tips:

1. Research, research, research – To better understand how your customers use their mobile devices, conduct research to find out their device preferences and browsing habits. What time of day do they typically visit your site? How much time do they spend there? Learning these things will help you better understand what your customers are looking for when they visit your website and how best to prepare the content and layout to ensure the best customer experience.

2. Optimize for mobile users – Take advantage of the growth in mobile phone usage in retail and optimize your website for these customers. People are more likely to return to a site if it’s mobile-friendly. A few simple improvements can result in significant benefits.First, make sure your website is responsive and device-agnostic, with the ability to automatically adjust to different screen sizes and mobile browsers. Second, a mobile website must load pages quickly and reliably to make the checkout process smoother and give customers more confidence in your site.Third, have addresses and other information auto-populate and use geolocation to auto-fill city, state, and zip code fields. Finally, make sure images are clear and easy-to-read.

3. Keep it simple – While convenient, navigating a website on a small touchscreen can be cumbersome, even frustrating at times. To make your site mobile-friendly, keep the design simple, using easy-to-read fonts and placing the most important information at the top of the page. Avoid having too many buttons or buttons too close together by using smart button placement.

4. Consider a third party – Running a web site isn’t a small task and can become a point of worry and stress for some small businesses. Consider bringing on a third-party service provider to help you with website optimization. That way you’re fully prepared for the busy holiday season.

5. Don’t forget to test – Once your research is done and your site improvements are complete, test your site from every device and with different browsers to make sure everything is working. Test to make sure the site is fast and responsive. Ensure the site is easy-to-use by testing the buttons and forms. It’s always better to over-prepare and prevent problems than to lose customers or potential revenue because of a technological malfunction.

6. Think beyond the holidays – It may require some upfront time and investment, but building and maintaining a mobile-friendly website will not only set up your business for a successful holiday season, but also for success the rest of the year. Build long-term shopper relationships by keeping the user experience a priority.

Don’t miss out on the holiday shopping frenzy by having a website that’s not conducive to mobile shoppers. Follow these simple and impactful tips to make your customers feel more comfortable transacting on your website from their mobile device.



Article written by Connie Certusi, executive vice president of Sage Business Solutions at Sage North America

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