Mobile Matters

How Your Mobile Website Can Attract Customers- or Repel Them

How Your Mobile Website Can Attract Customers—or Repel Them

by: | October 11, 2012

Mobile-optimized business websites are no longer the exception—they’re the expectation. Sixty-one percent of U.S. adult smartphone owners say they would quickly move on to another website if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site, according to a new survey conducted this summer by independent research firms Sterling Research and SmithGeiger, on behalf of Google. Another 50 percent say that even if they like a business, they’ll frequent them less often if their website isn’t mobile-friendly.

“Without a mobile-friendly site, you’ll be driving users to your competition,” said Google Mobile Ads Marketing manager Masha Fisch. “In fact, 67 percent of users are more likely to buy from a mobile-friendly site, so if that site’s not yours, you’ll be missing out in a big way.”

Close to 75 percent of consumers say they prefer a mobile-optimized site, but 96 percent state they’ve encountered sites that were clearly not designed to render on smartphone browsers. That’s a huge problem, obviously, but it’s also a comforting thought if your small business still hasn’t given its website a mobile makeover—not only is it not too late to step into the mobile age, but you can still get a jump on the competition if you take action now.

The numbers speak for themselves. Seventy-four percent of smartphone owners surveyed say they’re more likely to return to websites that deliver a superior mobile user experience, and 67 percent say that when they visit mobile-optimized sites, they’re more likely to buy the products and services it offers. On the other hand, 48 percent of respondents express feelings of frustration and annoyance whenever they land on sites that aren’t mobile-ready, and 36 percent feel they’ve wasted their time visiting those sites—moreover, 52 percent say that a negative mobile experience left them less likely to engage with the company in question, and 48 percent believe that firms without mobile-optimized sites don’t care about their business.

“While the research confirms what we already suspected—that mobile users actively seek out and prefer to engage with mobile-friendly sites—it’s a sobering reminder of just how quickly and deeply users’ attitudes about companies can be shaped by mobile site experiences,” Fisch said. “Having a great mobile site is no longer just about making a few more sales. It’s become a critical component of building strong brands, nurturing lasting customer relationships, and making mobile work for you.”

And if you think smartphone owners still make up a small minority of your customer base, think again. As of July 2012, 234 million Americans aged 13 and older use mobile devices, and more than 114 million of them own smartphones, reports digital research firm comScore—in addition, 51.2 percent of all U.S. mobile subscribers now access their phone’s browser each month. With mobile ownership and traffic surging, comScore also forecasts that the number of mobile Internet users will surpass desktop Internet users sometime in 2014. Overhauling your website for mobile now is one surefire method to help guarantee your small business is still around when that paradigm shift takes place.

Posted in: Branding, E-Commerce, Mobile Development, Mobile Matters

About the Writer:

Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of the FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper e-newsletters as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the website All Music Guide. Additional credits include efforts for publications including Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics and No Depression, along with liner notes for a number of album releases. He lives in Chicago.

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