Mobile ecommerce is changing the online user landscape. The number of people using their smartphone or tablet to browse the internet now exceeds desktop computers. This trend is set to continue, especially within the workplace as digitally-enabled employees embrace the convenience of online and mobile facilities.
It is reported that 80% of people use their mobiles for work and 60% of B2B employees regularly use their mobile to buy supplies online. Below we’ve explored the impact of this development on the B2B food and drink sector and outlined what considerations you need to make to ensure your website doesn’t become obsolete.
Most businesses now have some form on online presence, whether that’s a website, a business listing or a social media profile. These have become essential for businesses to increase brand and product exposure, provide customer services and trade online.
Irrespective of the type of online presence you currently have, developments in how your customers engage with you online are evolving. If you do not adapt it may mean your website has limited benefits to users, lowers its return on investment for your business, and potentially even become obsolete.
What threats does the migration to mobile devices bring?
It is well understood that a quality online experience is essential for gaining and retaining customers. Your customers are busy and will not tolerate a website that is difficult to use or navigate. A poor online experience may result in your customers reverting to traditional channels, or worse, your competitors.
As mobile becomes increasingly prevalent for customers, your online presence must be optimised for these devices. Research by Google revealed that over 60% of users are unlikely to return to a website that is difficult to access on a mobile devise and 40 % said they would visit a competitor’s site instead. With indications that over 80% of users are having a poor experience, a clear gap is forming.
What benefits does the migration to mobile devices provide?
The ability to provide access to your products and services on a mobile device provides several advantages to your customers that we anticipate will encourage you to adopt a mobile-friendly website:
- Convenience – Mobile devices are generally to hand and accessing the web is quick and easy for customers.
- Portability – Mobile devices are transportable for customers who are often on the go, this means online orders can be placed in situ – whether that’s in a restaurant kitchen or on the shop floor.
- Added value – Mobile facilities add real value for your customers such as being able to place orders one-handed or scan product barcodes through the device’s camera rather than having to type it in.
The evolution of responsive websites
Providing an optimised experience for a mobile device does require particular considerations. First, there is screen size and the amount of information that can be clearly displayed, second the size of buttons for effective touch screen navigation, finally how best to cater for single-handed use.
Over recent years, responsive ecommerce platforms have evolved to address the challenges of supporting multi-device formats. Websites are now automatically developed to morph and optimise for the size and type of device that is being used. This means that you only need to deploy a single website that supports all online visitors, irrespective of the device being used. The key benefits of which are:
- Accessibility – A user can start to engage with you simply by going to a web page through a browser. This does not require any downloads and does not take up space on the device. Your online facilities can be made available simply by providing them with your web address. Links to specific web pages can also be sent by email / SMS etc, and with the growing access of email through mobile, the user can immediately go to the specific information, product, offer or category page you are promoting.
- Cost of ownership – A responsive web site enables a single web site to be deployed and maintained across all browser channels, sharing content and design without replication. This reduces the cost of creating and distributing content ensures a consistent experience for all visitors.
- Keeping it fresh – A single ecommerce site also allows you to be more agile. Changes to digital content will immediately be reflected across all device formats.
- Presence and exposure – A web site enables all your content to be searchable and ensures your ensure your company, services and products can be found and viewed easily.
So what about Apps?
Apps (or applications) are software programs downloaded by the user onto their mobile device, usually from a market place such as Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store. In the past, apps have been the best way to provide an optimised experience for the user on a mobile device due to tight integration with the device hardware and constraints on older browser technologies. Apps still suit many applications in the market, but technology has moved on, and with responsive web design, mobile browser-based solutions can offer an excellent user experience with a number of advantages over apps.