How Can Mobile Sites Be Optimized to Retain Customers?

Most businesses need a website. It’s no longer an optional extra but a necessity. If customers spend most of their time online and expect businesses to do the same, then not having a website could miss potential customers – especially for mobile sites. But what must businesses consider when developing a mobile website so that potential customers don’t just bounce off but actually stay on the site to become converted customers?

Mobile Search Growth

Beginning in June 2019, mobile searches began to eclipse desktop ones – with 50.71% of searches conducted on smartphones compared to 45.53% on desktop (the remainder searching on tablets, which are popular among some). Indeed, by February 2021, the search volume on smartphones rose to 54.46%. Given the proclivity for using smartphones, it seems like this figure will continue to grow. Many factors explain why people have begun making searches on mobiles.

The rise of apps for businesses – from eBay and Amazon to ASOS, and even supermarkets – mean that people are more likely to be on their mobiles to complete the transaction anyway. A quick search for a similar product on Google makes sense if the clothes retailer app doesn’t have any options the customer likes. If they’re casually browsing on their phone, they’re unlikely to then head over to their desktop to search elsewhere.

Include a Virtual Phone Number to Help Conversions  

There are specific things that each site must consider, to take advantage of the predominately mobile traffic. As people are more likely to be on their phones, having methods of communication that benefit this could help convert customers. For instance, having a button on the mobile site that immediately begins a phone call could be beneficial, especially for hospitality websites, where bookings may need to be discussed, or where time is a factor.

Even if businesses can’t have a staffed phone system, not having a number on the site could allow customers to slip through. A virtual phone number that may come as part of the service of a simple website builder could enable you to give customers a point of contact while being flexible and not having to pay for a full customer service team. The business phone number will link to your smartphone and allow you to catch any potential sales made this way. Features personalized voicemail and unlimited minutes should also be considered too.

Make Sure the Mobile Site is Responsive

We have less patience when scrolling on mobiles than we do on desktops. Perhaps this comes from the immediacy of social media that has given us the impression everything on our smartphones should be responsive and quick. Regardless, it’s therefore extremely important that sites aren’t too slow and don’t contain anything that could be considered unnecessary.

One of the main reasons for a high bounce rate is if the mobile site is too slow and unresponsive. As site speed is a factor in Google’s ranking, then it pays on all counts to have a fast site. It can sometimes be difficult to improve site speed – depending on how sites are designed – and it becomes a point of contention for marketers. Making small changes, such as removing videos and high-quality images that don’t serve a purpose could help. Cluttered content also leads to a high bounce rate, which informs the next important aspect of keeping customers on a mobile site: keeping them interested.

Provide Customers with a Good User Experience

Customers don’t have time to read through reams of copy to try to find what they want. Some sites will need the information to help signpost customers, but other sites, especially retailers, should provide what a customer wants immediately. The faster a customer is signposted to what they are most likely looking for on the site, the more likely they will be to stay on the site and complete the purchase. If they have to spend ages looking for something, they are more likely to bounce off.

Sites should be intuitive so that customers can follow a set number of steps to find the information they need to then purchase the product they may want. Unnecessary links and loops around the site, intrusive ads, and unintuitive search functions can all prevent customers from sticking with the site. Indeed, search bars are crucial to help bypass any awkward design. In some cases, perceived site quality can reflect on the perceived quality of the product the customer may end up purchasing. If they feel the site doesn’t have them in mind, they may feel the same way about the product.

Mobile sites should be optimized in a different way to desktop ones. They attract different consumers with different priorities so should reflect this. This could come down to the look and feel of the site or mobile-specific methods of communication, such as a phone number. Some would argue that mobile site users are more discerning than their desktop counterparts, so mobile sites should definitely be optimized effectively.

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