Even as late as just a few years ago, having a “dot com” for your business was the best way to attract customers. There is no doubt about it, however, that going mobile is now the way to get more business. In this age of smartphones and tablets, being able to take your business mobile is a small obstacle, but one that is absolutely worth the effort.
The U.N. telecom agency estimates that there are currently over 6 billion cell phone users on this planet, and, in 2012, there were over 35 million iPhones sold just in the second quarter. And these are only Apple’s statistics. Imagine how many other smartphones and tablets are now in the hands of tech-savvy users? Just from 2012 to 2013, there has been an almost 10% increase in people using mobile devices to view and use Internet services. This, coupled with a nearly 300% increase in mobile device traffic on the Internet, definitely shows in which direction Internet business is going.
Previously, the “mobile Internet” crowd was a younger demographic – kids who had access to iPhones and iPads who had the time and the technological savvy to find what they wanted on the Internet. Today, however, that demographic has widened to include more mature users, and these people are the ones who are making the purchases and financial decisions for their families. Vast amounts of people, especially in the United States, have some form of smartphone or tablet that they use every day.
In order to “go mobile,” an online business presence must either offer a streamlined version of their website that loads easily and quickly on mobile devices, or they need to develop an “app,” which a mobile user can access directly from their smartphone or tablet. This is in addition to regular web services that customers or users with regular laptop or desktop computers can access. By making your services available to mobile device users, you are increasing the ease with which they can access your information and make purchasing decisions.
Businesses are quickly getting the hint, too. Industries that you wouldn’t think would have a mobile presence are simplifying their services to appeal to mobile users. Law practices, shoe stores, and even government offices are making their websites more accessible. Utility companies and banks are creating secured, mobile versions of their sites or developing apps to help their customers buy and pay for services on their devices.
Now even some health care services have mobile presences – streamlining their sites to make them smartphone- and tablet-friendly. Every major news site, and even a lot of the smaller, local aggregates, are offering their readers mobile options. All of the pop culture websites (think E! Online, People Magazine) have mobile presences. Magazines with large readerships, like Rolling Stone, now offer digital-only subscriptions that readers with tablets pay to read monthly.
In the infancy of mobile Internet, images, music and videos were not often featured because they took so long to load or stream. Today, however, users want to see these things and the technology has caught up to the demand. Users can now load videos in seconds and play them across multiple device platforms. When they find what they’re looking for in a mobile website, these users are also more inclined to share the information, so combining your mobile website with social media is definitely a great and cheap game plan for advertising.
Here’s what this means for you:
The number of people using apps and websites designed for mobile devices will only increase. Businesses that cater to this large and fast-growing sector of the public are only going to benefit. Because of the ease of use, it is very simple as well as cost-effective to market to mobile device users.
If you do not take your business mobile, or at least allow mobile users simplified access to your business or products, they may skip over you in favor of a competitor who does offer mobile services. This is going to be especially essential when it comes to new customers.
No matter what your industry, your web presence needs to be accessible by mobile devices. This is the future – don’t get left behind!
With over 25 years of experience in the payments industry, Greg Constantine provides expert business leadership and marketing strategy development to SecureNet and its clientele as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer. From Fortune 500 companies to successful startups, Constantine has an extensive background in entrepreneurial guidance, marketing, sales, product planning, client services and operations management.