Mobile Phone Use 

A Commonsense Approach to Increasing Your Number of Mobile Phone Users 

Scale of Mobile Shopping - by early 2013, shopping on mobile in the UK is likely to amount to around 10% of total online spending.

Back in 2010, many dismissed mobile retail as a niche offering and something that wouldn't threaten many retailers. 

In the event, a growth rate of nearly 600% in the UK over this period has been estimated, so that mobile shopping is now certainly a force to be reckoned with.

NCS Client Site Mobile Phone Visits - we are seeing strong increases in mobile phone traffic to our client sites.

In the case of one client, mobile visits comprised 27% of total site visitors recently. Other client shopping sites now gain above 10% of their traffic in this way.  Of these mobile phone and tablet visits, around 90% will be shared between iPhone / iPad and Android.  Our sites with a more commercial or technical emphasis to their products and services do show a lower percentage - but are still growing strongly.  We now provide regular comments on mobile site use in our regular newsletters. 

Mobile Web Costs - there was a time when website owners considered setting up separate versions of their websites specially designed to present well to mobile phones. Things have now matured to the stage where those who want to to surf the net using their mobile can choose iPhones, Androids, Windows8 or a range of table devices, which can make a good job of resolving standard web pages. Those with less well adapted phones simply do not use them much to visit websites.

So the decision for website owners has become quite different.  No longer do they need a separate site on a separate domain for low spec mobile phones. They simply neerd to ensure that their site presents well to the key mobiles - iPhone, Android and Windows8 and the latest range of tablets.

Six Simple steps - here are six simple steps you can take to improve the experience such mobile and tablet users have when they visit your site - obviously, the mobile element should be only one part of your internet marketing strategy:

I.Consider a dot mobi domain name - .mobi was specially introduced to allow website owners to set up a separate version of their website for access by mobiles. If you have a really complex site, it may be simpler to develop an entirely new site and to diverts mobile visitors to it rather than try to adapt it for mobile users. For most sites, any action needed to cater for mobiles and tablets can be handled within the existing domain.

2.Identify mobile devices - the technology to identify the device and operating system of a site visitor is well established and allows us to tailor the website pages to suit the visting device.

3.Take advantage of the free functionality – mobiles already automatically present certain things differently from desktop machines. For example, a dropdown box on your site is presented as a "slide up box" on iPhones. You need no website changes - the phone does it automatically. Just be aware of the facilities and maybe change your site to use them rather than more cumbersome alternatives.

4.Consider whether to abbreviate text - Some people choose to make all the main site text available to mobiles; others develop moreabbreviated text designed to present the main points on a single mobile screen, perhaps with a "more info" icon to access the full detail.

The final decision may depend on how much text you have and how important it is to have access to it all.

5.Remove unnecessary bits of your standard page template – for mobiles and tablets, your nav bar can be condensed into a
single icon to save space.  When touched, the entire navigation slides out ready for use. If you use two columns of text, present as a single column to mobiles. Do you need to present your page footer to mobile users?  Do you have a less important side column which can become a slide-in column for mobile users?

6.Present your images beautifully – mobiles (particularly iPhones and Androids) and tablets are very good indeed at presenting images so take advantage of their features when presenting your gallery to them. Allow them to swipe the page to move from one image to the next. And if you are putting moving images or a slideshow on your site, there are ways of doing so which mobiles can interpret and orhers which they cannot. So ask Net Commerce Solutions and we'll ensure it is done properly.

NCS mobile phone approach - we assess how important mobile users are for all sites we develop, especially potentially high usage sites, e.g. information only sites, forums, social networking, e-commerce sites, sites addressing a younger user market.

A clear overall internet marketing strategy is essential, and it should incorporate the needs of the growing number of mobile and tablet users.  Sites where catering for the specific needs of mobile visitors is less important e.g. within certain industrial/commercial sectors will be identified also with, typically, a different technical solution being offered. 

Ask Net Commerce Solutions for advice on what action you need to take to present your site to the burgeoning number of mobile and tablet users.

Malcolm Tebbutt
Director, Net Commerce Solutions