Monday, November 21, 2011

It's going to be Mobile for the Holidays

Ashley Haugen

I know you may cringe at the thought of the Holiday season so soon (the snow, the traffic, the mad shopping rush), but the truth is it will be here before you know it. This is especially true for all of you Black Friday shoppers. This season is expected to be very different, with the popularity of mobile, social and daily deals shaking things up in the marketing and commerce scene. Retailers need to be prepared for the amount of customer engagement their mobile sites will see this year.
Tablets and smartphones have become a convenient and preferred way to shop. According to a survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, more than 50 percent of smartphone and tablet owners will use their devices to make purchasing decisions this holiday season. This includes researching products and prices, purchasing and redeeming coupons. According Google, mobile searches have grown four times since 2010. Retailers and brands should take advantage of those statistics by making sure their mobile and tablet commerce-enabled sites are ready and able before November 25th. Below are a few tips to keep in mind whether you are just starting to create a mobile site, or already have one up and running.
Top Tips:

Thumbs Up
No longer does the infamous pointer finger have the limelight. Thumbs everywhere are taking center stage with the advent of tablets and smartphones. Make sure your mobile site has the “thumb factor.” Are the buttons big enough? Are they easily found and used by all fingers? Nothing is more frustrating than accidental clicks that lead you to the wrong page (and more load time). 

Local Does It
Did you know that 95 percent of smartphone users search for local information? Mobile is all about location. In fact the top three functions of mobile usage are to find stores, get directions, and compare prices and stock at nearby stores. Include information that helps people find and get to you.

Be Speedy
Mobile users are impatient. In fact, 60 percent of users expect a mobile site to load in three seconds or less. If not, they will try no more than two times to reload the page, in which case they will then leave (perhaps to a competing site, gah!). Clean and clear navigation, an un-cluttered format and minimal graphics will all help speed up load time.

Ashley Haugen is a Gustavus Adolphus College alumna. She has had Marketing experience working with such organizations as the LOFT Literary Center, the Gustavus Marketing Department and the OrdwayCenter for Performing Arts. She currently is a PR associate at Axiom Marketing Communications.
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