In the office. On the train. Walking down the street. At the airport. Everywhere you look, people are glued to their smartphones.
In a relative short time, smartphones have moved from a luxury item to an indispensable part of everyday life and doing business. Mobile usage has skyrocketed and is still growing.
But some businesses still ignore this trend. Despite the overwhelming evidence that mobile is the future, many still view it as a “nice to have.”
A recent survey claimed 25% of CIOs have no mobile strategy. Another study that claims roughly three-quarters of small businesses have no plans to invest in mobile.
Is ignoring mobile a good strategy? Not at all!
Here are just a few reasons your business cannot afford to ignore mobile:
1. You’re ignoring a large percentage of your reachable market
Think about that for a second. The Apple iphone was first introduced in 2007. Since then, the smartphone has become the fastest growing trend in history, surpassing desktop PC usage. Those who ignore mobile will slowly see their market share fade, as their pool of prospective clients shrinks.
“For a business to “ignore” mobile is accepting the risk of “ignoring” over 50% of your reachable market. Ignoring such a large percentage of your reachable market will erode your market share while your competition (who understands the power of mobile apps) engages with your current and future customers. Today people want it now; so if you cannot provide the experience to satisfy this desire your competition will.” Tim Montgomery, Timit Solutions
2. You’re missing out on sales
One of the biggest advantages of the smartphone: You can purchase nearly anything at any time. From a business perspective, that’s huge.
Think about it. Before smartphones, what happened when you needed to make a purchase? You had to remember what you needed and buy it later. Then, you’d get to the store and forget what you needed. Or, you’d get home and forget to place the order online.
Now, you can make that purchase instantly, whenever you think about it. As explained below, this simplicity has led to more mobile-based purchases.
“Part of mobile’s strength is that more purchases are being made online. While 78% of local searches result in a purchase, in Q1 2015 smartphone conversion rates and revenue per visit increased 135.7% and 147%, respectively. Tablets also exhibited healthy growth in conversion rates and purchases, while desktop rates declined by 12.1% and 8.9%, respectively.
“However, It’s not necessarily new that mobile is king in the field of ecommerce. In the 4th quarter of 2013, 34% of mobile users conducted searches on products they intended to buy, and in 2014 companies like Amazon and Apple reported mobile conversion rates anywhere from 7-12%. Whether it’s through “impulse buys” or studious research, consumers seem to respond to something about mobile’s ability to make purchases, and investing in mobile represents perhaps the most outstanding opportunity for businesses to sell more products.” — Raphael Iscar, Agendize
Now, what happens if your business doesn’t sell products online? Or, what happens if your analytics show that most of your sales come in through desktop PCs? Does that mean you can safely ignore mobile? No!
As explained below, mobile is often the starting point for those researching solutions. They may not purchase online, but they begin their search on a mobile device. Do you really want to ignore that?
“Case study after case study continues to prove that mobile efforts are more likely to attract first touch visitors who are doing research, but not yet ready to buy your product / contact your company for services. They’re slacking off at work, or messing around while watching TV – they’re halfway engaged, but not ready to ‘convert.’ Does that mean they should be ignored? Absolutely not!
“These are the same users who will later sit down in front of their laptop, and go back to your site for a second look – do some research about your reviews or competitors, and then hopefully buy – but ONLY if they were compelled enough to do so after their first pass. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, navigating your tiny menu or trying to get past an annoying slider is going to result in them hitting the back button and forgetting that you existed.
“It’s easy for small budget companies to put all their focus into desktop simply because it has metrics showing it produces conversions / revenue. By putting more focus back on mobile, most businesses will start to see the top of their funnel fill up with prospects, and the eventual trickle down is much stronger than what they would receive from a desktop only angle.” — Craig Streaman
3. Search engines will penalize your site
So, we learned in the last point that more and more product research begins on a mobile device. What happens if you don’t have a mobile-friendly site? Will prospects just have to navigate your desktop site on their smartphone?
No. They’ll never find you.
Google recently rolled out an algorithm change that penalizes sites that aren’t mobile friendly. What does that mean? As explained below, that means prospects are unlikely to find your site via a mobile search.
“One extremely important reason businesses can’t afford to ignore mobile is that they could be missing out on potential customers looking for them in search engines such as Google. All businesses need to be visible in search engines – when was the last time you were looking for something online and didn’t head to Google?
“A staggering proportion of searches are done from mobile devices now, so Google prefers to show website results that are mobile-friendly. The higher up the search results page your site is, the more visible you are to customers, and the more likely they are to click on your page. Having a mobile-friendly site is an important factor in the race to get to the top of the results.” — Blake Connoy, Helpling
4. You harm employee productivity and data access
“Businesses can’t afford to ignore mobile. Across nearly all industries, recent studies show that employees are increasingly relying on personal mobile devices for professional purposes, largely due to the changing nature of work. More than ever, it’s essential to have client information readily accessible, because work is getting done everywhere—not just at the office.” — Asaf Cidon, Sookasa
Last year, Gartner estimated that 40% of employees in large companies used their personal devices for work. Beyond that, most companies now provide smartphones to those employees who need them.
The problem is, these smartphones are usually underutilized. Most often, business smartphones are glorified email-checking devices. In reality, smartphones provide amazing potential…which often goes unused.
For instance, salespeople have their smartphones while out on the road. What if they need to access product or client data from their phone, or submit an order? Executives have their smartphones with them at all times. What if they need to access reports or budget data from their mobile device?
More and more, businesses can’t afford to ignore mobile’s potential for their employees. Delivering mobile-friendly versions of your business applications improves data access and employee productivity.
5. It makes your business look out of touch
When the internet first rolled around, many businesses ignored it. They viewed it much like some view mobile–as an unnecessary luxury. As the internet gained popularity, those businesses only looked more and more out of touch with reality. These days, a business without a web presence is unheard of.
We’re seeing the same trend with mobile. Some businesses ignore the trend, thinking it doesn’t apply to them. This approach will only make their company appear out of touch. Who wants to do business with a company that’s stuck in the past?
“The proliferation of mobile devices ensure that mobile is here to stay and is a part of the business landscape moving forward. To ignore this is simply showing a lack of understanding of how the landscape of business has changed.” — Robert Manigold, Codekoalas
6. You miss out on the social sharing economy
The rise of social media introduced the sharing economy, which revolutionized business marketing. If your business creates interesting articles, videos, or other types of content, it can easily spread via social channels. The rise of social means your business can gain popularity outside of traditional advertising methods.
But, there’s one important fact to note: Most social sharing occurs from mobile devices. As explained below, ignoring mobile harms your company’s ability to spread on social sites.
“There is an absolute massive risk to ignoring the rise of mobile marketing. With the majority of social media accessed through mobile devices and a rising trend towards accessing websites through mobile, not having a mobile optimized site can turn away a large percentage of possible customers. People are also reading more articles on mobile than ever before. This means that any blogs or content that you push through your company is missing its full audience if it doesn’t show up on mobile.” — Deborah Sweeney, MyCorporation
7. Your customer communication will suffer
Smartphones open the door to an ideal communication method: SMS/text messages. SMS messages provide an inexpensive communication method that reaches your customers immediately. Now, just to be clear–I’m not saying businesses should start sending marketing messages via SMS. That’s a sure way to anger your prospects and customers.
Rather, you can use text messages as a way to get important data into your customer’s hands.
For instance, I’ve seen energy companies embrace SMS messages for outage notifications. When outages occur, they send SMS messages to let customers know they’re aware of the problem, and when the problem will be resolved. This saves their help desk from fielding a flood of calls from angry customers.
That’s just one example, but just imagine the possibilities. When you ignore mobile, you ignore a fast and effective way to deliver important information to your customers.
“Everyone has a cellphone, and everyone texts, so moving operations to mobile wherever possible is the only logical step for businesses. Customer experience especially has to evolve to incorporate the shift from emails and calls to instant messaging/texting. With the rise of mobile, consumers’ patience has decreased – they expect contact with a real human to occur in real-time.
“To ignore mobile is to ignore the most inexpensive, effective, and efficient channel through which businesses can communicate with their customers. Customers are growing increasingly dissatisfied with email contact and call centers: they’re slow and likely don’t provide the assistance necessary as an issue develops. The biggest challenge in adopting mobile is how to make sure your business can handle responding to instant messages with the speed customers expect while maintaining accuracy and ensuring compliance with company policies.” — Adi Bittan, Owner Listens