5 Tips to Thrive Post ‘Mobilegeddon’
Following Google's announcement last month, it appears that 60 percent to 70 percent of retailers will be penalized in search rankings after this week's deadline passed.
Google announced that nonresponsive sites would be affected in rankings as more and more people are now browsing from mobile and tablet devices. For some people, almost all of their internet browsing and buying is done from a mobile device. In the U.S. and Australia, for example, 15 minutes of every hour spent online is spent on a mobile device — with a substantial portion of that time spent shopping.
Simon Banks from PayPal recently stated that as a result of consumers increased online hours, our willingness to hit the "Buy Now" button has also increased, with around 30 percent of online sales now completed on a phone.
This makes it very clear that as consumers, we want a simple and effective user experience, and as business owners, we must ensure our websites deliver that experience by being responsive.
Are Brick-and-Mortar Stores Catching Up?
Brick-and-mortar retailers make up a smaller percentage of the total value of online transactions, but given a pre-existing relationship with in-store customers, their presence online should place them at a distinct advantage. On average, around 90 percent of small to midsized retailers have an online presence, which is positive news. However, just over half of those companies sell products online. This leaves many retailers without an online store and dependent entirely on in-store sales for profit.
In addition to this, of those that have an e-commerce site, around half aren't catering to their mobile users and still have nonresponsive sites.
According to Fair Trading NSW, almost 50 percent of those retailers with web stores don't actually have secure payment systems. This leaves very few retailers in the U.S., U.K. and Australia that are currently well established with a responsive website taking secure payments.
With so many online shoppers, this presents a huge opportunity for retailers over the coming years (preferably months) to engage with their customers on all platforms. Any retailer that begins the process of improving their online presence will undoubtedly reap the rewards almost instantly.
Why Are There So Few Responsive Websites?
The increase of mobile and tablet shopping isn't a new trend, so why have so many retailers neglected this opportunity for online growth?
One of the reasons retailers hesitate to sell online is due to the hassle of combining in-store inventory with online stock. Understandably, this could make the online world seem less attractive, but effective solutions do exist that seamlessly integrate in-store point of sale with online inventory so that you can sell from one warehouse to customers in any physical location.
Ensuring a responsive web store is no longer an option, but an essential element of a retailer's environment. It can be a simple process. As a very basic outline of the steps involved, retailers can begin with the following questions:
1. Do you have a responsive website? When speaking with a developer or third-party provider, responsive should come standard — catering to your entire mobile, tablet and desktop users. If you don't have a responsive website, ensure you achieve this ASAP given Google's new algorithm update.
2. Do you sell online, and does it integrate data and inventory with your in-store POS? This is an important one as it permeates into every element of your business. A seamless connection of online inventory with in-store inventory means you have full control, transparency and accurate information to the minute.
3. Are you building your customer list? Your customer database is one of your most valued business possessions, so ensure you're working towards building it via your in-store POS and your website.
4. Can you and your customers view their data at anytime? A consolidated system can provide important updates for you and a seamless shopping experience for your customers. For example, if they purchase a dress in-store, they can view that data online when they come to buy the matching shoes or belt the following week. In addition, you can cater loyalty programs and marketing messages to your customers far more effectively with seamless integration.
5. Is your online store secure? Ensure that your website offers secure payment gateways. Your web developer can help you with this.
Online growth is inevitable for retailers, but how you react and adapt to this change as an economy will determine your overall success in the online marketplace.