Mobile commerce (m-commerce) is booming and there is a clear shift towards smartphones becoming the device of choice for online shoppers.
In fact, a recent report showed that 45 per cent of all traffic in the UK to e-commerce sites was via a mobile device and this trend is set to rise as mobile technology continues to improve.
To accommodate for this behaviour change and make sure people are getting relevant, high quality search results that are optimised for their devices, Google search started favouring mobile-friendly pages.
This means that when someone is browsing on a smartphone, a mobile-optimised website will be easier to find than one which isn’t. With around 38 million smartphone users in the UK, small businesses could be missing out if they’re not ready to aim for a moving target: your customer.
To help small businesses keep pace, Google launched a free digital learning platform called The Digital Garage which can help SMBs keep up-to-date with the knowledge they need to make the web work for them.
Here’s a taste of the advice available around being mobile-ready:
(1) Optimise your website for mobile
Don’t underestimate the importance of having a mobile-optimised website. 46 per cent of searchers now use mobile exclusively to do their research, so making sure you’re mobile friendly is key. If it’s slow to load or if the information requires too much scrolling, customers may not hang around.
You can check if your website is ready for mobile using Mobile Usability report in Webmaster Tools, and a recent whitepaper featuring “25 Principles of Mobile Site Design” should help you drive conversions.
Listing on Google My Business might also be a good place to start. One of the great things about Google My Business is that all its listings are already optimised for different devices. It will also list your business info on Google Maps.
(2) Advertise to mobile users on search
Search is the activity smartphone users engage in the most. Online advertising can help you reach the customers who are already searching for precisely what you offer. Mobile users, are sometimes much more specific in their queries and search for things like “flower shop nearby”.
That’s your opportunity to use search ads and targeting tools like geotargeting, to make sure clients can find you. For example If you have a physical shop, AdWords’ location extensions feature can direct people looking for what you offer to visit you in person.
You can even design ad campaigns so they only appear to people already near your store. Someone searching for “coffee shop” on their phone, 500m from your cafe, is someone you could reach with a Search ad.
(3) Engage mobile users with online video
Accessible content is a colossal part of the mobile experience and is a great way to engage customers. A recent Google/Ipsos study found that 59 per cent of Brits use YouTube as their first port of call to discover new skills, and the time spent watching videos on YouTube generally has grown 200 per cent year-on-year.
Make sure your business appears when people are asking questions relevant to your product/service and get your name out there.
It’s worth having a think about some of these questions and factoring them into your strategy – what would the questions your friends or family would ask before they bought your product? Once you get into a rhythm of regular updates it will become part of your business routine.
Shane Nolan is Google UK & Ireland’s director of SMB sales.