Harnessing the Power of Mobile Web

Harnessing the Power of Mobile Web

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Disappearing are the days when consumers were chained to the home or office PC any time they wanted to access the Web. The freedom wireless mobile Internet access is affording all is not only changing the behavior patterns of how your customers surf the Web, it's changing their purchasing habits as well.

As almost all wireless handsets now feature Internet access, it's important for retailers to factor that in to their online and mobile marketing strategy moving forward. Consumers today are online…constantly.

According to a recent study by Ipsos Insight, the number of people accessing the Internet via wireless phone had officially passed the number of those connecting to the Web via notebook PCs in many parts of the world. For the U.S. that is predicted to be reality by the end of 2011—maybe sooner.

Ipsos also reported that the all-important 18-to-34-year-old demographic currently makes up the largest group of mobile phone owners browsing the Web. This demographic also happens to be the most tech-savvy and is also the group you need to begin to “speak” to in a language they'll understand and respond to.

According to recent presentation given at the National Retail Federation's (NRF) Mobile Boot Camp Mobile, Mickey Alan Khan, editor of Mobile Marketer Daily, explained that mobile site developers will do well to keep five key points in mind as part of their marketing strategy. Khan pointed to several retail companies that have created user-friendly experiences, including Amazon and Wet Seal.

Five Key Mobile Web Strategies

1) Make sure your mobile app or site has excellent search. “Mobile people don't have time to stroll and click,” Khan said. Make it quick and simple. Amazon's mobile apps are a good example.

2) Have fantastic imagery. Remember that people will be viewing mobile sites on smaller screens, so make sure they can zoom in.

3) Never forget that mobile is a great traffic driver to other channels. Have a store locator button on every single page.

4) Keep the navigation easy and intuitive. Khan listed Steve Madden (www.stevemadden.com), Wet Seal (www.wetseal.com) and Ralph Lauren (www.ralphlauren.com) as good examples.

5) Remember—and address—the hurdles to facilitate sales. Just like in the early days of the Web, some shoppers may be hesitant to enter their credit card information into their mobile device, but there are ways around that hurdle. “Whenever I go to the Amazon site on my Blackberry, they recognize who I am,” Khan said. “They already have my credit card details on file. Establish a relationship on your Web site and extend that to mobile.” Sales are sure to follow.

The mobile Web world is a different experience, and those surfing it have a different agenda and very specific needs. Making sure you're meeting those and designing your mobile apps or site accordingly is worth the extra time.

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