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Despite the rapid growth in popularity of mobile internet use, two-thirds of companies have yet to optimise their websites for mobile.
It's a missed opportunity, especially for retailers, as there are enough success stories now to show that mobile can work.
Growth in mobile internet usage
According to stats from the ONS, there has been significant growth in mobile internet adoption over the last 12 months, with an extra 6m using their phone to access the web than in 2010.
The table below shows the number of UK internet users that accessed the web via mobile in 2011:
Our Mobile Websites and Apps Optimization Best Practice Guide, written for Econsultancy by Belron's Craig Sullivan, contains some useful stats on the growth of the mobile internet.
One thing companies should be doing is monitoring the levels of traffic that arrive at their websites from mobile devices.
This will provide a valuable insight into the opportunities that exist, and should help to make the business case for launching a mobile site or app.
The figures below come from Belron, and show the percentage of traffic to its worldwide websites that comes from mobile devices.
These stats will obviously not be the same for every firm, but Belron (which includes brands like Autoglass) has a very broad customer base (anyone over 17 with a driving licence), so the figures are indicative of the growth in mobile usage.
If your mobile traffic is approaching 20% of all visits to your site, then a mobile site should be worth the investment.
Growth in worldwide mobile traffic (% of all unique visitors)
Mobile success stories
If the rapid growth of mobile internet adoption isn't enough to convince companies that they need a mobile strategy, then they should look at some of the mobile sales figures from brands like eBay.
Mobile now accounts for 10% of all UK sales, and globally, a product is sold via mobile every second on average. The company now expects to generate $5bn in revenue from global mobile sales in 2011.
Ocado's mobile apps for Android and iPhone are a major source of income, with sales up 600% this year to £66m.
With 10,000 users registering every month and 4,000 checkouts are made each day, mobile transactions now account for 12% of Ocado purchases.
Argos doesn't actually sell via mobile, but its Check and Reserve app allows customers to check stock in local stores and pick up the same day.
You don't need to have a big budget to make the most of mobile commerce either, and the example of TruffleShuffle shows what can be achieved.
With an investment of £200 (thanks to an internship scheme), TruffleShuffle built a basic mobile site which drove £70,000 in sales in just over a year.
Usability testing with mobiles
Another way to see if you need a mobile site is to look at the user experience for mobile visitors. This will tell you whether some parts of the site simply do not work, Flash elements for example.
Also, while it may work reasonably well via mobile, there may be barriers to purchase which will only be picked up during testing.
However, just under a third (28% of companies and 30% of agency clients) say they have used mobile phones and under a fifth have used tablets while testing (16% of company respondents and 17% of agency clients).
Have you/your clients conducted usability testing of your/their website using either of the following?
Optimising emails for mobile
Another area where firms can improve ROI is adapting emails for mobile devices. A growing proportion of emails (15% upwards) are being opened and read on mobile phones, but a minority of companies are optimising emails for mobile.
As the British Airways example from this post shows, optimising for mobile, and for specific devices, can produce excellent results.
As part of a campaign to promote its Executive Club mobile apps, four different emails were created, for desktop, iPhone, Android and Blackberry, so that recipients could have the best version of the email for their phone.
The results were impressive, with open rates for mobile exceeding those for desktop users, in excess of 50% for iPhone and Android devices. The CTR was 25% for users who accessed email on their iPhone and in excess of 30% for BlackBerry users. The campaign generated over 250,000 downloads, more than double the targeted number.
Despite the potential for improving open rates by optimising emails for mobile, just 14% of companies and 24% of agencies are currently doing this.
Have you/your clients designed your/their marketing emails specifically for either of the following?