7.1m Brits now access the internet via their mobile
phone, and that’s actually quite a lot! And, not only are these users generally more
affluent, but they are also avid consumers of digital marketing.

The advent of
truly mobile internet, and the incredible speed of adoption by the population
as a whole, is causing a re-evaluation of web marketing.

Mobile web is the greatest revolution since the invention
and adoption of the PC. That might seem like a bold statement to make, but the
platform has changed.

Using the internet does not necessarily mean being stuck
under a desk sitting at home or in the office. You don’t need to pull a laptop
out of a carry case to use it, and you can even choose the size that most suits
your needs.

The impact these devices are having, and the tide of change
that is following in wake of their adoption is fundamental.

So what does this mean for digital marketers? How will
mobile web change email marketing in the near future? What are the challenges
this opportunity has created? And how do we ride this wave and grasp the
opportunities that are being laid before us?

Game changing technology

It’s the device that’s done it; the truly mobile computer.
The only issue is some devices still hold onto that archaic title “phone”.

The challenge with mobile internet has been that to make the
most of the medium you need to easily interact with the device. This is what’s
made the latest generation of mobile devices so different.

Even with the
smaller screens, the superb resolution and usable touch screen makes the
internet truly mobile. The apps and software work together with this new
technology to make the whole mobile web experience simple and satisfying. This
has allowed people new to the concept, to quickly adapt and benefit from the
new platform, thereby fuelling high adoption rates.

Look at any of the research available on mobile internet and
they are all pointing in one direction. Mobile internet is growing and it’s
growing fast.

Game changed for email?

Email has gone mobile. According to the Econsultancy Mobile
Statistics Compendium
, email is used by 75.4% of British iPhone
owners, making it the most popular internet activity on the phone. The same
study stated that mobile adoption patterns mirror the early days of the
internet, when email dominated usage.

Wait a minute… wasn’t email supposed to be dead (or on its
last legs anyway)? Or could it be that mobile internet has taken one of the
most powerful online channels to date, and given it legs.

Email is now on the move. You follow the recipient around
their daily lives; you engage with them when they are doing lots of other
things. They could be watching TV, at a restaurant, with friends.

The mobile experience changes the way users interact with
your email as well your website. Arguably, interacting with a PC could be quite
a lonely experience. With mobile
internet, sharing now includes simply handing your phone to your friends. 

Mobile email looks slightly different too! It not only
demands great graphics, but it wants to be super usable on the small screen.
One of the best ways to do this is to code the email to fit the screen it is
being used on.

From the data I have seen so far and opinion on the web,
people seem to use mobile as “one” of the ways that they will be viewing the
email, so this needs to be considered when developing the template. Is it
possible to develop a template that is going to satisfy both a traditional
desktop client as well as the mobile browser? That’s going to be worth quite a
bit of testing!  

Another new consideration is the actionable copy (links).
Are they touch screen friendly? Or is the recipient forced to expand the screen
to click on the link? The same is going to go for putting links close together,
as you don’t want to send butter fingers off to the wrong place.   

Although the web has gone mobile, it seems like more people
fail to complete a transaction on mobile, than they do on a PC. The figures
also seem to suggest a substantial amount of people intend to use more mobile
ecommerce in the future. This means basket abandonment emails will be even more
important to mobile conversions than it is for normal static web.

Game changed for e-commerce and conversion rate optimisation  

The Mobile Shopping Framework Study” is one in a series of
white papers from Yahoo that provides an overview of the mobile landscape. In
the report, half of consumers claim they purchase an item after researching on
their mobile, and 90% of mobile owners access the web from the retail store
floor.

So now price comparison shopping could consist of walking
round the shops, handling the products, comparing prices online, and making the
buying decision. In fact, the Yahoo mobile study revealed “Almost half of all
mobile in-store activity involved transmitting a picture of a product to
personal contacts for comment”. 

The adoption of mobile web is gaining pace, and the e-commerce
platform will be moving out of the home and into the pocket. One of the key
challenges now facing the digital marketer is optimising the conversion process
for users of mobile web

As was
mentioned before, mobile users fail to complete the transaction more often than
other web users and this is an issue that needs to be addressed.

It’s almost as though there is now a third way of doing
things, it seems to fit in the middle between the full blown website optimised
for the modern PC screen, resolution settings and controls, and the cut down
versions developed to cater for the previous generation of mobile devices.

So, will you need three versions of your website? I don’t
think so…

The mobile platform for internet is going to become a core
part of the way people interact with e-commerce, so people must be able to do
things when they want to do them.

This means the web will need to be designed
for the mobile. It’s surely not unrealistic to expect some businesses to
achieve 50% of web sales via mobile. If
the consumer wants to order their daily shopping while watching the telly, or sitting
on the train, then that’s what they are going to do.

So, whichever website
allows them to achieve this simply, with the best user experience, will most
likely get the business.

User experience and conversion rate optimisation will become
even more vital for achieving good results from mobile internet. Mobile device
and software developers have given consumers the means to use the web whenever
convenient.

The e-commerce winners will be those that make it easy to shop,
whether the customer is behind a desk or on the move.