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Mobile optimisation to ERP software – what retailers should take from Black Friday (Part One)

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Retailers who don’t have any online presence are missing out on a large portion of customers, but even those who do have a website are failing to maximise business if they don’t have the proper Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP) software in place, or if they don’t offer the best user-experience to their visitors. Here, in the first of a two-part feature, we look at how mobile optimisation can improve your online business.

Right now, across the world, consumers are performing transactions at what is likely to be a record number every second. It’s an exciting time for retailers, as the frenetic spending from Black Friday continues into Cyber Monday, once again proving the importance of a solid online presence.

If you don’t have a mobile-optimised website, however, you are neglecting a significant number of users, resulting in far fewer people successfully connecting with your business. With the number of smartphone users in the UK dominating other forms of internet browsing, as well as the growing number of users at home migrating from desktop to tablets, it’s imperative that every business with an online presence optimises for mobile.

Just how significant is mobile?

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Whilst the figures for this year’s Black Friday have yet to be confirmed, online sales are estimated by retail analysts to have passed £1bn on a single day for the first time. Last year’s findings revealed over half the UK’s entire traffic came from mobile devices (according to analytics carried out by IBM) with smartphones accounting for the majority of that mobile traffic (smartphones 39%, tablets 20%).

In fact, according to Ofcom, we’re now spending two hours online on our smartphones every day; twice as long as laptops and PCs.

Take a look at our related article: Spending via tablets and smartphones set to soar, but 70% of retailers aren’t ready

Advances in mobile technology, such as better screens and faster, more reliable browsing on the move, has enabled customers to connect with businesses more readily than ever before. Whilst this provides greater marketing opportunities, it also presents a number of caveats from mobile users who expect a seamless experience.

This hasn’t gone unnoticed by Google and as of April this year, when their latest update was introduced, your website will no longer appear in the Google search results on a mobile device if it is not optimised to work across mobile devices. Take into account the number of potential mobile users visiting your website on a weekly basis and Google says not having an optimised website is like closing your business to new and existing customers for an entire day.

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User behaviours between mobile and desktop users show significant differences also, specifically when it comes to performing online conversions. According to online marketers Latitude, 88% of global users agree that having a mobile device with realtime information makes them more spontaneous with shopping and, in general, more open to website exploration.

How mobile optimisation works – 4 ways to improve the performance of your website

1. Improved readability

Unless your website is responsive across all mobile devices, pages and their contents won’t always render correctly when viewed on a smartphone or tablet. It’s likely that text and images will struggle to properly format, with some images failing to load altogether, thereby disrupting a page’s readability and preventing further engagement. Mobile-optimised websites don’t have this problem, as pages and their contents are displayed in the correct format for optimum readability on smaller screens, encouraging users to engage with your site.

2. Improved usability

All aspects of a website are interacted with differently on a mobile device than their desktop counterparts; swiping the screen to navigate and selecting clickable elements with the tap of a finger. Without this kind of functionality your website is little use to anybody with a smartphone or tablet. You can further improve usability by integrating ‘click-to-call’, enabling smartphone users to easily contact your business via telephone by tapping the option to do so.

3. Improved speed

Regular websites are much too ‘heavy’ for even the highest spec mobile devices to handle at optimum speed, causing slower load times as a result of hefty css and JavaScript files. Not all mobile devices support Flash either, and those that do don’t always execute it properly. Mobile-optimised websites are streamlined for quicker performance without compromising functionality and quality content.

4. Improved branding

The vast majority of internet users move between devices throughout different browsing sessions over a long period. This may be over the course of a week, a day or two, or just a few hours; however long the ‘task at hand’ is in the user’s mind. Even dedicated desktop users are likely to check in on your site using a mobile device at some point. When your website is optimised to work across mobile devices it creates a more consistent brand experience for the user, fostering trust and reliability.

If your online business is not already optimised for mobile, then now’s the time to think about upgrading your website so that it utilises responsive design principles, allowing your site to automatically adjust to different devices.

And if you already sell online, or are looking to start selling online, then it may be time to look at investing in some good quality eCommerce software. NetSuite’s SuiteCommerce creates a great shopping experience and delivers it across any site, any device, any country and supports any business model without any limitations.

That way, you can really take advantage of the ever-increasing amount of mobile traffic – and reap the rewards of selling on Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2016.

You may be interested in our related article: 8 questions to help determine if your eCommerce software needs to be replaced

If you’d like any further information, then please get in touch and please share any thoughts on this article in the comments box below.

Don’t miss the second part of our feature. Here, we look at the importance of having reliable Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software in place to support the management of your eCommerce site and improve customer service. 

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