Don’t Get Left Out in the Cold: Increase Holiday Business by Improving Mobile Visibility

By Amanda Sides | Oct 30, 2013
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santa_iphone4s-6606739Whether you’re ready or not, the holidays are just around the corner (and there are only 27 shopping days this year due to a late Thanksgiving). If you’re in the business of ecommerce, you likely have either an online store only or a website in addition to your brick-and-mortar location(s). This post will help you understand that even in the midst of Q4, there are many ways you can utilize the booming mobile trends to your advantage in your quest to increase sales around the holidays.

Everyone knows mobile usage is continually sky-rocketing, but do you know all the astounding facts about usage around shopping? I am a healthy shopper, especially online, and none of these statistics shock me whatsoever. Digital Buzz Blog reports that 68% perform retail research on their smartphone, and of that:

  • 35% purchase on their phone
  • 21% on a tablet
  • 28% purchase on a laptop
  • 37% purchase in-store

You want that 68% to find YOU when they are doing their research, and then either make it easy for them to buy right then and there, or at least for them to find your store.

So how do you increase your store’s visibility on mobile?

Optimize Your Website for Mobile

Some companies have already jumped on this and have updated their sites in some way, so that they are easier to use on mobile devices. While this isn’t something that you can do by the end of the week, it’s something you should start planning immediately. Digital Buzz Blog also reports that 57% of mobile users won’t recommend a business with an ill-designed mobile website, and I believe it. If a website isn’t easy to use, I’ll abandon it and likely not think of that site the next time someone asks for a reference. You remember the sites that are fast and easy to use. If it’s going to take me 15 minutes to get through a check-out process, I’m not going to buy. I’ll either find it somewhere else or wait until later… and by that time I would have forgotten all about it.

There are a few options  to optimize your site for mobile devices, either by creating a separate mobile subdomain [ex: m.jcrew.com] or by implementing responsive web design [ex: disney.com]. The latter is great because it just conforms your site to the size of the screen, be it a laptop, tablet or smartphone.

Tory Burch Mobile Site

Not only does having a mobile-friendly website make it easy for users, it may also soon affect your rankings. As released by Yoshikiyo Kato and Pierre Far of Google,

“To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.”

Here you can find examples of common smartphone website mistakes that you can avoid.

Consider Mobile Advertising

However you decide to advertise, be sure you are customizing your efforts specifically for mobile users. Through Google AdWords, you can set up mobile-preferred ads, set bid adjustments specifically for mobile devices, and utilize ad extension features like phone extensions or location extensions. These extensions not only make your ads on Google search more prominent and eye-catching, they also provide the user with more information on how to contact you or find your physical location quickly. Digital Buzz also reports some fascinating stats about mobile users’ activity post-ad impression:

  • 80% Download an app
  • 67% Visit the website
  • 52% Visit the store
  • 45% Locate the advertiser on a map
  • 37% Call the advertiser

If they don’t buy right there on their phone, at least you can push them with an ad to phone you or drop by the store. Mobile ads can provide a link to your app, website, and store location and also display your phone number. Use these extensions to your advantage to increase both web traffic and in-store foot traffic.

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One other option is to use Google Remarketing. This allows you to retarget custom remarketing audiences with specific ads around products they have shown interest in on your website. See Heidi Kramer’s post earlier this month for more information on Remarketing and other PPC tips for the holiday season.

Google Shopping/PLAs & Google Places

There are always other ways to optimize for mobile that fall into optimization for any device. These include things like Google Shopping, where you have the ability to show products relevant to queries searched, either through organic or Product Listing Ads.

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Setting up a Google Places for Business page is another great idea to give you a prominent spot with more information like reviews, price points and hours of operation right at the top of results for nearby users.    

Screenshot_2013-10-29-16-13-27

For more information on mobile usage stats and optimizing your website for mobile, here’s a handy infographic we created (click the image for a full-sized version):

Mobile Website Optimization infographic

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