The importance of mobile sites to small businesses

This is something that many businesses are coping with extremely well (see e-commerce brands, publishing houses etc.), yet there are plenty more who are failing to engage mobile as an advantage for their business.

There is a multitude of research out there that goes some way in portraying SME businesses engagement with mobile, with many contradicting figures. However, there is one trend that pretty much every business seems to be aware of – that the number of users searching for local services via their mobile is becoming the norm.

A recent figure online stated that 95% of mobile users are using their devices when searching for local businesses. This figure doesn’t do justice for exactly how pervasive the use of mobiles actually is – from searching for a restaurant to booking a taxi; mobiles are now becoming the main channel for users to interact with businesses, especially small businesses.

The best example of this is the high street. If I am a user searching for somewhere that sells a particular style of shoe when I’m on the high street, I’m going to be doing this via my mobile. For smaller businesses, there is certainly an argument to be made here that their site should be optimised for mobile over desktop, as this is where most of their searches will originate. For micro-businesses, those without a physical presence anywhere, a mobile optimised site is even more imperative in allowing your audience to reach you.

>See also: Taking mobility by the reins: the rise and fall of BYOD

So why is it that many business in the SME space have yet to optimise their website, to enable audiences to reach them via tablets and smartphones? Surely this should be the first thing a business addresses – the method through which its target audience reaches them. Yet there seems to be a consensus across small businesses that a website is an ancillary requirement to their business model.

For small businesses, optimising a website for mobile can sometimes be seen as too costly, or too complicated. With consumer purchases made via mobile expected to account for nearly 20% of a company’s entire ecommerce operation, it’s an area that small businesses can’t afford to miss out on.

Having a mobile optimised site ensures you are ready to take on increasing web traffic via the web, with some figures estimating that 10% of web traffic (in the US at least) now originates from mobile. With applications such as Siri now providing easier search functionality on the go, sites not optimised for mobile will be left behind.

Optimising for mobile doesn’t just mean having a pretty site for an iPad, it also means important information is easy to access: Contact details, pricing, directions; all of which are crucial when driving users to the business.

All of this adds up to the fact that mobile optimisation is not just about allowing your business to be accessible via a mobile device – it’s about future proofing your business. The growth in the smartphone and tablet market has been unprecedented, and means a business will increasingly be interacting with its audience via these devices. Any business that is worth its salt should be doing everything it can to ensure it has the ability to remain competitive, and ultimately successful, in the future.


This article was contributed by Juan Lobato, CEO at BaseKit 

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Ben Rossi

Ben was Vitesse Media's editorial director, leading content creation and editorial strategy across all Vitesse products, including its market-leading B2B and consumer magazines, websites, research and...

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