In Wholesale & Distribution it can be tempting to feel invulnerable to consumer trends. Your business may be a step removed from the day-to-day shopper, but don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re buffered from the consequences of their changing behaviour. In today’s digital world, people have become accustomed to high levels of immediacy and accessibility as consumers – and are increasingly placing the same expectations on their business transactions. In this blog, we explore one consumer trend that’s already bleeding through into the business world, a trend you can’t afford to ignore.
The amount of web traffic flowing through mobile devices is at an all-time high. In New Zealand, Internet access via smartphone is close to overtaking access by all other devices. (When research company Nielsen asked New Zealanders which devices they had used to get online in the past 7 days, mobile phones reached 65%, just 2 points behind the number one response, ‘laptop or notebook’). In these days of constant connectivity, people are far more comfortable researching, reviewing and purchasing on mobile, whether they do so as consumers or as business buyers. Your customers no longer expect to be out of the loop just because they’re out of the office, but they do expect companies they do business with to deliver a productive mobile experience.
Wholesale and distribution is a fast-paced environment, but with smartphones in nearly every customer’s pocket, it’s getting faster still. According to Google and Millward Brown Digital research, 42% of US business buyers use a mobile device during the purchasing process. People increasingly expect to be able to access pricing, stock lists, demonstrations and company information wherever they are. They want to check what’s available while they check their stock levels; assess potential new distributors and suppliers as soon as they hear about them – and place orders straight from the shop or warehouse floor. In this environment, it’s more important than ever for your company to mobile-optimise its online content and deliver a valuable mobile experience for visitors.
If you have doubts about the number of people accessing your website via mobile, ensure you have Google Analytics (GA) set up. It’s a free and fast way to explore visitor behaviour, plus the data can be easily pulled into smart business intelligence tools such as QlikView for a more thorough analysis. You can use GA to establish how many mobile users are browsing your site, what they’re searching for and which pages they stop at. Are they trying to place or track orders? Looking for product demonstrations? Could they be potential prospects assessing your business? And more importantly, how well does your site meet all those needs via a mobile device?
To find out, use your own smartphone to view the same pages as your mobile visitors. If you find yourself clicking through screen after screen before hitting the relevant information, consider grouping related content onto one page in visually pleasing, bite-sized chunks. This allows visitors to scroll down easily and identify the information they need. If product page load slowly, think about collating that content into scrollable galleries or even short videos. Eye-catching images and engaging videos are popular on mobile, so consider utilising them to showcase product ranges and demonstrations, warehouse facilities or distribution networks. And remember, when it comes to filling in forms, typing on mobile can be tiresome, so try prepopulating content as much as possible.
Mobile optimisation needn’t be complicated: it’s simply a matter of knowing your mobile visitors’ needs and delivering experiences that meet those needs quickly and efficiently. This might require the editing of existing content and re-thinking how it’s displayed and segmented. Or creating a parallel mobile site with content specifically designed for mobile visitors. It’s no longer enough for your website to simply ‘work’ on mobile: if the experience is clunky or laborious, you will quickly lose the interest of people used to being constantly connected.
One final thought worth noting: Google added mobile-friendly usability factors to its ranking algorithm last year. Since then, the ‘mobile-friendliness’ of your site has been effecting where your company appears in search results. So, however you move forward, whether you edit and adapt existing site content, or create a standalone mobile site, mobile-optimisation has never been more important for your customers, your potential customers – and your business.
Written by: Juanessa Abbott, Marketing Manager
A highly influential and creative marketer, Juanessa is the talent behind Endeavour’s marketing initiatives. With her excellent branding, social media and communication skills, she thrives on cutting through the clutter to get the real message across.