When your consumers ask for information, it's very likely you'll respond for the sake of providing them with exceptional customer experience. So, if the human aspect of interacting with consumers is totally solid, shouldn't your website be just as responsive? If you're still stuck in the era of desktops, it's probable your business will suffer.
Without question, advancements in technology have fully transformed how organizations conduct their everyday functions, but the way many small and mid-sized businesses operate suggests a willful ignorance concerning the use of mobile devices to surf the Web.
At the end of 2012, Mashable declared 2013 would be the year of responsive websites, meaning companies would create Web pages that adapt to the variety of screen sizes for mobile products that people use. Unless you've been living on Mars, there are few arguments against understanding this evolution. That being said, it's obviously a difficult proposition for many SMBs which may have only begun to comprehend the ways their consumers reach out to them.
Why Being Mobile-friendly is Imperative According to Digitimes Research, global shipments for tablet devices are expected to surpass those of notebooks in 2013. In fact, the market research firm anticipates 210 million units will be shipped worldwide, representing nearly a 40 percent increase compared with the previous year. With the demand for laptop and notebook computers waning, there has been a dramatic shift in the way consumers access the Internet and -- by extension -- the way they view your website.
As a result, companies have motivation to invest in graphic design to optimize their websites for viewing on a mobile device. What's more, these changes can have a significant impact on the sales a company generates. The Technology Association of Iowa cited a 2012 study conducted by the digital marketing research firm Econsultancy indicating 62 percent of companies that have developed websites with a mobile users' experience in mind have increased their sales. The friendlier your site is for mobile products, the happier your sales team will be.
In fact, research from Google found 67 percent of consumers using their tablet or smartphone to access the Web are more likely to go ahead with a purchase if the business has developed a mobile-friendly site. With this in mind, catering to smartphone and tablet owners appears to be part and parcel of improving sales, especially when utilizing an e-commerce storefront.
What's a Small-Business Owner to Do? Well, the answer is essentially adapting to the ways that consumers access information about products and services, as well as make purchases online. Mashable's own website is a good example of how an organization can adapt their pages to meet users' demands. If you change the size of the screen on your desktop or laptop, you'll see the text and pictures rearrange in response to the varying window size. In essence, no matter how small you make your Web browser window, you'll be able to read and access all the content.
According to a WhoIsHostingThis? infographic posted on MarketingProfs, companies should include fluid grids, which is a design mechanism that uses percentages to allow content to respond to screen size more easily. Similarly, images on the screen should adapt to the size of the device being used.
Although many of you -- as small-business owners -- are focused on your customers instead of the ins and outs of information technology or Web design, there are resources available to make the transition to responsive websites more fluid. Web Design Ledger recently highlighted several tools that give SMBs the capability to give their customers a more mobile-adaptive experience online.