Although the topic of cross-channel cannot be ignored by bricks and mortar retail, many retailers still do not realize just how important it really is. If they are to be successful, retailers must ensure that their store can also be found online. Mobile websites, in other words homepages which are optimized for use on mobile devices such as smartphones, are gaining in importance.
Website optimization a must
There are several reasons why retailers should tackle the issue of their own mobile websites. In April 2015 Google began to penalize websites which were not optimized for use on mobile devices in search results (SERP’s), giving them a worse ranking. This Google update, nicknamed “Mobilegeddon”, initiated a discussion and led to many companies rapidly starting to optimize their websites for mobile end devices. When German entrepreneurs were asked, however, 26 percent stated that they had never even heard of this issue, with a further 24 percent stating that whilst they had heard of it, they hadn’t yet taken any measures to deal with it. In other words, nearly six months later half of companies had still not taken any action (source: study by Crisp Research).
Another reason why retailers should take action on optimizing their mobile websites is the fact that mobile usage is continuing to increase steadily. The SEO company HubShout carried out a study in the USA, in which users were interviewed as to their search and purchasing habits. 94 percent of users have used their smart phone at least once to look for a local store, a majority of 61 percent does so regularly, and 24 percent even on a daily basis.
Customers do not only search when they are out and about, but also often from home. The study “mobile path to purchase” from xAD showed that 58 percent of users research, plan and/or make purchases at home on their mobile device. Looking at the behavior of customers who use their mobile devices for searching reveals that 58 percent of them google bricks and mortar stores.
Image: Users of mobile websites often google bricks and mortar stores. Source: “Mobile Path to Purchase” from xAD.
Mobile Websites Indispensable
For bricks and mortar retailers to be found online they have to invest in a mobile website which is also optimized for search engines. After all, most people don’t bother scrolling on to page 2. According to the HubShout study, once the website has been found customers expect to be able to find the following information displayed prominantly: opening hours, telephone number (click to call), address and navigation, prices, product range and services on offer, as well as photos, videos etc. If customers do not find this information, they are usually left feeling very dissatisfied.
According to the study, more than 46 percent find it annoying if it is difficult to find the opening times or telephone number and address (42%) on the home page. Nearly 34 percent, for example, are irritated if not all information included on the desktop website can be found on a mobile device as well. This indicates that the screen design and user experience are important, not just the contents.
Brodos online shop offers complete scalability
We tackled the issues of website optimization, user behavior and geo-tagging early on, and offer our retailers an online shop with homepage maker which they can design themselves individually (with their own menu and CI), accessing over 200,000 products. Thanks to the new database in our machine room we can display an even larger long tail product range. This also leads to better findability of products, and above all much, much more scalability. As a result, the retailer’s shop automatically appears further up the Google ranking. This allows retailers to stand out from the common online shops, which are just presented as being a better delivery address.
The Kiosk2Go app for on the move
The study also shows that above all mobile use is steadily increasing. We have therefore decided to support our retailers with the Kiosk2Go app, which brings the retailer’s local store to the customer’s mobile phone. Now, customers can carry the retailer’s product range with them wherever they go and can access it from anywhere and everywhere. The app itself is so easy to install: The customer goes into the retailer’s connected store, where the retailer then installs the app onto the customer’s smartphone. Once that is done, all the customer has to do is select her local store and then she can access the retailer’s entire portfolio. Our cross-channel concept therefore allows us to cover all channels: online, bricks-and-mortar retail and now also mobile.
Finding made easy!
Thanks to integrated geo-tagging, customers can now find the retailer’s store on Google, even if they don’t know the retailer yet – simply by combining their search words with their city, for example “mobile phone store Ansbach”. The only prerequisite is that the store is entered in Google Maps. Once that is done, the store can be found not only on the map in Google Maps, but also in the results of the regular Google search page, as a specialized retail store in the region. This makes the retailer’s website THE online shop for the customer’s town.