By Jeff Campbell, VP Account Director
The details behind “Going Mobile” get real complicated and costly, real fast. But before you re-develop your entire site for 100% mobile compatibility, consider testing to see if your customers are open to interacting with your business on their mobile device with a few easy ideas:
1. Short Term – Allow mobile users to access your information
- Location Finder (i.e. Bank or Retail Chain) – Build an .xhtml version which recognizes a mobile visitor and serves them up a site optimized for a mobile experience. Yahoo!’s Blueprint is one platform that is used for building these types of sites (and are well optimized for Mobile Search Results vs. the old WAP platforms).
- RSS Product Feeds – RSS has infiltrated into many mobile users daily habits, delivering customized news (or daily deals) directly to their handsets. If your company already has an RSS in place, it can be leveraged to get a subscriber (who may already be out and about) into your store with a great limited time offer or drive a quick online mobile action.
- Google Product Search – These FREE product feeds display to are accessible by mobile searchers in search results and aid in-store or online purchases
- Twitter – Your business’ current “Tweets” will show up in search results (as will others about your company). Given that mobile is more of social medium, mobile search engines favor these social media results more than web-based versions
- SMS – a “push” medium that requires an .xhtml landing page with offer. With minimum development costs, you can find out if your customer base will act – and transact – over a mobile device.
2. Mid-Term – Allow interaction
- Mobile Applications – Pretty cheap to build and can be outsourced, especially overseas, pretty cheaply
- QR Codes (mobile bar codes) – This is the scanning of in-store or in-advertising bar codes for more product information. Microsoft has the leading US application called ‘Tag’.
- Mobile sitelet (YourCompany.com/Mobile – .xhtml site featuring promos, coupons, scannable bar codes for point-of-purchase. Featured best sellers, top converters, etc.…essentially a mini-, interim, mobile site. Limited to quick, easy, popular information only.
- Mobile Paid Search – easy opt-in once there is a good user experience available (be it a mobile sitelet, app download, or a mobile-friendly location finder)
3. Long-Term – Allow mobile users a path to purchase
- Full Content Accessible – Making your product pages mobile-friendly and allowing customers to pick up in-store (if applicable) could allow the client to capitalize on traffic that very few are currently monetizing effectively.
- Mobile E-Commerce Platform – Given that mobile commerce will be a 1.6 billion dollar industry in 2009, it may be a profitable option to consider.
As a reminder, keep mobile search engines in mind so your mobile content will be findable (sitemaps, accessibility, etc.). Also enable mobile analytics to track the success of your mobile investments. Most major web analytics companies offer mobile support and there are mobile-specific providers as well. Finally, there are three types of mobile users; know your target and their limitations before building/buying anything:
- Feature phones – Popular basic phones (Nokias, Razrs, etc.) that access the internet
- Fully enabled phones – iPhone, Google Android (G1) have full browser capability
Remember, your initial mobile strategy doesn’t have to be all-inclusive. Test the waters before you dive in head first.