High street retailers are expected to see £11bn growth in revenue from mCommerce (mobile commerce) in 2012. Figures taken from this report, show that retailers expect a 23% growth in mCommerce sales over the next year and that two-thirds of retailers expect social media to drive considerable sales.
This means that it has never been more important to have an online presence, you might not be a high street retailer, but with this growth towards web and mobile, you can compete with these high street brands if you have a good strategy. So, what is it you need to do?
Build a Mobile Website
Obviously, with the growth of mCommerce, you really need to start thinking about building a website compatible for mobile. There are a couple of ways to do this; some people/companies opt for a native app or purpose built mobile website, and others opt to go for a website with a responsive design, the latter becoming more and more popular with those trying to push the web forward.
Native apps and purpose built mobile website have their advantages, mostly that the design and content can be completely customised for the app or website. However, it does suffer from one big downfall, that being the fact it requires twice as much work. Firstly you need to build two separate websites, one for desktop screens and mobile phones. Then you have to be on top of constantly updating two websites. You may even fall into the trap of having more than two websites, if you feel you need one built specifically for tablets as well. This is why the web is moving away from this model.
Responsive web design (RWD) is becoming popular for one massive reason; it adapts size to fit any screen. That’s right, if designed and coded well, the responsive design can change size, move on screen items around and, will, fit all sizes of screen, and look good on all sizes of screens. Here are a couple of good examples of how a website with a RWD can work: foodsense.is and fork-cms.com (to see the changes, just grab and drag the bottom right corner of the window, adjusting the size of the screen).
Build a Social Media Presence
Social media has been talked about time and time again, even by us. So if you haven’t started, given up or are currently using it but it’s not working, then it’s time to put some real effort into this medium of traffic.
For a business to be successful with Social Media, you need a good strategy; you need to know what you’re doing. You can’t just whim it. You need a clear identity for your social approach, not necessarily the same as your brand identity, social media works differently. Read a few social media blogs and build up an understanding of what needs to be done and how to do it. Here are a couple of good ones http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/ and http://socialmouths.com/.
In short, my advice would be to become more personable; people respond to personality better than cold corporate brands. Also, don’t constantly talk about yourself or your offerings. Nobody likes to talk to the guy at a party who’s constantly talking about himself; people avoid him.
You should also be sharing other industry experts’ opinions and be conversing with your customers. Keep an eye on related keywords, and try to spark up a conversation with those talking about related topics. Don’t jump straight in trying to sell them something, offer them advise. If you’re a massage parlour, look for people talking about stress. Offer them some advise, home remedies or techniques they could try, and they’ll no doubt check out your website. At the very least, you are now at the front of their mind, and have subconsciously put the idea of a massage in their mind.
There has never been a more important time to think about your online presence. Having just a website is not enough these days, your website needs to be adaptable as more and more screen sizes are introduced. You also need to have a way to drive traffic to that website, today search engines and social media have never been more powerful, and they are bound to become an even more valuable source of traffic. So stop putting it off, get to it now and reep the rewards.