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2012 - The Year of Mobile for Businesses

Mobile is definitely the hottest topic in 2012. The staggering growth of smartphone and tablet users means that people are changing their ways in searching for information on the web. 

Browsing the internet while on the go is embedded in the daily habits of many. Even at home, people are starting to use a combination of their desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile phones to access internet information. 

With Google's chairman Eric Schmidt constantly preaching about mobile trends being the next big thing since slice bread and Google itself, and with the internet giant's takeover bid for Motorola Mobility at $12.5 billion, the prediction seems almost sure of turning into reality.  

Mobile Optimise your Website

To capitalise on this growing trend, your business website should be optimised for mobile devices. If there's only one thing you need to do in 2012 to get online customers, this should be it.   

Most businesses can benefit from a mobile optimised site - Local businesses can capture customers in its vicinity while they're on the road; Online e-commerce stores allow customers to research and purchase products conveniently from their mobile devices; B2B websites can offer better distribution of guides and relevant content to generate leads.  

Based on the requirements of your business, figure out what it is that you need to do on your mobile site to enhance user experience. These mobile optimisation tips should give you a good starting point:

  • Create an easy to navigate mobile layout - Mobile users want to find information quickly and easily. The same applies to a standard website, but the browsing limitations on mobile devices means mobile websites need to be extra 'navigable'.  

  • Only display key information -  Your mobile site is a summarised version of your standard website. Display only key pieces of information such as contact info, location and pricing details. 

  • Use simple and branded design  - Mobile sites don't have to 'wow' users with heavy design. Keep it clean and simple but incorporate your company branding as much as possible.

  • Follow mobile website standards - Just like a normal website, search engines favour mobile compliant websites, thus giving you higher rankings. 

  • Optimise for the best selling mobile devices - It is difficult to mobile optimise for all smart phones and tablets on the market. Therefore, acquire a list of best selling devices and work with that. 


Create Value with Mobile Applications

Besides a mobile friendly website, another great way of reaching out to mobile customers is to use mobile applications. Not all businesses have the need to create mobile apps. If there's no practical use for it, your app may end up collecting digital dust. 

However, if a mobile app creates value for you customers, then it will most probably enhance your customer's overall buying experience. The key is to identify and list out these values clearly, and translate them into an app that focuses on delivering these values. 

Here are some great mobile app examples:

  • Zappos - A fashion magazine app to provide the latest fashion trends to its customers, with
    Zappos'products as main features.

  • Target - Receive discounts, locate stores and search for products. Effective marketing whilst providing shopping convenience.

  • Westfield Malls - An app that functions like a shopping mall information kiosk. Search products, locate stores or discover unadvertised offers with this app. 

  • Best Buy - Scan QR codes for product details and online reviews. 

  • Starbucks - Pay for your espresso and collect reward points with this Starbucks app.  

Now that you've got a good idea on how to take advantage of this mobile trend, its time to use it on your business. Leave a comment on any of your ideas.


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