In 2017, worldwide mobile web traffic surpassed desktop traffic for the first time ever.
By 2018, mobile devices already accounted for 58% of all US-based internet traffic.
In 2020, mobile web traffic is expected to make up a whopping 45% of all e-commerce activities.
In 2016, just four years ago, that number was only 20.6%.
And according to Pew Research, over 81% of Americans (and climbing) now own smartphones.
The statistics couldn’t make it any clearer. Mobile traffic is the future of the internet.
So: is your flooring website optimized for mobile users? If the answer is anything but a resounding “yes!”, you need to optimize your page!
Today, we’re going to discuss why you need to optimize your flooring website for mobile use, what that optimization entails, and how to make that optimization happen.
My website is good enough. Why do I need to change it?
Even after reading the statistics above, you might be thinking: my flooring website is fine—why do I need a better one?
And it’s true. Your website might be fine. In fact, it might be really good. But remember: the way consumers browse the internet is changing. And a website that was successful in 2012 isn’t necessarily a website that will be successful in 2020.
Think about it. These days, consumers have more buying options than ever. Box stores, independent retailers, even online giants like Amazon are competing with you to sell floor coverings.
If your website doesn’t offer a mobile experience that’s just as good—or better—than your competitors’, users are simply going click the red ‘X’ in the corner of your page and move on.
Now, you might be thinking that your website isn’t that important. After all, you don’t sell floor coverings online—you sell them in person. Your actual store is what matters! But consider this: over 82% of consumers regularly use smartphones to research the purchases they plan on making in stores.
If your website isn’t optimized for mobile use, consumers are never going to make it to your store in the first place. It’s just that simple.
The essentials of mobile optimization
Although “mobile optimization” may sound like a long, involved, and intimidating process, it truly doesn’t have to be. You simply need to make some common-sense changes to help users browse your site more effectively on different devices.
And while some of these changes will have to be made by a web designer, many of them can be made by you. Here are the essential elements to consider when redesigning your website for mobile usability.
Keep your design mobile-friendly
Don’t worry, this has nothing to do with changing the way your website looks. You just want to make sure your website looks the same—or is equally usable—on any type of screen.
Consider the examples below. In the first image, we see the homepage of a flooring website as viewed on desktop. The design is sleek, intuitive, and easy-to-use. All the buttons, menus, and images are appropriately placed and rendered at the correct sizes.
In the second image, we see this same website as viewed on a mobile device. The buttons, menus, and images are distorted, incorrectly placed, and difficult to use.
In the third image, we see this same web page with a design that’s mobile-friendly. Everything is appropriately sized, usable, and intuitively placed. This is how your website should render on mobile.
Harness the power of GPS
These days, every smartphone is GPS-enabled. That’s a huge advantage for brick-and-mortar retailers. When leveraged correctly, you can easily use a potential customer’s GPS to nudge them to your physical storefront.
How? Link your mobile site directly to a mapping application! When a user clicks on that link, their mapping application will automatically open—with your store already input as the user’s destination.
This way, consumers can plot a course to your store at the click of a button. Literally.
Don’t use pop-ups
While you may utilize pop-ups in order to capture leads or drive sales, it’s best to avoid them on mobile devices.
When viewed on mobile, pop-ups can easily take up an entire browser window—making them quite difficult and frustrating to close. The more difficult a pop-up is to close, the more quickly a user will leave your site entirely.
Optimize for fat fingers
The fat finger phenomenon refers to the idea that it’s very easy for users to hit incorrect buttons by mistake—especially on small mobile touch screens. And the smaller the buttons, the easier it is to make an error.
If your buttons aren’t large enough to be used easily (or if you don’t allow enough space between them), you can be sure that your customers will experience a wealth of these frustrating errors. And again, the more frustrating your website is to navigate, the more quickly your consumers are going to abandon it.
Clip your content
While you always want to provide your users with as much information as possible, remember: on mobile, big blocks of text can be quite hard to read. If a user has to scroll through section after section of unbroken text, they’re more likely to get bored and leave.
Try clipping your content—instead of large paragraphs, strive for short, easily-readable sections. And don’t be afraid to break up your text using pictures!
How to optimize your site for mobile use
Decide what needs to be changed
The first thing you need to do when optimizing your site for mobile use: figure out exactly what needs to be changed. To do this, simply visit your site on different mobile devices and start thinking about how you want your site to look on mobile.
Get an idea of how your site looks and operates on different phones and tablets
Every device is different, so try to check your site on as many different models and brands as possible. The difference between phone usability and tablet usability can huge, so try and navigate as much of your website as possible on as many different types of devices as you can.
Isolate what needs to be improved
For this, we recommend making a list or spreadsheet of action items. Log any issues you see or improvements you want to make, and make sure to have your employees do the same! The more eyes, the better.
Start the optimization process
Once you’ve isolated exactly what you need to improve, you can start the optimization process. Talk to your web designer or jump in and start making changes yourself. Depending on what you need to optimize, you may not have to make any code changes at all!
Every website is different, so the only person who can judge how well your website looks and feels on a mobile device is you! That said, if you do need some help deciding whether your flooring website is mobile-friendly enough—or if you need help with the optimization process itself—FloorForce is here to help.