Mobile internet usage is perhaps one of the defining revolutions of this decade.
People love how quick and easy it is to quickly look up something on their mobile that they carry around 24/7.
Signs of mobile usage are now all around us. People scroll through websites on tablets, smartphones, notebooks and other web-enabled mobile devices to pass their time.
According to the BBC, almost 50% of people have used the internet whilst away from their computer in a survey last year. In fact that article was published in 2011 so the reality now is probably much higher.
Have a look at these statistics which clearly show how mobile use is climbing year on year and now well over 10% of total usage:
So if you are wanting to increase access to your site this is definitely something to consider!
Mobile use is truly becoming a global phenomenon. Whilst China and India have the majority of mobile connections, the use of mobile phones by developing nations is also under a period of rapid growth.
Many people in the developing world are unable to buy or charge a computer but they can afford to use internet on their phone; they often lack a wired internet infrastructure, however the mobile technology is much easier to implement.
As people have more access to sites on their phones, it is not surprising that they want to buy the things that they see on their phones.
According to a report by SAS and Verdict Consulting survey m-Commerce “is growing fast and will become an integral part of shopping for all ages –
retailers need mobile capability to engage with shoppers as well as sell to them.”
Building Apps is quite a bespoke task which means you can modify your app to your specific modifications.
However designing the app means that you need to create it individually for each type of device, so this can become expensive as you will need at the least both an iOS (iPhone etc) app and also an Android app. You might also want a Windows Phone app giving you a total of three separate apps that need to be coded.
Mobile Version of your Website
Rather than opting for an app, we always recommend that instead you focus on having a mobile friendly web site.
There are two ways to optimise your site for mobile devices: these are responsive themes and mobile versions. They have positive points and drawbacks and it really depends on what you are looking for.
We offer both types of mobile optimisation so whatever option you decide, we are happy to implement it.
Just in case you are not sure about what the differences between responsive themes and mobile versions is, I shall give some more detail on this below.
Responsive themes are basically your current website but with the capability to scale itself to the size of a mobile device. The idea is rather than having one web page you can shape,size and place the elements of your site to fit any size browser.
According to google responsive themes are great for SEOs and for ease of updating the site. This may be because they minimise bounce rate which means it minimises problems of when a visitor presses the back button when the site is unresponsive. This in turn will improve your site ranking. Another SEO benefit is that it directs the user to one URL. It is also easier to update than a mobile version of your site.
A mobile version is literally a completely different website. This means that you can edit your site to be completely how you want it rather than tweak an existing site. The disadvantages of this is that it can time consuming and expensive.
A mobile version is served up as a completely alternative version of your website if a mobile user agent is detected. For Magento there are some modules that do a nice job of offering a fairly bog standard mobile version which is optimised for slow connections etc. These days with large screen powerful smartphones running on 3G networks, the issues that prompted the mobile version are less of an issue so we tend to lean more towards the responsive strategy these days.
To summarise it is a great idea to optimise your site with mobile capability so that your customers can properly view your site. Responsive themes are best if you want to have a mobile version of your site that is easier, quicker and cheaper to update, while mobile versions are better if your aims are to have a bespoke mobile version of your site that you would not need to update regularly.