Mobile-First Retail Business

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

If you currently have a retail business, your daily operation may not start with flipping over the open sign as many of your customers may prefer to shop online instead. It’s vital to have an online presence – and more importantly, you need to make it accessible from mobile devices. Mobile phones and tablets have become more popular ways to access the internet for more consumers compared to traditional internet browsing on a computer. A mobile-first strategy can help you capitalize on a vast number of mobile users who are your potential 24/7 customers.

Mobile-First Retail

With mobile-first retail, you can build an online presence using a mobile app or mobile-friendly site that is fully interactive on smartphones and tablets. If you have a full-fledged website that only functions on a computer and mobile users try to access to it on a mobile device, the browsing experience can be very spotty. This defeats the purpose of simplicity and concentration that the mobile internet provides. You obviously want to go where potential customers are with your retail business. If people don’t really sit in front of a computer to browse the internet, you shouldn’t waste money to build a website that may draw few visitors. If consumers are constantly on their phones and other mobile devices wherever they are, the mobile internet should be the first place you want your retail business to be. Mobile apps and mobile-friendly sites are technically adjusted to the limited computing functions of mobile devices and can deliver the best online experience to mobile users. By being mobile-first, you can turn mobile users into customers for your retail business.

Mobile-First Strategy

As a small retail business, you’re likely constrained by resources. A mobile-first strategy can help you make the best use of your limited resources. With a mobile-first strategy, you can focus on developing simple apps and forgo the building of a complex website. The mobile experience is all about being simple and centred in presenting information for consumption. Try to keep your mobile app as simple and focused as possible to help direct shoppers’ attention to a quick list of your products, and then converge them toward the checkout point. You could also integrate social media elements into your mobile app design, such as opening up a communication channel between you and your customers to engage them and earn their trust. A Toronto-based small business called Giftagram, a gift seller on mobile devices, has a mobile-first strategy that doesn’t use a traditional website but provides shoppers with mobile-app access only. One of the reasons for Giftagram’s mobile-first strategy is its limited resources, enough to spend on mobile app development only. Its mobile app is easy to use when choosing a gift without the extensive product browsing common on traditional retail websites. Plus, the app has a customer-communication-like notification feature that prompts the user to send automatic texts to gift recipients. The company acknowledges that the simplicity in mobile can’t be replicated with traditional computers. With a mobile-first strategy, a small retail business can take advantage of the popularity of mobile apps and expand its business presence to the vast number of mobile users.

References & Resources

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