Living in Bellingham these days requires a bit more patience than it used to. When you combine holiday shopping with the now regular swarms of Canadians coming down for a “good deal” you have the potential for the nominally laid back Bellinghamster to really lose it.
It’s a good thing I have two small children that have clued me in to what real frustration is like.
However, if you’re a local retailer or restaurant you’re likely pretty happy with all the new customers coming down to pick up a few things, eh?
But are you getting all the business you could be from out of town travellers?
When someone comes in from out of town, they are not going to be carrying a full sized computer around with them to figure out where to shop and eat. They probably are not going to be using a laptop computer either.
They will be using an iPhone or other type of smart phone to help them get around and figure out where they are going.
Hopefully not while they are driving – it’s bad enough as it is!
So while the Canadians and other visitors are looking for the kinds of products and services you offer on their smartphones, what do they see when they visit your site?
Your website may look great on a big high resolution monitor, but when it gets shrunk down to a few inches on a side how does it perform? Are visitors able to click on a phone number to call you? Can they easily find out where you are? Is it simple for them to navigate and find out what you offer?
Most of the time even a very expensive website will not work well, if at all, when a person tries to use it on a mobile phone.
And it’s not just a problem with people who are from out of town and don’t have access to their regular computer. Increasing numbers of locals are using smartphones more than regular computers to do their web browsing and email. If a site does not work properly on mobile it’s going to get ignored and the potential customer will go elsewhere.
But there is a solution!
Building a site for your mobile visitors can be as easy as having a few simple pages that give your location and a “tap to call” phone nubmer. It can also get more complex, even having a mobile website work like an “app” that is compatible with any smartphone (not just iPhone or Android).
A mobile friendly site is typically built separately, but along side, your existing website. The only modification that needs to happen with your existing site is to add a bit of code that will detect when a visitor is on a smart phone. This bit of code will send them to the mobile friendly version of your site so they can continue to shop, find out where you are, and pay you visit. Hopefully without causing any frustration to other drivers along the way. 🙂
Questions about how mobile and social help local businesses connect with more customers? Leave a note in the comments area and I’ll do my best to answer!