You may have a website for marketing your small business, and that’s a great first step! But business owners can no longer assume people are only shopping and scrolling on laptops and desktops. It’s now vital to make sure that they can access your site from their smartphones, tablets, and e-readers—and that they have a great user experience.
In 2019, 94% of small business websites were considered “mobile-friendly,” which means their design will be consistent across devices. In fact, the only functionality change will be the scale; your site will, of course, appear larger on a laptop than on a phone. However, certain features like the website’s navigation may be limited if nothing but its scale is different.
This is why many businesses are moving toward responsive web design, which changes based on the device. This means a page’s images and text layouts will adjust from a larger desktop screen to fit a small phone screen. Responsive design is easier for users to navigate than mobile-friendly pages, and you won’t have to compromise your site’s functionality. In this post, we’ve broken down five benefits of designing a responsive website:
1. More customers can find you.
Many small business owners run into this problem when designing or redesigning a website: They don’t have enough time. This is a common obstacle, but it’s an important one to overcome. That’s because 27% of customers use the internet every single day to find local businesses, and 61% research a company and its products online before buying. Today’s shoppers are more inclined than ever before to learn as much as they can about a company before visiting or clicking “Buy Now.” So, if someone can find your business on a mobile device, Google will rank your site higher than companies with non-responsive sites. This means customers will find you more easily and be more likely to buy your product or service.
Not only are more customers searching online for small businesses before buying; they’re also using phones and tablets more than laptops or desktops to do so. The Pew Research Center reported that 81% of respondents had smartphones in 2019, while only 75% owned PCs or laptops (down from 91% in 2015). However, tablet and e-reader ownership had increased from 45% in 2015 to 50% in 2019. These trends point to the importance of developing a site that functions well on all devices—not just a PC.
Takeaway: With a responsive website that potential customers can view anytime and anywhere, you’re making it as simple as possible for them to find, learn about, and buy from you.
2. Buyers will know you’re credible.
Every small business owner wants to make a professional, positive first impression on potential buyers. This is not only necessary for selling your product or service, but also for growing genuine relationships and offering helpful information. A great way to show customers they can rely on you? Set up a beautiful, user-friendly website with mobile functionality.
In 2015, BrightLocal found that 38% of customers use their phones or tablets at least once a month to search for a local business, and they were impressed when companies had responsive web design. This correlates with the fact that more users are researching products and services on mobile devices than in years past (see above). And a company that can keep up with constant changes in mobile technology is more credible in customers’ eyes than a business whose desktop-only website limits them.
Takeaway: A site that works well on mobile shows potential buyers you’re willing to adapt to new industry trends to meet their needs and preferences—making them more likely to rely on you to help them solve a problem.
3. People can contact you wherever they are.
Even after you’ve helped your potential customers find and trust you, a major concern you might have is getting them to contact you. If your website functions on desktop and mobile, the data’s on your side: 88% of consumers who search for a local business on a mobile device will call or visit that company within 24 hours.
No matter where consumers are, reach them (and let them engage with you) through a responsive website. This means potential buyers can easily contact you from their phone, tablet, or other mobile (non-computer) device while riding the bus home or waiting in line at the grocery store. Just be sure to include your pricing, phone number, locations near them, and directions to your business. These are the top four pieces of information customers are searching for on mobile; including these elements on your mobile site will further encourage a consumer to visit and buy from you.
Takeaway: Having a website that users can access on their phone or tablet will allow them to reach out to you with questions, concerns, and feedback, no matter where they are.
4. Your business will be more competitive.
You’ve worked hard to make your small business successful, and you should be able to rise above the competition! Finding yourself up against big businesses can be stressful, especially when you consider how much mobile searching and sales have grown. In 2018, Statista reported that 52.2% of all global web traffic, and 63.5% of the world’s e-commerce sales, came directly from tablets and smartphones. While these are global figures, they point to a trend in local businesses as well: Having a user-friendly mobile site increases your chances of enticing a customer (who’s already on his or her phone) to buy.
Need more proof? A 2018 Google survey of 1,088 adult smartphone users found that 67% are more likely to buy a product or use a service if the business they reviewed had a responsive website. In the same study, 61% of respondents said they’d move on to a competitor if the first company didn’t have a user-friendly mobile site. Your competitors probably have responsive web design already, so don’t let them get ahead by neglecting your own site!
Takeaway: Make sure your website looks (and works) its best on desktop and mobile so your customers can easily learn why your business stands above the competition.
5. You’ll make the buying process easier.
Because of e-commerce’s rise in both global and small businesses, it’s a smart move to enable your target audience to learn about your product or service and buy from you online. However, it’s not enough to just assume your desktop’s e-commerce platform will look the same on a tablet or smartphone. Ensure your content adjusts to various screen sizes for optimal user experiences. And to avoid annoying busy shoppers, you’ll want to make sure your mobile site loads in three seconds or less.
Why is this so important? Well, 84% of customers reported that they struggled to complete a transaction while shopping on a tablet or smartphone; the issue only heightens during the holidays. And those who have a frustrating buying experience are more likely to turn to another business in the future—or even before completing the difficult transaction. If your made-for-desktop website isn’t compatible with a mobile device, then you’re making it difficult for customers to buy your product or service.
Takeaway: Don’t put unnecessary buying obstacles in the way of your potential buyers; simplify their lives with a responsive website!
Let’s recap: To make sure your customers can find, contact, and engage with you, set up a responsive website for your company! This will not only help you compete with other local businesses (and rise above those without a site); it’ll also make you look more credible and professional in the eyes of your ideal audience. Finally, responsive web design will provide a stress-free user experience and make customers want to buy from you!
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Treefrog Marketing is an agency in Lafayette, Indiana focused on small business. We specialize in strategic marketing and advertising, graphic design, web design, social media, SEO, and more. For more information, please visit our website. You can also connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram.