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Shopping a Go-Go: Millions of shoppers are now buying on the go

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So, you know what SMO means, right? No, this is not a trick question. Selective Mobile Only or SMO is a term describing the close to 30% of electronic device users who access the internet via smart hand-held (mobile) devices. The strictest definition of SMO users describes consumers who access the internet exclusively through a phone, typically for reasons of cost and for convenience. It is a reasonable assumption that SMOs are a younger demographic and tend to use multiple devices, including tablets.

Go-Go-1-JuneAs a jeweler, you’re likely to concede that your overall client base is adult, and maybe even mature, unless your store focuses on bridal goods. Nevertheless the customer-base you are aspiring to gather is a younger consumer since their purchasing years will be the longest in duration.

According to eMarketer’s report, “Redefining Mobile-Only Users”, data points to an even more massive migration toward mobile shopping preferences over the next decade. Most marketers are prepared to invest more in mobile tactics while still supporting traditional desktop experiences. Many even claim to support a “mobile-first” concept of marketing.

As a retailer, it’s incumbent upon you to keep in lock-step at least, or jump ahead of trends and be prepared for how consumers will want to access your goods and services.

Marlene Murphy, technical web developer and project manager at Jewelry Website Designers has been preparing her clients for this eventuality. And, in her words, “this future is here.”

Q: How many jewelers coming to you now to build an updated website specifically ask for mobile-friendly site construction?

Marlene: I’ve noticed a recent uptick in awareness of the need for mobile-friendly websites. At the same time, clients show little understanding of what that entails, or why it’s vital and the difference between mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive capabilities. With 30-50% of the market utilizing mobile devices, some exclusively, failure to address the mobile segment can adversely affect online sales or even in-store traffic.

Q: You used the terms mobile-friendly and mobile responsive. What’s the difference, and what should e-tailers consider when choosing either one of these capabilities?

Marlene: Mobile-friendly means that a site will display adequately on a mobile device like a smart phone, tablet or iPad.  A mobile-responsive site auto-adjusts the visual display based on the size of the visitor’s viewport. The website will appear differently on an iPhone than it does on a desktop monitor or tablet.  Essentially there are 3 different versions of the same site to accommodate the screen size. Mobile website layouts must be clean and simple with larger fonts to accommodate the wide variance in screen resolutions.  This may require an adjustment or compromise to the client’s concept of a traditional jewelry website which in the past often consisted of small fonts on a dark background with large banner ads and Flash movies.

Q: What is the biggest stumbling block to achieving a successful jewelry website that you encounter with your clients now?

Marlene: Traditional retail marketing has consisted of printed collateral like flyers and other promotional tools, plus TV and radio ads. Many veteran retailers find it difficult to switch gears and adapt to the new mobile culture with a generation of consumers demanding immediate responses and a reluctance to make a phone call or visit a store.

Q: What do you advise clients to consider when they come to you seeking an update to their under-performing or outdated website?

Marlene: Analyzing web traffic is key; real scrutiny with interpretation, not just tallying the number of hits or visitors, but examining the type of traffic - what devices are they using (desktop, mobile) and at what point are they abandoning the site? When the mobile-user traffic sector reaches a third or even one half of the customers coming to your website, you really need to critically assess how your site’s design appears on various mobile devices.

An outdated site could be driving potential customers away when they can’t read your content easily. They may also hop off if they’re required to scroll the page too much just to view a product or its description.

One of the first tools I utilize for evaluating an existing website is a mobile device emulator that displays the site on my large monitor at various screen sizes. I can quickly model how that site is likely to display on a mobile device.

Q: Any parting words of wisdom or encouragement to jewelers and designers hoping to snatch a greater market share via their website in our highly competitive climate now?

Go-Go-JuneMarlene: Mobile websites require a slightly different approach than how we built earlier so-called traditional websites. Design flexibility is essential to its success. A willingness to embrace today’s mobile culture can significantly increase your website’s traffic and ultimately impact your sales.

Marlene Murphy has been designing custom websites for 16 years. She’s been building from scratch jewelry and gemstone trade online solutions for 6 years. Jewelry Website Designers prides itself on superb customer care and takes a highly personalized approach to each site JWD develops. During the construction phase, clients are strongly encouraged to interact and comment as needed on the progress of the new site via a private link available only to the client.

You may wonder what the health of your current website is, or want to learn more about its effectiveness with major browsers. During June, JWD is offering a no strings, no obligation, and no kidding health analysis of your current site. Ask for your free analysis and say hi to Marlene at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

 
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