We are at a global tipping point—one of the biggest shifts since the Internet began, with mobile web browsing surpassing PC usage in large numbers. According to the IDG Global Mobile Survey, 77% of business decision-makers use their smartphone to research a product or service for their business before contacting a seller to make a purchase. Yes, we are talking to you, B2B sellers.
In the past, many B2B companies have viewed mobile as a luxury add-on, but today, failing to embrace responsive design is risky. Prospects and customers now take the front-end research online and do it themselves before contacting a business, or potentially not contacting a business if its website is not up to par on their mobile device. Responsive design automatically renders web content properly on a user’s device, whether it’s a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone. That ensures your business can adequately serve customers regardless of the device they use.
Let’s explore facts and reasoning for why B2B companies must have a responsive site:
1. Work and play intersect now more than ever. While executives rely on mobile devices to conduct business research, many B2B sites are catering strictly to desktop users. One of the keys to long-term success and competitive advantage may be how quickly a company can develop and implement an effective mobile platform.
2. Cost savings and sustainability. While mobile apps and m-dot sites have been an effective solution to serving up mobile websites in the past, they are not sustainable and not nearly as cost-effective as responsive sites. Managing multiple experiences is cumbersome, meaning that inevitably they become dated. A responsive approach to web design means a singular experience, updated in one location that provides brand consistency across devices.
3. Mr. big shot Google says so. Google itself recommends that developers use responsive design in its mobile design strategy. In its Webmasters guidelines, Google says that “making a website that is friendly to smartphone users has now become a critical part of website management.” In fact, with mobile users accounting for more than 50% of Google searches, last spring Google incorporated the “mobile friendliness” of a site into its ranking algorithm. This has a significant impact on the current ranking of content. Not having a mobile-friendly, responsive site will negatively impact the ability of your site to be ranked at the top of search engines.
4. Increased conversion rates. Aside from search and sustainability benefits, going responsive will also have a major impact on conversion rates from mobile users (which if you remember from earlier in this article account for 77% of business decision makers now). Obviously, if a website does not work on mobile or tablet devices, users will be unable to convert as quickly and easily.
5. Branding benefits. It forces brands to really think about how they sell themselves. In the mobile-first content model, you start with the key message on the smallest screen and build out as you have additional real estate. You would be surprised how challenging that can be for the many B2B brands that have had complex messages in the past. This process of boiling down to what is really important often results in content and value proposition clarity that can transform the business.
Responsive design benefits everyone involved. Customers appreciate the simplicity, ease, and user-friendly experience that a responsive site delivers. They are able to find what they are looking for quickly and will be more likely to linger on your site, searching information andsolutions to their business problems. Companies will benefit because it allows them to make significant inroads with prospects without relying on the traditional sales funnel that, frankly, is no longer viable as an optimal lead generation and conversion tool, as buyers rely less on traditional means like phone calls and more on various forms of digital media.
Responsive enables you to present solutions that are user-friendly and establish yourself as a thought leader. In short, it is a means for attracting more qualified, relevant leads and even speeding up the conversion phase. And that, ultimately, is what it’s all about.
Kali Kasprzyk is director of business development at Echidna Inc., a provider of e-commerce design, technology and marketing services. Follow Echidna on Twitter @echidnainc.Favorite