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GUEST OPINION Keeping mobile sites performing

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Nick Bond, telco specialist at Zeus Technology, discusses the importance for retailers to make sure they have the right solutions in place to prevent problems with mobile web performance

The way in which consumers are using mobile devices has changed dramatically over the past couple of years, offering so much more than the calls and texts they offered in the past. The way technology has evolved means that they now offer a genuine interactivity for consumers on the go, throwing up the opportunity for brands to develop relationships with customers through mobile services and even increase sales through the platform. Figures from the Internet Advertising Bureau go to show that brands are keen to interact with consumers in this way, with total spend on mobile phone advertising rocketing by 32% year on year.

With this in mind, consumer expectations of mobile web performance will already be high. According to the 2010 Yahoo! Appetite study, if a business doesn’t have a website that performs on mobile phones, then 44% consumers will blame the brand beyond everyone else. It has clearly become the case that consumers expect the same from their mobile web performance as they do on their desktop or laptop web browser.

Available all day, every day

With the rise of mobile Internet, customers now expect to access information from brands wherever and whenever they like on a 24 hour basis. This is quite different to the 9-5 opening hours of the high street. When busy periods are under way, it is important that retailers are conscious about the additional weight of traffic visiting their mobile websites. Having traffic management strategies in place will help to assess any foreseeable mobile web performance issues. This is crucial as failing to prepare for a rise in web traffic can easily lead to e-tail sites frustrating customers right when they need them to work at the point of sale.

Supporting major promotions

Successful outdoor or offline promotions will prompt high levels of traffic to mobile sites, but campaigns will be scuppered if the technology is not made available to ensure solutions to manage these peaks in demand. It makes sense that a mobile site performs well and can be accessed right after a consumer has seen promotions in a store on a high street. Where big promotions are due to go live, it is vital those team members implementing traffic management solutions are kept aware of upcoming activities that are in the pipeline. Equally those involved in planning the promotions need to be aware of any technical work that is scheduled that could hinder the success of an online campaign.

Choosing the right format

A mobile site could be made slow and inaccessible where there is excess traffic, so it might be better to consider a more straightforward format. Extravagant and media rich content may look good but with simple branding in place, visitors will be able to recognise the companies they trust and then most importantly access the services and information they want. This is even more important for transactional areas of a website, where maintaining steady mobile Internet traffic is vital for the customer’s peace of mind.

Keeping the customer on side, wherever they are

The important thing to recognise with poor mobile web traffic is that if a mobile site fails mid-sale, it does not merely cost a retailer that transaction, but future profits as well. To add to this, a performance issue will probably not just affect one customer, it will be a number who will become frustrated by these problems. With simple traffic management measures in place, customer loyalty and revenue streams can be maintained, with retailers safe in the knowledge that they need not worry about unnecessary instances of downtime.

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