Are small and medium enterprises ready for the mobile client?

The mobile market in Poland is systematically growing. Consumer habits are dynamically changing and so are the devices they use when shopping. Smartphones, tablets, phablets – all of these are used by the contemporary consumer. Are small and medium enterprises prepared for the changes that are taking place? Are they able to reach the client effectively?

In the ‘Readiness of small and medium companies’ report produced by the ActiveMobi website (Q3 2014), 2,937 websites of small and medium companies based in the 30 largest Polish cities were analysed. Nine typical industries searched for using mobile devices were considered. The first 11 results provided by Google for a given industry in a given city were examined.

It turned out that few websites have a version that can be displayed on mobile devices. Only 7% of small and medium companies decided to implement a responsive or a dedicated mobile version of the website.

The industries that have the most mobile websites are hairdressing (9.59%), dentistry (9.92%), and catering (7.29%).

A relatively natural correlation was observed: the larger the city, the more mobile websites. The smaller the city, the fewer mobile user-friendly websites. This is primarily a result of the awareness of consumer needs, which have been researched better in larger cities.

Interestingly, Poznań comes first in the ranking of the cities, with 16% of the websites having a responsive or mobile version, followed by Białystok (15%), with Warsaw coming third (14.95%) and Lublin fourth (13.27%). The last cities in the ranking are the infamous five: Ruda Śląska, Dąbrowa Górnicza, Płock (all with 2%), Rybnik (1%), and Elbląg (0%).

Quality of mobile websites

Unfortunately, the quality of mobile and responsive websites is often inadequate. Simple mistakes that could be easily eliminated are frequent. It’s noticeable right away that a lot websites were not designed in accordance with the fundamental principle of mobile first. The websites are often ‘re-done’ to look mobile instead of starting the design of particular elements presented on the website with their mobile version. This would guarantee 100% that the user, regardless of the screen size, would easily find what he was looking for.

Most frequent mistakes

In the case of responsive websites, the most frequent shortcoming is the fact the content does not adapt to the screen size: elements move out of the screen or overlap, making the website illegible and using the services of the company virtually impossible. Careless layout is another problem. For instance, when using a one page layout, you need to remember about implementing a static navigation toolbar that is necessary in this type of a website. You also need to remember that cramming all of the content on one page that may be scrolled almost infinitely disorientates the user and makes him feel lost, quickly quitting the website.

Should we invest in mobile?

The answer is very simple. Every company that wishes to increase its sales and reach a growing group of consumers with its offer should make its website accessible to mobile users as soon as possible. You need to remember that consumers are becoming inquisitive and before deciding to use the services of a particular company, they will often engage in showrooming. And how are they to do that if they are unable to view websites comfortably on their mobile phones or tablets? Grzegorz Urban, in his Marketing of Great Possibilities, calls the contemporary client a ‘prosumer,’ defining him as an ‘active client, bordering on a professional.’ Forecasts show that already in 2015, the number of users getting online via mobile devices will be larger than the number of those doing so using stationary devices. You need to realise that every smartphone purchased on the market means potential. A sales potential that should be taken advantage of.

The article was written on the basis of the ‘Readiness of small and medium companies for the mobile client’ report, which is available for download here.