Still deciding between (Android/iOS) apps and mobile website? There are definitely markets for both. Another important question is how to overcome the most common pitfalls in development, including priorities, usability (think checkout), and SEO.
For this article, we hand-picked the most useful resources to narrow your search and to make sure your mobile development will be on the right track.
Research and Analysis
1. Mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016. While this represents a compounded annual growth rate of 39% from 2011 to 2016, mobile commerce is only expected to be 7% of overall eCommerce sales by 2016. MOBILE COMMERCE FORECAST: 2011 TO 2016, Forrester.
2. eBay Forecasts $8B In Mobile Commerce Volume In 2012; PayPal Will Reach $7B. TechCrunch.
3. The number of U.S. smartphone subscribers surpassed the 100-million mark in January, up 13 percent since October to 101.3 million subscribers. Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 48.6 percent market share (up 2.3 percentage points) followed by Apple with 29.5 percent market share (up 1.4 percentage points). RIM ranked third with 15.2 percent share, followed by Microsoft (4.4 percent) and Symbian (1.5 percent). Source: comScore MobiLens.
4. Nielsen on mobile shopping, for now the main audience in the U.S. seems to be much more interested in using the mobile web over store-specific apps. When It Comes To Shopping, Mobile Web Trumps Apps, Techcrunch.
5. Digital content purchases, such as music, eBooks, TV episodes and movies, were the most popular mobile purchases in September with 47 percent of smartphone purchasers buying these items. 37 percent purchased clothing or accessories directly from retailer, while 35 percent of purchasers bought event tickets. Slightly more than one in three mobile purchasers bought daily deals and gift certificates on their device during the month. Digital Goods, Clothing/Accessories and Tickets among the Most Popular Mobile Purchases, ComScore.
6. The Growing Importance of Mobile Website Optimization. A KissMetrics’s infographic.
8. Mobile apps currently have better usability than mobile sites, but forthcoming changes will eventually make a mobile site the superior strategy. Mobile Sites vs. Apps: The Coming Strategy Shift, Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox.
9. As the mobile space matures, there will be many more application develop choices. In many cases, your goals will help determine what you choose here. 10 Things to Plan for When Developing a Mobile App, Mashable.
10. While customers want optimised mobile sites and apps, they also want to keep the key functionality they are used to from the main site. Registration is bad on desktop, but worse on mobile. Customers don’t like to register before checkout, and retailers that have dropped registration have seen the benefits. Checkouts need to be designed for mobile. Mobile website checkouts: best and worst practice, Econsultancy.
11. Retailers need to move away from chasing the latest trend to making changes to their online channels that will help customers through the final stages of the booking funnel. In the mobile space, retailers need to be open to learning and optimising based on customer feedback. Making the most of mobile commerce opportunities in 2012, Econsultancy.
12. Having a mobile version of a website is not enough. Consumers are often left disappointed with the experience of such sites. What retailers need to think about is what mobile shoppers require and try to deliver it in a simple package. Large buttons, which can be easily clicked with a finger are recommended over small icons and an extremely simplified menu should be aimed for every time. Consumers Frustrated with Mobile Commerce, Huffington Post.
13. Beyond the low penetration, it’s also important to note that within that small percentage, it’s even smaller when it comes to people that are paying for apps, downloading apps and actually using apps. The Mobile Imperative.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
14. Google Webmaster – Making Websites Mobile Friendly. Let’s break mobile phones into a few classifications:
Traditional mobile phones: Phones with browsers that cannot render normal desktop webpages. This includes browsers for cHTML (iMode), WML, WAP, and the like.
Smartphones: Phones with browsers that render normal desktop pages, at least to some extent. This category includes a diversity of devices, such Windows Phone 7, Blackberry devices, iPhones, and Android phones, and also tablets and eBook readers.We can further break down this category by support for HTML5:
- Devices with browsers that do not support HTML5
- Devices with browsers that support HTML5
16. The best Mobile SEO strategy is to not have a mobile SEO strategy. If you really MUST have a different site, use device detection and canonical tags. If you can’t go with using the same domain then the next best choice is m.yourdomain.com It does not really provide any SEO benefit, but “m” has sort of become the industry standard. Mobile SEO is a Myth, Search Engine Journal.
17. When submitting an app to the various app stores, whether it’s Google’s Play Market, Apple’s App Store, or the Windows Phone Marketplace, the text submitted with the app is crucial to the app’s success in the app store itself, as well as in search engines. SEO for Mobile Apps and App Stores, Practical Ecommerce.
18. More and more brands are using their Facebook profile as a mobile PPC landing page. Mobile is not the future of Facebook – it’s now. Like water seeking its level, mobile consumers are already engaging brands that make their presence easy to find, accessible, and easy to engage. 10 Optimization Secrets To Drive More Mobile Traffic From Facebook, Search Engine Land.
19. Deliver in 3 seconds. Over 50% of customers use the search feature on mobile sites. Make sure your search bar stands out, on every page of your mobile site, and index it thoroughly with your catalogue.
20. In-Marketplace Optimization. Drive Inbound Leads From Outside the Store. Make the Most of Customer Reviews. 3 Tips for Making Your Mobile App More Discoverable, Mashable.
What are your favorites resources? What would you add to the list? What strategy do you recommend? Please share your ideas in the comments.
By the way, take a look at some mobile apps we’ve developed here at DB Best. And if you’re looking for mobile developers, consider working with us.