With so much noise in our business and personal lives it’s difficult to focus and often far too easy to get side tracked by new and interesting things. Working in the mobile web space doesn’t allow for noise, you have slow connections, small screens and users that are on the go.
When planning a mobile website you need to focus on 4 main business functions that are universal to any profitable business:
Cash flow, i.e. getting paid
Let’s walk through the stages of planning a mobile website and see how it will improve your focus on these core aspects. To do this we are going to use 3 different business scenarios, a coffee shop, an high-end clothes ecommerce store and an accountancy practise. Our fictitious customer today, will be Alan.
Plan for user expectations
We need to understand what Alan is going to be doing on your website, why he has visited, what information he wants and what action he will take as a result. We can use a technique based around “user stories” to discover how we can fulfil his needs.
Why is Alan using his mobile to find your website?
Coffee Shop: Alan has popped into town and now fancies a coffee while his wife is off shopping, so he has gone to Google maps, typed in coffee shops and found your Google Places listing, and clicked the linked through to your website.
Clothes Ecommerce Store: Alan, being the fashionable man he is, likes top quality clothes brands, he has been to the trafford centre in Manchester and looked around some stores and found a couple of shirts he likes, but does not like the price! The mobile comes out of his pocket and the brand and shirt design is typed in to Google Shopping to try and find it cheaper online.
Accountancy Practise: Alan is sat in front of the TV and isn't really interested in what’s on, so thinks he could be doing something productive, he grabs out the phone to see if payroll has been completed this month, by directly typing in the web address of your business.
What information is Alan seeking?
Coffee Shop: Alan wants to go for a coffee right now, so he needs your address and preferably a link to get directions from where he is right now (geolocation) to your coffee shop. Alan is also one for a bargain, so he would like to find out if there are any vouchers?
Clothes Ecommerce Store: Alan would like to know the price of the item, if you have it in stock in his size, when you can deliver it, along with the estimated delivery cost (generally for mainland UK). He is also security minded and wants to check out what other people say about your store from a trusted review site.
Accountancy Practise: Alan is tasked focused here and wants to complete it as quickly as possible, he needs to login to your website and find out if his payroll has been completed for the month, he's looking primarily for the login page and then payroll within your web app.
What actions is Alan likely to take?
Coffee Shop: Alan downloads your voucher for a free upgrade to a large coffee (by entering his email address for future promotions) and clicks on your “Get Directions” link that goes straight through to Google Maps so he can start walking to your shop. He walks into the shop and presents the voucher which is quickly recognized and accepted for a smooth customer journey end-to-end.
Clothes Ecommerce Store: Alan wants to show his wife the shirt before purchase, so takes a photo of it in store and bookmarks your page for later. When he gets home, Alan uses the desktop PC in his home office to make the purchase from your store by getting out his bookmarks on his phone and visiting your website directly.
Accountancy Practise: Alan securely logs in by finding the login button towards the top of the page, and is presented with a list menu (see intuitive layout that’s thumb friendly) that has the option of payroll, he clicks through to find the latest report, views the report and logs out, happy in the knowledge the staff have been paid on time.
What was the point of all that?
To put into perspective exactly what Alan wants when he is using your website through a mobile device, there are many other scenarios Alan could be taking, like returning an item in store and needs to find the return number, sharing a photo with friends and family of a day out, looking up answers at the quiz night and so on.
What this exercise does is make you focus on your customer, what they want and how to give it to them in a way thats joined up. In the scenarios all four core business functions were touched on, lead generation (i.e. finding the coffee shop), sales conversion (the free voucher), fulfillment (getting the coffee) and cash flow (getting paid for the coffee). The only really different one is the accountancy practise, this is more to do with fulfilment and cash flow, as Alan is more likely to pay the invoice if he knows cash flow has been completed.
Coffee Shop: We discovered the primary focus for lead generation is to increase foot-fall to the premises by being on Google Places, a conversion tactic is a voucher, the fulfilment needs a smooth acceptance of the voucher with all the staff aware that these are real and not having to “go and ask the manager” before accepting. The cash flow is then delivered by cash on delivery of the coffee.
Clothes Ecommerce Store: Lead generation came through store browsing and looking up a comparison price, which was a new lead generation channel for us, so we need to focus on building some comparison pages to stand out more on Google, we then offer a very well optimised product landing page, with all the information Alan needs, with free delivery to aid fulfilment and cash flow sorted by integration with a secure payment partner.
Accountancy Practise: Alan had a task to do, so jumped straight in at fulfilment level, got what he needed and as a result aided our cash flow by paying the outstanding invoice for payroll service because he saw it was complete. A slick service like this is also one Alan would recommend, so further aiding the lead generation and conversion funnels.
Customer stories are a great way to plan mobile websites and see how people will interact with your business. If you always focus on the 4 main business objectives when going through the planning stage, you won’t be going far wrong.