What is in this article?:
- Four rules to optimize mobile website design
- More mobile strategies
Restaurant customers are looking for you on their smartphones. Are you ready for the scrutiny?
Did you know that approximately 72 percent of consumers surveyed in the 2012 Local Consumer Review Survey trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations? Meanwhile, just over half say that positive online reviews make them more likely to use a local business. With more consumers becoming mobile and incorporating smartphones and tablets into their everyday lives, chances are that many are reading these reviews, searching, and doing research on a mobile device.
Adapting mobile strategies to optimize for a mobile consumer experience is now a critical part of marketing strategy not only for the restaurant industry but the hospitality industry as a whole.
Your valued customers are now “checking in,” making reservations and reading reviews at the tips of their fingers while they are on the go and on their mobile device. As consumers become more mobile, it is increasingly important for the restaurant industry to recognize the need for functional and fast-loading mobile websites to stay ahead of consumers.
Some operators with abundant resources have the ability to create an app for their businesses. But mobile applications are often costly to develop and continually need updates and changes. There is an efficient alternative that can still produce a positive mobile user experience. Restaurants can easily develop a mobile site that looks and feels like a mobile app without the price tag by leveraging the latest web development tools.
Employing technologies such as HTML5 for web development will allow you to take advantage of different capabilities in addition to incorporating responsive design to make sure users get the best experience no matter which device they use. HTML5 is also widely supported by multiple operating systems, saving you time and money in the development cycle. What’s more, because it’s on the web and not in an app store, your restaurant becomes much more discoverable for users of all types who are searching and researching. Being found is often the name of the game.
Rule 1: Keep it snappy and avoid excessive requests.
Most users won’t stick around for a 60-second home page download. When this happens, not only have you lost a potential sale for the day, but these frustrated users are not very likely to return in the future. A recent mobile user survey conducted by Keynote Competitive Research found that 16 percent of mobile users will not return or wait for your website to load if it takes too long, and 6 percent will go to a competitor’s website.
It is important to incorporate best practices into the design of your mobile site that will enable speed and optimal performance, generating the best mobile user experience.
At the forefront of best practices in designing mobile optimized websites is minimizing the HTTP requests needed to for each page navigated. HTTP requests increase the time needed to download your site—and therefore increase the chance of user abandonment. There are avoidable ways that websites routinely make excessive HTTP requests.