Why mobile-optimized sites are a must-have for retailers

My colleague Alex Colon uses some fresh data from the online mobile commerce firm Branding Brand to illustrate why mobile-optimized sites have become crucial for retailers. The company reported that Black Friday sales on mobile-optimized sites were up 187 percent this year over last year, visits increased 76 percent and page views increased 88 percent. Just as impressively, the average order value was up 22 percent over last year.

Those figures aren’t exactly shocking, of course — mobile was sure to play a larger role in holiday shopping this year, and some evidence suggests consumers actually prefer using mobile websites to using mobile apps. But far too many retailers have been slow to react: A survey from Adobe earlier this year found that 45 percent of businesses still don’t have a mobile-optimized site or app, and a study from the ecommerce company Briteskies found that only 35 percent of retailers offer websites that work well on mobile.

Websites built for mobile users enable businesses to reach a wide variety of handsets with a single online destination (unlike apps, which must be built for each platform), and responsive design allows those businesses to build a single site that works well on smartphones, tablets and PCs (although responsive design isn’t the right solution for every business). Apps are great, but building a mobile-optimized site should be the top priority for almost any retailer.