The homepage of the traditional web site, left, and of the mobile web site.
More than half of all local web searches are performed on mobile devices, and by 2014, mobile internet use is expected to top desktop internet use, according to a May 2012 article from digital marketing consulting firm, Smart Insights Ltd. To serve this growing customer base of smartphone and tablet users, retailers like Evans Glass Co., are relying on mobile websites.
"Newspapers delivered messages to my parents. Television delivers messages to me. Mobile devices deliver messages to my kids' generation," says Bill Evans, owner. "Mobile devices and apps are simply the way to communicate with a developing, young customer base."
When launching its mobile website, Evans Glass viewed it as an investment, not an expense. "We know it is helping drive business to us," Evans says. "My children use apps and mobile devices habitually. They represent the beginning of the next customer market for our industry." The homepage of the traditional web site, left, and of the mobile web site.
DevDigital, a website design and development firm, created the site. "Most people assume you need a mobile view just to stay with the times and look modern, but it is so much more than that," says Thomas Ross, DevDigital project manager/search engine optimization consultant. The biggest motivator behind mobile sites is to provide an "easy-to-use, smooth experience for mobile users," he says. "Many websites don't function properly on mobile devices, and, even when they do, they are hard to navigate and see. A mobile website simplifies the navigation and makes everything easy to view."
A second reason glass companies should consider going mobile relates to Google's search algorithm. "Although most details are secret, [Google] seems to list sites with mobile views higher, when users search using mobile devices," Ross says.
About 80 percent of Evans Glass' traffic originates from Google searches, and 30 percent of traffic comes from mobile devices, making the mobile website an attractive option for the company, Ross says. "For Evans Glass, they are reaching a larger base of users [through] better rankings in Google, and also benefit from having customers who can access every part of their regular website on a fully functional mobile platform," he says. "As mobile use goes up, they can now capture all the conversions that would have been otherwise impossible to track."
Evan Glass Co.'s goals for the mobile site were two-fold: to increase market share by acquiring new customers and to provide better customer service. "A mobile website allows Evans Glass Co. to offer the consumer instantaneous information," says Lonna Wille, the office manager who spearheaded the project with DevDigital. "This allows Evans Glass to be easily identified and utilized when the consumer is looking to make a purchase. Gaining a constant existence inside the consumer's smartphone increases the opportunity of generating repeat sales and [and acts as an] instantaneous fingertip referral system."
"Our thought was simply to make it easy for the customer to get information from us and, hopefully, eliminate the customer's need/desire to contact our competitors," Evans adds. "It is all about making it so easy for the customer that they want to buy from us."
Evans Glass maintained its branding with the mobile site with the color choices, but greatly simplified the site navigation. The homepage of the traditional website includes 14 navigation menu items, a welcome video, several photos and a brief company introduction. The mobile web site homepage includes four menu items and one photo.
The mobile site offers access to the traditional website's capabilities, but in a simplified step-by-step format. For example, customers can request a detailed quote using their mobile device.
"Our 'request a quote' section is broken down into three different sections," Wille says. "The different sections offer visual aids that guide the customer through thendifferent types of quotes. Our shower door section, for example, helps the consumer visualize their perspective enclosure or door. Visual aids that are easy to read and understand allow the consumer to be actively involved with their own projects."
Using a simple, step-by-step menu, above, site visitors can request a quote using a mobile device. From the "Services" tab on the mobile home page, visitors select "Request a Quote," choose the type of glass product they are seeking ("Shower," "Window," or "General"), select specific product illustrations, and submit their request directly to Evans Glass Co.