1005718_302768276525143_1239616468_nExcerpt from Independent Retailer magazine

By Ben T. Smith, IV and Seema Sud

As more people turn to mobile, they are increasingly browsing products and looking up local businesses on these devices. According to a 2012 Wanderful Media surveyconducted by Dimensional Research, laptop computers, at 77 percent, are at the top of the list of devices participants use to browse, check reviews, find a store, buy a product or do other online shopping activities. However, smartphones are a very close second at 75 percent. These are ahead of desktop computers and tablets, at 67 and 53 percent respectively.

How to integrate mobile

To capture the rapidly evolving mobile adoption, independent retailers must integrate mobile technology into their operations. There are smart and cost-effective ways to make this happen.  At a basic level, independent retailers should make sure their websites are easily viewed on mobile devices, which include smartphones and tablets. All websites are viewable on a mobile browser. However, they need to be constructed for that platform if they are to work in an optimal way.

Large fonts, images and buttons, for example, work on the web, but will take up too much real estate on a small screen. This can go beyond resizing fonts, images and buttons to make them better suited for a smaller screen, which will often be a touch-screen. For example, your address and phone number should be at least 44 pixels high, so that it is easy for potential customers to tap it with a finger. In some cases, site content should be removed or shortened. If you are working with a consultant to create or re-launch a website, you can request they build either a mobile-specific site or one that will work across all screens.

In addition, businesses must make sure their phone numbers and physical addresses are correct and viewable on a mobile site. According to Google’s smartphone study, most mobile users who search for local business information call the business directly, and 49 percent search for its location on a map. Having an easy-to-find phone number and address can translate into increased foot traffic to your store. Free online resources are available to help companies test their sites for mobile readiness. These include W3C mobileOK Checker and MobiReady.

Read the full article on IndependentRetailer.com

Ben T. Smith, IV is CEO of Wanderful Media, a startup focused on reinventing online discovery shopping with a social experience. He is also a Venture Partner at Accelerator Ventures and co-founder of MerchantCircle.com and Spoke.com. Smith blogs at btsiv.com, and you can follow him on Twitter at @bentsmithfour.

Seema Sud is the director of product management (mobile and tablet) at Wanderful Media. You can follow her on Twitter @seemasud.