Words From the Street

Mobile, Friendly and Optimized

Even though there is still a segment of consumers who use The Yellow Pages to search for the services of garment care specialists such as dry cleaners, it is clearly evident that we are a very mobile society. Ninety percent of American adults have a mobile phone and two out of three Americans (regardless of age) have a smartphone. As a result, more web browsing occurs from mobile devices than on traditional laptops or desktops. When a potential new customer finds your awesome website, chances are they are using a browser on their very mobile, high-tech smartphone.

If your website was designed by a professional webmaster, your website is at the very least mobile friendly. Mobile friendly refers to a website that displays accurately between your laptop or desktop computer and a mobile device such as a handheld phone. While it will appear smaller on a phone, a mobile friendly website will be perfectly functional. Many website developers consider mobile friendly as a “best practice” for all website developments. Since the percentage of mobile users is quickly rising, ensuring that your awesome website is mobile friendly is absolutely critical. At minimum, a mobile friendly website should have a phone number, physical address, or email address that can easily trigger a phone call, driving directions, or email message from the mobile device.

A far more advanced website is one that is mobile optimized. Mobile optimized simply means that the website will reformat itself for handheld devices, such as smartphones. Reformatted content, larger navigation buttons and optimized images appear when the user is on an Android, iPhone or other smartphone device. You’re probably wondering, “Why should I reformat my already awesome website?” Reformatting allows your awesome website to easily engage a huge mobile audience when key buying decisions come up. You know exactly what I mean. There are countless drivers roaming the streets in their automobiles with trunk-loads of dirty clothing. They’re looking for the nearest dry cleaner. They need to know when and if you’re open. What time do you close? Is FREE pick-up and delivery a viable option? What specialty or premium services do you offer? What are the basic starting prices for commonly cleaned items? Are there multiple locations closer to home or work? What modes of payment are accepted: credit cards; checks, with two forms of identification, (do people still write checks) or cash? More and more of your potential new customers are turning to their mobile devices to help them make the decision to bring their precious wardrobe to your dry cleaning business. Having a mobile optimized website that allows the user to navigate with ease and engage from the small screen of their smartphone means reaching a decision faster to come through your front door with garments in hand.

Here are a few elements that go into making a mobile optimized website.

• Make the navigation simple and “thumb-friendly”. Use large touch points, especially for the all-too important contact information.

• Minimize graphics so that they don’t obstruct the user’s mission of obtaining critical information about your business, such as service listings and price lists.

• Unless it’s absolutely necessary, refrain from making users type.

• Always give users the option to see the desktop version of your awesome website (some folks just can’t help themselves and feel the compelling urge to read your eloquent text and see your pictures and graphics of pristinely cleaned clothes that have been immaculately pressed, finished and packaged for public consumption).

Mobile browsing is not going away anytime soon. It will continue to rapidly grow. The customer’s appetite for information requires those of us in the dry cleaning industry to effectively deliver information about our products and services via the mobile web. How does your awesome website appear on the relatively small screen of a smartphone? There’s only one way to find out. Grab your iPhone, android, Blackberry, Windows phone or other “phablet” and type your dry cleaner’s website address into the browser. What you see is what you get. It’s guaranteed that existing customers and potential new customers see the same exact thing that you’re seeing. If you don’t like what you see, meet with the webmaster of your awesome website and open a meaningful dialogue about the importance of making your site mobile friendly and optimized.

John Leano can be reached by e-mail: Leano@BryansCleaners.com or Twitter: @JohnLeano or www.facebook.com/johngleano

About John Leano

John Leano can be reached by e-mail: Leano@BryansCleaners.com or Twitter: @JohnLeano or www.facebook.com/johngleano