One of the biggest misconceptions companies have when entering the mobile commerce space is that it involves simply “shrinking” down its current website to fit a handheld device.

“Companies are doing old things in new ways,” Forrester noted in a study. “Companies need to invest in design or watch value migrate to a new wave of savvy, well-heeled digital disruptors.”

While websites can technically be viewed on any smart device, that doesn’t make the site’s format mobile- or user-friendly. In fact, if a user has to zoom, squint or scroll in a variety of directions to find what he or she is looking for, it’s a clear sign the site hasn’t been optimized for mobile use.

According to Conklin and others, it’s best to let a third-party company who specializes in digital marketing, web development or mobile optimization, handle the technical aspects of a mobile program.

Mobile optimization is delivered in three distinct formats: through mobile websites, responsive websites and mobile applications.

Once that information is made available, developers say it’s important to review the company budget and zero in on the best mobile option for the price. For companies with a smaller budget, a responsive website may be the best choice. Other times, an app is the better investment over time.

Regardless of budget, mobile optimization relies heavily on its user-friendly features: high-resolution images, brief product and company descriptions and easy access — typically evident in “one-to-two swipes”— to contact information, product documents and prices.

Most of this information is culled from a company’s native website and online catalog, and can be designed to align with a company’s existing branding.

Lastly, mobile optimization doesn’t happen overnight. Developers say jan/san distributors can expect a few weeks to create a mobile or a responsive website, or a few months for a mobile application. After that, occasional updates to the product may be necessary.

The important part is getting one foot in the game, developers say.

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