In today’s technologically savvy society, more and more people are ditching their desktop computers to browse the web and are using their mobile devices instead. How many times have you been in arms distance of a desktop computer but instead chose to check your Facebook or search Google on your mobile device? If you are using your mobile device more and more to search the web, you are not alone.
Morgan Stanley Study
According to a study done by Morgan Stanley, mobile Internet users will surpass traditional desktop Internet use by 2014. Morgan Stanley’s global technology research team predicts that in the next five years more users will be connecting to the Internet through their mobile devices than through desktop computers (Morgan Stanley Research).
This means that customers will no longer be searching the web for storage facilities and accessing your website on their desktop computers, but instead on their phones, tablets, etc. In a study performed by eMarketer over an eight month time period, nearly 86 million people searched for information on local businesses via their mobile devices in December 2012. This reflected a 25% increase since the start of the study. What you should take from this (besides the fact that the number of mobile users is increasing steadily,) is the conversion factor. According to this same eMarketer study, around 77% of the mobile users who searched locally went on to make a purchase either in-store, online or over the phone (eMarketer).
With such a large portion of all Internet users accessing the Internet through their mobile devices, your company needs to ensure that your website is still functional and aesthetically pleasing even when accessed on a mobile device. As a society, we go, go, go. We expect things to be fast and easy. If a customer comes across your website and frequently needs to expand, resize and modify their screen just to read your room sizes and rates, they are quickly going to give up and find another facility. Your website is a visual reflection of your facility. If your site looks professional and is easy to use and understand, customers are going to assume that your facility is professional and easy to work with. This means more customers, which ultimately means increased revenue.
While applications (apps) where originally the popular vehicle for Internet content on a mobile device they no longer are the best option. Apps are expensive to build and limit your customer base to those customers who download the app. According to an article posted on forbes.com, a mobile app that is designed for multiple mobile devices costs on average $90,000 to build and design. This is a lot of money to sink into an app that only can connect to a quarter of your customers. Apps are also difficult to use because in many cases you need a different app for each device and brand of mobile device your customers may use. With so many types of mobile devices out there now, this is not the best choice. How then, you may ask, do you create a website that is visually appealing, easy to use and opens you up to all different mobile users? An increasing number of companies are turning to the new technology in town, responsive web design.
Responsive web design is a type of coding for your website that allows your site to be accessed on any type of device. No apps are necessary as are no special web browsers. Anyone with Internet access can fully use your site. The website knows what size of screen you are using to view the site and then strips down the content as the screen gets smaller to show the user what’s most important. It is low cost to implement, easy to use and loads faster than viewing the full website on other devices. This means when you use responsive web design you open yourself up to all devices and effectively the largest customer base possible.
Essentially, this type of design allows the company to provide the same services as desktop user access would regardless of how the site is accessed. Look at the images below. In all situations, the web address accessed was: http://www.webselfstorage.com
The images come from a desktop computer, a tablet and a smartphone.
While the same web address was entered, the screen view varies considerably. When the website is accessed from a mobile device, it becomes easier to navigate on a smaller screen because it has been re-sized. This is because responsive web design formats itself based on the size of the screen you’re viewing it on.
While responsive web design is definitely more user-friendly, it also easier to use from a builders standpoint. When a website needs to be updated, it only needs to be updated in one place. The coding does not need to be changed for each individual platform. It also allows you to provide the same great website to a customer whether they access your site from their computer or from their phone.
Today, thousands of U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliates are serving millions of customers seamlessly on mobile devices as a result of responsive web design. Have your phone in front of you? Pull up uhaul.com or emove.com and see responsive web design in action.
For our self-storage affiliates listed on uhaul.com and emove.com, the design focuses on the search option, facility details, online reservations and online customer account management. With our websites, no apps are necessary, making our affiliates instantly accessible to millions of online customers using a variety of devices. Ultimately, it makes for the smoothest experience for the customer. The end goal is to keep the customer happy and generate more business.
With the all but unanimous projections that mobile users will soon dominate the web world, it’s important that you make your website user-friendly, therefore making yourself competitive in the self-storage market. In our fast-paced society, if a customer has a hard time accessing your site they’ll give up and move on to another one that’s easier for them to navigate. Responsive web design is low cost to implement and opens you up to all customers with Internet access. In our Internet age, customers expect information to be at their fingertips. If you are not of those that are user-friendly, customers are going to go somewhere else.