First things first: if you’re a manufacturer or distributor and you don’t have some sort of mobile-friendly website right now, stop everything you’re doing and go make that happen. While only 57% of B2B companies reporting they had a mobile-enabled website in 2014, that number had jumped to 79% of B2B companies by 2016, and will only continue to increase.
But what are they doing on mobile?
Well first of all, the average American is spending five hours a day on their mobile device, checking their phone for updates or notifications an average of 47 times in just a single 24 hour period. These stats are even more impressive when you look at them across generations. When it comes to work, 84% of millennials consider their mobile device essential to their jobs, and even 76% of Gen X respondents said the same.
The many B2B personas have many different reasons to use their device as part of their jobs. Perhaps the construction site foreman needs to reorder electrical outlet boxes for their jobsite, or a procurement specialist is price comparing SKUs across a few distributors in between meetings. A Google study found that: “49% of B2B researchers who use their mobile devices for product research do so while at work. They’re comparing prices, reading about products, comparing feature sets, and contacting retailers.” They’re converting into sales as well, as Google notes: “purchase rates on mobile are up 22% in the past two years.”
Mobile websites vs. native mobile apps
While its true that smartphones, data connectivity, and browser features are making websites more powerful every day, there is still value in having a robust mobile web presence as well as a native mobile app (a branded app for your company for download on Apple, Android, and other devices).
Native mobile app capabilities and benefits include (but are not limited to):
- “Screen-share” or your logo on someone’s device homescreen for visibility and top-of-mind recognition
- App SEO, or showing up in Google search results with download to your app, and also showing up in App Store searches
- Device capability extensions, such as: location services, push notifications, and camera access for barcode scans
- Offline data access and experience for access in locations with limited data access
As well as many other benefits as devices and experiences continue to evolve. In the future we may even see manufacturers and distributors taking advantage of the latest digital trends, such as virtual or augmented reality to enable service techs or distributors to position replacement parts in a machine, or help with correct servicing instructions.
While mobile apps can be a bit more time-consuming and sometimes expensive to maintain, many manufacturers and distributors are beginning to reap the benefits of increased engagement and revenue from the new generation of B2B buyers with new expectations.
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