Printwear

October '13

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Internet Strategies by Kelly "Rags" Ragland |||| Mediating On Mobile "I can stop in any street, Invitin' people that we meet, Goin' mobile. Keep me movin'" — The Who, 1971 Kelly "Rags" Ragland is owner and operator of Rags to Stitches Productions, a holistic advertising-specialty company providing a range of services from web design and development to customized apparel. Read his blog at http://a-stitch.blogspot.com/. A lthough my own daily task list includes monitoring online consumer behavior, Internet traffic, and rising trends in order to keep my webmaster game and marketing strategies up to speed, I still find amusement in mobile device dependency once I step out of the office. As the mobile generation has now expanded to include demographics much larger than ever expected (many senior citizens use smartphones and tablets), one can't help but notice how our population is constantly tethered to a personal device wherever they roam. Recently, on a trip to the pharmacy, I noticed a man park his vehicle and immediately start tapping and surfing away on his mobile device. As if he had another set of eyes in the top of his head, I watched in awe as he managed his way into and around the store face down, grabbing a few items and checking out with the front cashier, then returning to his vehicle––never once turning his attention away from his beloved touchscreen. I had to laugh, wondering if perhaps his wife was actually operating him from the car using a different mobile device as a remote control. The phenomenon of people tapping their way through daily life has become so prevalent that a new disease has been coined for those who suffer from the fear of being without a mobile device; nomophobia, meaning "no mobile." Days after my pharmacy visit, I decided to try a change in my cable and Internet provider. While I sat patiently waiting for the technician to wire everything, my only concerns were good Internet speed with a reliable connection and to be assured I'd have the one channel out of the thousands offered that broadcasts the Indy Car races. By the time it was all completed, I was handed manuals on how to connect any tablet or mobile device to the network and do practically everything but help change a tire during a pit stop. Customers can set the DVR, watch programming from anywhere in the country, listen to music and even share files between TV devices, computers and laptops. When I explained to the technician that I don't own a tablet and I don't really care for a phone that smart, I was informed they could happily provide me with one for a small monthly fee. Sitting there with my somewhat smart, yet outdated, Blackberry, I was clearly called out as being behind the times. Just this year, mobile Internet surpassed desktop use: mobile devices are now everyone's standard tool for communicating, emailing, social networking, checking the time, killing time, and finding and researching products and services. From the younger demographic, to us half-timers that remember the days of wearing pagers, to the old timers who remember the rotary dial phone, we've all jumped on board the wagon that provides wireless access to anything that can be connected to the Internet: baby monitors, light bulbs, home security systems and businesses. The Internet marketing side of my brain reads this data as a sure sign that businesses need a mobile-friendly presence in order to retain the masses leaving their desktops. The Global Business and Consumer Tablet Forecast Update: 2013 To 2017, published by Forrester Research, projects that mobile e-commerce will grow to a $31 billion industry by 2017, citing 60 percent of online consumers in North America and 29 percent of online consumers globally. Televox.com reports that 94 percent of smartphone owners look for local information on their phone, and 70 percent of the people searching for a product or service via mobile 28 | Printwear PW_OCT13.indd 28 will buy in the near future. These are statistics that should not be ignored if we want to maintain a successful Internet presence. There are several ways to address the challenge of presenting a mobile-friendly website to these users, and each one varies in cost and ease of use. What follows are a few suggestions to consider that will make sure the mobile community can access your business on the fly. www.howtogomo.com HowToGoMo is a Google service that allows visitors to view their own business website exactly as a customer sees it on their smartphone, view examples of mobile-friendly websites and even find mobile site developers. This is a great place to start, as you can test your existing site and determine where you are in terms of development by observing what issues need to be addressed. mobile.mofuselocal.com MoFuse Local is a website builder that includes templates, image galleries and other features to help create a website customized to fit a business' specific target needs. The starter package follows a basic pricing structure and offers limited access to features, but there are other options that may be worth the investment. Should you decide to explore MoFuse Local, a great review and tutorial can be found at www.htmlgoodies.com. www.dudamobile.com For those with an existing website, Duda allows users to create a supplemental mobile October 2013 9/16/13 11:48 AM

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