Ben Bradshaw, founder and CEO of AdWords management company SponsoredLinx, chats to RetailBiz on the importance of mobile friendly websites and how retailers can improve their visibility online.

Q. Can you explain the greatest trend you’re seeing online when it comes to traffic attraction?
Missed opportunities and potential opportunities are going to be all around mobile responsiveness. It’s about making sure you’re getting online with web presence that is mobile-friendly. Over 53 per cent of search traffic comes from a mobile device whether that is a smartphone or tablet. The actual engagement and purchase process is now much greater than a desktop so it makes sense to be mobile. But the problem is it’s happening so fast that a lot of retailers haven’t caught up yet. Eighty per cent of businesses don’t have a mobile responsive website so that means people can make purchases from a mobile yet.

Q. What’s the reason for why the uptake of mobile friendly websites has been slow in the retail space?
It’s because mobile adoption is moving faster than retailers can. It’s also partially because there’s a lack of education and there’s a digital disconnection. They hear the trends are happening but they don’t interpret it very well. The rules of what happens in the physical business space should apply to online. You have to move to where the fish are. Right now the way consumers are using their mobile devices is really changing.
We have a site called and retailers can check out a sample of their mobile website.

Q. How can having a website and mobile website work in favour of retailers when it comes to analytics?
Online marketing is no longer a guessing game. If you’re running Google AdWords on your website, for instance, you can get data based on the number of clicks and you can see what keywords convert to customers, what pages they’re leading on and how they’re finding your website. This way they can use that data and help them remarket. This is probably one the most powerful tools retailers have to get to know who their customers are.

Q. On the topic of online retailing and marketing, what’s your thought on social media?
When it came to social media, the question would be ‘who is making money out of it?’ That was about a six months to a year ago because Facebook couldn’t monetise for businesses. But until about two months ago, Facebook cracked that code and it’s now very much becoming a key marketing tool again.

Because of this change I believe Facebook will basically become a search engine for retailers, particularly restaurants, clubs and bars. Would you prefer to go to Google search for restaurants or would you prefer to search for restaurants on Facebook that have been recommended by friends. I think retail, social and search media will merge together and when that happens it’s going to completely flip the industry over its head.

Q: Top three tips you can offer retailers so they can improve their position online.
1.    Track everything. What gets measured gets done. Ultimately what you don’t know you don’t. You want to know where your traffic is coming from. Get a habit of checking that regularly. That’s a business habit skill that is essential.
2.    Be mobile. Make sure your site is mobile responsive and you have a mobile checkout in place. In the last 3-5years we are becoming a mobile economy.
3.    Get on social media.  Keep it simple and get on Facebook as its now becoming a useful marketing tool. Before this it wasn’t tangible before so we see it fast and when it happens so we’ve got a really insight. And what’ it’s working. I’m pretty confident now is the time be logging into Facebook. It’s equivalent to an online flyer.