Survey surprise: Consumers very forgiving of non-mobile-friendly websites

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While most consumer survey data argue that poor mobile site experiences mean lost business, Vistaprint Digital discovered something different. The company’s recent online consumer survey found that a bad mobile site experience was less of an issue than missing or incorrect name-address-phone (NAP) data.

Vistaprint Digital surveyed 1,818 US adults in March of this year. The company asked consumers a range of basic questions specifically about small business website experiences and expectations.

Among factors that left a bad impression, “outdated contact information” and “no address, directions or business hours” were the top responses. Missing product information was next, followed by “unprofessional design.” Bad mobile experience was next-to-last on the list.

Leave a bad impression of small business websites

It’s extremely surprising that fewer than 20 percent of respondents said a “bad mobile experience” would leave them with a negative impression. This seems to directly contradict everything we’ve seen to date about the impact of non-mobile-friendly sites on consumers.

The response “fonts that make text too hard to read” (23.7 percent) implies a site that doesn’t render well on smartphones — though not necessarily.

Flipping things around, “What’s most important when it comes to having a positive experience with a small business website?” yielded a slightly higher response (21.5 percent) for “a mobile-friendly experience.”

This is not what you’d expect. From all we know, “bad mobile site experience” should be one of the top two factors influencing consumers. Instead, it was something of an afterthought. NAP-related content and product information were the key variables.

Most important for positive website experience

Nearly 60 percent of survey respondents (59.8 percent) said they would be less likely to buy from a small business that conveyed a negative impression with its website. Nearly 42 percent said the same for a “poorly designed or unprofessional website.” Here “professional website” should imply mobile-friendly, though it’s not clear it does in the minds of these respondents.

There was no drill-down by age category around the question of mobile expectations. One would expect younger users to be more demanding, though the lack of discussion of age on this point suggests there wasn’t a significant difference.

While this is just one survey among many, I’m surprised and struck by how forgiving consumers appeared to be of non-mobile-friendly sites.

About The Author

Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor at Search Engine Land. He writes a personal blog, Screenwerk, about connecting the dots between digital media and real-world consumer behavior. He is also VP of Strategy and Insights for the Local Search Association. Follow him on Twitter or find him at Google+.


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