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Mobile Presence of Restaurants not Delivering when it Comes to Performance

Mobile Commerce Insider Featured Article

September 29, 2014

Mobile Presence of Restaurants not Delivering when it Comes to Performance

By Frank Griffin
TMCnet Contributing Writer

Until smartphones came along the design of websites was geared toward PCs, and to this day many sites are still not optimized to take mobile devices into consideration. As more consumers continue to migrate from PCs to smartphones and tablets, businesses that don’t make the necessary adjustments to make their website mobile friendly will experience faster declines in the number of people that visit their site. A new report released by the Search Agency, a global online marketing firm and the largest independent U.S. search marketing agency, found restaurant and catering websites are to slow to load on mobile platforms and more than half don’t even have ordering capability.

The quarterly report tiled, “The Mobile Experience Scorecard - Restaurants & Catering” pointed out the industry as whole is making a concerted effort to support the latest solutions that are available to improve mobile experiences for their customers, but speeds still remains an issue with many sites taking more than a minute to load.

Google (News - Alert)'s recommended format Responsive Web Design (RWD) is only used by 32 percent of the sites, but using the platform is resulting in longer page load times, while only 40 percent of the websites have a click-to-order or click-to reserve button. Not having the option to order dramatically reduces the restaurant's ability to convert mobile users to sales. The Search Agency analyzed the top 50 restaurant and catering sites to establish which of them aligned with best mobile marketing practices.

The company also conducted SEO analysis by reviewing technical elements of the mobile sites including evaluating practices such as geolocation APIs, click-to-order or reserve capabilities, account sign-in availability, social media share buttons, an app download option and format type. The sites were also evaluated on architecture best practices such as large page size, missing meta descriptions, missing title tag (News - Alert) information and click depth.

“We also conducted a SEO Ranking with this report, and were happy to discover that of the 50 sites, 47 were crawlable. This is a good first step, but more work is needed in the areas of meta descriptions and click depth,” said Delia Perez, SVP account delivery and strategy at The Search Agency.

Results from the study include:

  • Dedicated mobile vs. RWD - of the 50 sites analyzed in the report 60 percent serve dedicated mobile sites and 32 percent use RWD.
  • Sites using RWD had an average load time of 73.9 seconds while those using dedicated mobile sites loaded in an average of 46.34 seconds.
  • Click-to-Order lags behind geolocation - all but two of the brand websites included an automatic or manual geolocation API when served on a mobile device. However, only 40 percent had click-to-order or click-to-reserve functionality.
  • Ranking restaurant verticals - the top scoring verticals were order/reservation aggregators and e-service vendors. The lowest scoring verticals were sit-down restaurants and QSRs.

Whether it is restaurants or other businesses, organizations that don't recognize the viability of mobile technology in their ecosystem will continue to lose ground to the companies that have deployed mobile solutions to engage their customers. Once properly implemented, mobile can be a long-term solution that will continue to pay dividends through its lifetime.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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