Mobile technology

Alpharooms drives mobile conversion with responsive design

Holiday booking site Alpharooms has adopted a responsive website in order to increase purchases driven by mobile website visits.

Alpharooms has been part of the travel industry for 14 years, but in the last few years found that the level of customers accessing its website through tablets or smartphones was increasing.

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Jamie Shuker from Alpharooms explains that after around 15 years, the business realised it was not utilising mobile traffic as much as it could have been.

Shuker says: “Google was always evangelising mobile and how tablet traffic device usage was changing, and how essentially people are going to use these as a primary computing device and primary way of accessing the internet.”

Research by TNS, commissioned by Google, has found UK consumers are ahead in mobile usage in comparison to 18 other European countries, including Germany, France and Sweden.

The investigation found 32% of UK consumers make monthly purchases on their smartphones, compared to 15% in Germany, 19% in Sweden and just 8% in France.

In order to cater for this, Alpharooms used advice issued by Google, including tips such as design for key tasks, focusing on speed and identifying user needs, to ensure that enterprises are getting the most out of multi-screen customers.

Catering for all devices

Matt Brocklehurst, product marketing manager at Google, explains that with social media and mobile device usage increasing every year, it is important to consider developing company websites for use over multiple screens to appeal to all users depending on their device of choice.

Brocklehurst says: “Quite often, you’ll see that somebody will do the research on a mobile phone, and then go and buy on a desktop.”

Alpharooms, with Google’s help, chose to design a new responsive website, as its smaller IT team would be able to easily cope with maintenance rather than having to deal with two separate mobile and web-only platforms.

 

After launching its new website, Alpharooms has found that mobile and tablet make up almost half of visits to the site.

But interestingly, Shuker has found that although there has been an increased number of visitors looking at the website online, a lot of final purchases are still being made on a computer.

Dual use

Shuker thinks that this is because customers are researching packages and deals online, but still prefer to make larger purchases on a desktop or laptop.

“There are still constraints around mobile phones due to physical things such as screen size,” Shuker says. “So we still find that the actual confirmation through to posting a booking is slightly lower on desktops than mobiles, but the actual browsability of the site and reaching the payment page to get your final price is about the same across all platforms now.”

Mobile devices, although sometimes more convenient, still cause difficulty when trying to perform tasks such as entering card details for payment, so people will use several of their multiple devices at different stages of a transaction, Shuker explains.

“If you make purchasing decisions once or twice a year about quite a large purchase, there is an element of cross device usage anyway, in the sense that you might have a look at the internet at work and see what the prices are for a holiday, and then you might go home and use your own computer,” says Shuker.

Brocklehurst says: “If you look at the history of desktop, there were reservations about what would be bought on desktop and how many people would actually use a desktop computer or laptop to buy things, and we see now just how prevalent that is. I think the same is going to be true of mobile. But I think it’s important to recognise that the beauty of mobile is that it’s not just about buying on the phone because what we see is that people will use their phone to do the research.”


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