(cross-posted on the Google Mobile Ads Blog)

Earlier this week we shared how today's consumers expect more -- much more -- from mobile sites. They told us so in our recent research survey, What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today.

Today we'll share more results, with some great examples of businesses giving mobile users what they want. Whether you're a Fortune 500 company or the pizza shop down on the corner, creating a mobile-friendly site is a critical step: 67% of mobile users say that they’re more likely to buy a product or service from a mobile-friendly site, and 74% say they’re more likely to return to that site in the future.

How are smart companies making mobile sites work for them?

Less is more: ProFlowers 
For their new mobile site, the flower retailer ProFlowers simplified things by highlighting the most popular bouquets to reduce scrolling, by trimming text, and by cutting checkout steps. How well has it worked? “Since becoming mobile-friendly, we’ve seen our mobile conversion rate jump by 20–30%," says Leif Heikkila, the company's senior director of online marketing. Download the case study.

Bigger is better:
FragranceNet sells perfumes and colognes, yes, but also face creams, shampoos, eyeliner and more. For Michael Nadboy, the company's VP of online marketing and strategic development, the trick to mobile success was to show bigger product images and buttons, larger font sizes, and fewer images overall. Mobile users loved it: FragranceNet boosted mobile sales by 48% in just four months. Download the case study.

Speed sells: TicketNetwork
Rock concerts, Broadway shows, NASCAR races: TicketNetwork’s mobile site helps on-the-go fans find tickets for them all. The company redesigned its mobile site with speed in mind, stripping away all non-essential content and graphics. They also trimmed steps from the checkout process to help mobile users buy fast. Four months after introducing the new mobile site, web traffic from mobile devices was up 120% and overall sales from mobile had grown by 184%. Download the case study.

You can see the keys to mobile site success: big buttons and text, less content, fewer steps to checkout, and a focus on speed.

What kind of mobile content is most important? The users we surveyed listed "Get directions”, “Find operating hours" and “Click to call the business” as some of their most-wanted mobile tasks. They also showed clear differences in mobile usage by business category. For instance:

Mobile Banking and Finance customers are most interested in checking account balances, transferring money and paying bills.

Mobile Travel customers are most interested in checking flight status and confirming reservations.

Mobile Retail customers like to contact a store and find product information.

Mobile Automotive customers are most interested in contacting the dealership and making service appointments.

The bottom line: mobile users are ready to make choices on the go. Help them get there fast and you'll help your business grow.

We reviewed these findings yesterday during our webinar: Mobilize your Site and Maximize your Advertising. If you missed it, please keep an eye out for the recorded webinar, which we'll post soon.

In the meantime, check out for more tips on how to build a mobile-friendly website.

Posted by: Masha Fisch, Google Mobile Ads Marketing

It’s no secret that the way consumers shop today has fundamentally changed. Purchase decisions are highly researched and much more calculated than they were ten years ago. According to a 2011 Google/Shopper Science study, the number of sources used by any shopper for any average shopping occasion is now up to 10.4. This is nearly double the amount used as recently as 2010!

So what’s the impact to furniture retailers? According to Forrester research, 6% of furniture sales will be e-commerce by 2016, and 60% of all furniture sales will be online-influenced. To better understand the role that online plays in furniture shopping, we investigated into how digital and mobile influences the furniture purchase path. Check out this infographic to see some of our key findings:

Stay tuned for more great insights into the furniture category, including data around the consumer's online path to purchase, later this year.

Posted by Jacalyn Stolt, Google Retail Team

(cross posted on the Google Enterprise Blog)

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Ronen Lapidot, Senior Vice President of Information Technology at Perry Ellis International, a designer, distributor and licensor of apparel and accessories for men and women. Perry Ellis International joins other retail organizations in going Google. See what they have to say.

Far from a typical fashion house, our apparel spans a variety of categories including men’s and women’s clothing, accessories, children’s apparel, even evening gowns for the red carpet. In total, we manage a portfolio of some of the best known brands in fashion, including Perry Ellis®, Original Penguin®, Jantzen®, Laundry by Shelli Segal®, Nike® Swim, Callaway® and more. With 2,600 associates spanning across 65 store locations and 30 offices worldwide, we rely on technology to stay connected.

The increasingly fast-paced global economy of the past several years has made it even more important to be able to work together efficiently, act quickly and share information across the company to help us all understand the state of the business and act as one global team. We were using a popular, premise based email solution, but with so many offices around the world, we knew the only way to keep our brand fresh and our business agile was to move to the cloud.

With the help of Cloud Sherpas, we moved the entire company to Google Apps. Now our global teams are able to connect through Gmail’s video chat feature to meet “face to face” about upcoming projects, designs and merchandise. With so many offices in different time zones, it’s great to be able to give our associates the option to work where they’re comfortable, even if it’s just going home to have dinner with their families before a jumping on a video chat with colleagues in China or Indonesia. This has been especially helpful for offices with eight or ten hour time differences between them and has made us feel more like one cohesive team instead of siloed offices.

Being able to work together easily across offices not only brings the team closer together, it also saves significant time and costs. We recently opened two international offices in Indonesia and Bangladesh. Usually I travel to each location for weeks at a time to interview and hire employees and oversee the regional office openings. With Google Apps, we were able to interview job candidates via video chat and work with regional managers on important policies and resources that needed to be in place for these new offices and associates. I was elated to discover that what normally takes significant travel time and costs could be done right from my desk. I sat there amazed as I watched documents fill in with information from my colleagues across the world. I think that’s when I realized we were all going to be able to do things very differently, now that we were in the cloud.

Posted by Ronen Lapidot, Senior Vice President of Information Technology, Perry Ellis International

(Cross-posted from the ZMOT Blog)

"Showing up is 80% of life."
- Woody Allen

As Woody Allen opens, showing up is a big part of life. And as we’ve seen with the Zero Moment of Truth, showing up with at the right place with the right content is a big challenge in today’s marketing landscape. To help marketers apply the principles of the Zero Moment of Truth, we’re introducing The ZMOT Handbook, a new online resource that shows exactly how to show up at the right place with the right content and win shoppers. You can download the ZMOT Handbook right now, right here.

This new book is the much-requested followup to Winning at the Zero Moment of Truth, the 2011 ebook that's been downloaded over 200,000 times. While ZMOT is being universally embraced as the new critical moment for brands, many marketers are wondering how to get started. The ZMOT Handbook provides practical tips on how to apply ZMOT principles to your marketing strategy, along with detailed insights from Todd Pollak, Google's Retail Industry Director, plus other Google and industry experts. You'll learn how to:
  • Multiply your impact at ZMOT by going multi-screen
  • "Point the way to your store" on mobile devices
  • Make sure you have the right ZMOT content for the right customers
  • Stay ahead of the tablet explosion and be a leader in "T-Commerce"
You'll also find extensive tips on advertising issues, like brand vs. non-brand keywords and managing bids instead of budgets to get clicks with the ROI you need. Here's a sample from The ZMOT Handbook:

77% of viewers use another device while they are watching TV.

If you want to make a splash at ZMOT, go multi-screen.

That was the message from a recent Google study, where we looked at all the screens consumers use over the course of a week. We found that a full 90% of all media interactions are now screen-based: they take place on a smartphone, laptop, PC, tablet or TV. Radio and print now account for only 10%.

Consumers are now fluent at toggling their attention across screens. That means marketers have the opportunity to stimulate on one device and spark a visit to ZMOT on another.

...If you’re ready to crack the nut of multi-screen campaigns, here are some ways to start:

✔ Make sure your brand messaging is consistent across TV, tablets and mobile phones. Think about the call to action in your TV ads: Does it promote discovery at ZMOT?

✔ Make sure your site loads quickly and clearly on any mobile device. 80% of customers will abandon a mobile site if they have a bad user experience, according to Google’s recent Mobile Playbook. Don’t have a mobile version of your website yet? That’s a great place to start. Creating one is one of the best steps you can take to win local users.

The ZMOT Handbook provides more than 50 sturdy pages of tips and ideas on how to do your very best at ZMOT. And like the original, The ZMOT Handbook is absolutely free.

Are you ready to start showing up at ZMOT? Download the handbook now.

(cross-posted on the Google Enterprise Blog)

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is John Edelman, CEO of Design Within Reach, a national retail operation that sells modern design for homes and offices. Design within Reach joins other retail organizations in going Google. See what they have to say.

At Design Within Reach, we make authentic modern design accessible. Rob Forbes founded the company in 1999 when he tried to furnish his apartment with the clean, simple classics he’d come to appreciate while living in London, but found that many of his favorite designers weren’t accessible in the United States. Design Within Reach quickly took off and today has 44 retail locations across the U.S. and Canada.

In 2009, my partner and COO, John McPhee, and I decided to move the corporate office from California to Connecticut, it gave us the opportunity to reevaluate our internal operations. Our previous technology platform required us to maintain multiple servers, and moving them across the country and setting them up again would have been costly. Plus, an on-premise solution was never going to provide the ease of collaboration across our store locations and headquarters that is essential to our success. With the help of Google Apps reseller Cloud Sherpas, we decided the move was the perfect opportunity to implement Google Apps.

Before Google Apps, it wasn’t easy to share important materials like store promotion schedules, store layouts, or PR updates quickly and efficiently. Instead, we relied heavily on email for communication. In retail, things change all the time and emailing about employee schedules, promotional timelines or new merchandise availability meant that the information was quickly out of date and risked employees having inaccurate information. Google Apps changed all that. Now, our marketing team is able to track in-store promotions via shared calendars. Employees can track inventory through Google Docs, so when we have a floor sale and someone wants 4 red chairs and we only have one, we can easily hop onto Google Docs and find the chairs at another location. The customer is happy – and we’re happy because we’ve made a sale and cleared the floor.

Easily collaborating across headquarters and all our store locations helps us provide a much more consistent and inviting experience for our customers, and that’s really important to us. We want our customers to linger, bring their dog or kids, and explore and learn about design. We want our customers to be a part of something bigger than just shopping, and that’s the same way we feel about our employees. Google Apps and the ease of communication and sharing that it brings has helped us do just that.

Posted by John Edelman, CEO of Design Within Reach

Engaged couples are going online for wedding inspirations more than ever. Searches for [wedding ideas] have increased by around 54% compared to last year. Although January and August are peak wedding search months, couples plan an average of 9-12 months ahead for their big day. Looking at current search trends can give a better insight into their needs for 2013.

Consumers are diverging from the traditional wedding plans. We see a bigger focus in the coming year on things you can do yourself, such as decorations or floral arrangements, and alternative cake and vacation options.

Do it Yourself Weddings
Increasingly, brides are adding personal flair to their wedding - and are turning to YouTube to find ideas and tips. Searches for do-it-yourself videos have exponentially increased. YouTube style vloggers with huge followings, such as RachLoves and MissKasandraBrooks, often give wedding tips to their fans. FleurdeForce, for example, recently started a separate channel BridedeForce to share the process of planning her big day. The channel has already attracted 60,000 subscribers. These vloggers are not just sharing their opinion - they’re influencing what their viewers purchase and planning for their big day as well.

Couples also turn to businesses for help. Bunches-Direct, a flower wholesaler, created a channel to help people craft their own wedding bouquet. One of their videos on DIY Wedding Corsages received over 100K views. Retailers have also used the video platform to display their products. Koyal Wholesale, a popular channel that features creative wedding merchandise, has over 3M video views.

Let them eat... cupcake?
We’ve seen a spike in searches for alternative wedding cakes. and wedding planners and brides alike are inviting luxury desserts such as cupcakes, cookies, and cake pops into the latest celebrations.

Honeymoons, babymoons, mini-moons, oh my!
Honeymoons do not only happen after the wedding day! More and more couples are considering taking that vacation they always dreamed of when the time is right. Hotels and & Resort Services companies such as Hilton are adapting their packages for flexible customers.
  • A starter honeymoon: Since their surge began in 2011, mini honeymoon searches continue to increase in popularity
  • Before the family grows: Searches for ‘babymoon’ increased 45% year over year, and increased by nearly 70% in the last two years
  • More honeymoons, more often: Not only are folks searching for honeymoons more, they're taking more of them. Searches for ‘second honeymoon’ doubled over the past year
There are great opportunities for your business to find consumers looking for products and trips for their special occasion. Visit Think with Google to learn how you can leverage these trends for your marketing strategy this year.

Posted by Karen Poreh, The Google Team