What if more than 50% of your customers were unable to walk into your store?

The other day I decided to purchase directly from a major retailer’s website rather than drive to the store. I figured it would be easier to order it and have it shipped than go through the hassle of packing up the kids in the car, fighting traffic and hunting for parking at a big box store.   After all I knew what I wanted and didn’t need the aggravation.

So I went to the retailer’s web site and, strangely, there was no content on the page.

I reloaded the page again, thinking maybe the connection didn’t render the content.  Boom, still no content on the page.

Thinking there might be a problem with Firefox, I opened Internet Explorer and there it was, the site loaded. I was shocked, mystified and flabbergasted that a major global brand’s site wouldn’t work on Firefox. This issue raised the question, is browser cross-compatibility not a necessary piece of this retailer’s digital marketing strategy?  And if it’s not for them, is it for your business?

As an experienced digital marketing and web development company, we regularly discuss browser compatibility issues and ensuring that the code we write works in the major browsers on the major platforms. Unlike typical water cooler chatter, the conversations in our break room often include phrases like “does this script work in Safari” or “I wonder how this site renders on an iPad?”

Does browser cross-compatibility really matter?

Many still believe Internet Explorer on Windows is 85% of the browsing market right? WRONG, it’s closer to 39% as of September 2011. Now more than ever we’re seeing browser and platform variety as users realize there are safer, more stable options to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer. Interestingly enough, one of the sites that we manage had over 50,000 hits last month and the browser and OS report was shocking. Can you believe that their leading browser and OS combo was Chrome / Windows at 23%? Here is a snapshot of the stats…

Google Analytics Screenshot

Yes, you read that right! Safari/Macintosh was #2 and Sarari/iPhone was #5. Thanks to not only more browser options for PC, the proliferation of Apple laptops AND mobile devices makes browser cross-compatibility continuously more complicated and dramatically more fragmented than just a few years ago.   Which leads us to ask:

  • Based on the experience I just described, what do your consumers see when they visit your site in a browser other than Internet Explorer?
  • As the browser market continues its rapid fragmentation, what’s your digital strategy to keep up with these changes?
  • With over 250 million iPhones and iPads sold to date, are you ready for Safari to garner an even greater portion of mobile browser market share than its current leading position of 23%?
  • Given Apple’s longstanding refusal to include compatibility for Flash on their mobile devices, will you deliver the same content via Java, HTML5 or some other means in the future?

The mobile revolution has created a plethora of new challenges companies must address when developing a web site. Those that simply rely on traditional development paradigms will see that traffic, brand engagement and, ultimately, sales will not be sustainable. Can you afford to ignore these shifts in the browser market while your competition attacks them head on?

If you answered no, but can’t or aren’t sure how to create or adapt your digital marketing strategy, give us a call.