Mobile MarketingComScore Inc. published a study called “Mobile Shopping Goes Mainstream” and the data is incredibly compelling. If you do not have a true, mobile-friendly website, you need to put that high on your to-do list for 2012. I wrote a separate blog about the importance of mobile websites for business-to-business companies, but this blog will concentrate on true ecommerce sites.

When I say “true, mobile-friendly website,” I don’t mean your regular website viewed on a smartphone, but actually optimized for the mobile user experience. Two-thirds of smartphone users performed shopping functions (including purchases, product comparisons, coupon searches, taking product pictures or retail location searches) in the month of September. (Another interesting statistic from this study is that 56% of people were in their home when purchasing, when they most likely had access to a desktop or laptop computer.)

Here’s why having a mobile optimized site so important (these statistics are from the 2011 Harris Interactive Mobile Transactions Survey, released in March of 2011): 63 percent of all online adults said that if they encountered a problem conducting a mobile transaction, they would be less likely to purchase from that company by any other purchase means. That means, if a potential customer’s mobile experience doesn’t work, you have lost them, not just for now but the future too. And four out of five of those that have had a problem will share it with others, either via in-person conversations or via a blog, Twitter, Facebook or other social media. Talk about viral marketing gone bad.

And from Compuware “What Users Want From Mobile”, 50% of users won’t return to a site where they’ve had difficulty and 40% have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience. So not only is a bad mobile experience hurting a company now and in the future, but it’s actually beneficial to their competitors!

Mobile websites matter and that only will increase in the future. If you don’t have one, get one and sooner, rather than later. You can go to Google’s website to see how your site stacks up, view best practices and some really compelling case studies.