A variety of Web-based resources are available to anyone who wants to make inquiries about business investments. But mobile phones and tablets seem to be the preferred research tool for a growing number of investors who want to buy a franchise, according to new research on the franchise-buying process.
The Landmark Interactive Franchise Group, which operates a network of online franchise recruitment sites, says the number of franchise investment inquiries from mobile devices has tripled in the past 18 months. The findings were drawn from an analysis of more than 15 million visits to the company’s Web sites, including Franchise.com, FranchiseOpportunities.com, FranchiseSolutions.com, FranchiseGator.com and BusinessBroker.net.
Franchise Solutions, which offers resources and a directory of franchise opportunities on its Web site, has seen a huge increase in mobile views equaling a jump of 161% in the past six months versus the previous six months. To make it easier for visitors who use smart phones and tablets as part of their research process, Franchise Solutions launched m.FranchiseSolutions.com, a mobile Web site enabling franchise ownership research via mobile devices. The faster loading, small format site provides users that search for franchises on-the-go with mobile-friendly experience compared to the traditional format of its flagship Web site.
The Landmark group shared the results of its analysis with industry executives at a recent Franchise Update Leadership and Development conference in Atlanta. Here are several highlights of the group’s findings that show more mobile devices are being used as part of the franchise-recruitment process:
- Mobile visitors now account for 20.7% of all visitors to the Landmark group’s Web sites. Mobile share of visitors has tripled since January 2011, with phones accounting for 57% of the mobile visitors and tablets 43%. Tablets are the faster growing category with a share that has more than quadrupled since January 2011.
- Mobile franchise prospects have tripled in the past 18 months, reaching 20.2% of online investment inquiries.
- Mobile engagement matches desktops in page views per visit and time spent per visit. The return frequency is virtually the same for tablet and PC visitors.
- Mobile users are high-value prospects and were 8.7% more likely to request franchise information with $100,000 to $500,000 in available capital to invest.
Other studies are also supporting the reality that mobile phones are not just for phone calls, and tablets are not just for viewing materials; both are being used more and more as research tools to collect business data from online knowledge bases. This movement has spurred franchises to take a closer look at using mobile technology to drive leads in franchise investments.