What is your Company's Plan to Engage in Mobile?

As we discussed last month, the year has already seen declining PC sales as the mobile revolution continues to transform how your customers interact with the Internet – and how they interact with YOU.  So if we assume to understand that the foundational methods our customers are using to interact with us are in flux (One could suggest that the future is not as much flux as it is clear), how should you position your company to leverage and unlock this transformational change?

I’ve been asked over the past year what are the components of developing a good mobile strategy for a business.  I’ve summarized what I believe is a good foundation into 6 key components:

1.    Understand your customers motives

Knowing when and why your customers interact with your company on the web are important.  Are they performing regular buys?  Are they impulse buyers?  Do they use your site for research?  Google analytics and your web provider can help define how your customers are using your current capability.  In addition, these tools can help you understand how your customer is connecting to you – what are the popular browsers, how many are mobile users, and where are they from.  You may find that the transition to mobile is already happening.

2.    Check your assumptions

None of us can sit in an ivory tower and assume to understand what your customer is looking for.  The importance of surveying your customers cannot be underestimated.  Asking your customer what is important to them accomplishes multiple goals.  The first is that you are continuing to evolve your relationship with your customer.  The fact that you care resonates with your base.  Secondly, talking to your customers about how they interact with your company can help focus where you’re going to commit resources.  Adding capabilities your customer is looking for does an amazing job of improving relationships.  If you have customers that are shifting share to mobile enabled competitors, sharing your strategy may help bring them back to your fold.

3.    Synchronize your mobile strategy with your business strategy

It goes without saying that your mobile strategy needs to be in sync with your overall business strategy.  Enabling your company’s marketing goals with your mobile strategy is key.  Sometimes it is just making sure your website conforms to a mobile footprint.  Other times it is linked to market place differentiation.  The key is consistency.

4.    Keep it simple

Knowing how quickly things are changing tends to incent a company to do too much too fast.  When you see the big boxes creating mobile apps, the natural reaction is to dive in head first and figure out how to make an app work.  The reality may be that new generation users are just looking for your eCommerce site to be mobile ready.   And although even that can be a challenge in today’s technical environment (more on that later), it is a substantially easier path to venture down than specialized apps.

5.    It’s all about the user experience

Although I may be hearing a collective “duh”, this thought process must continue to be the driving force of your strategy.  How can your business continue to meet and exceed the needs of your evolving customer?  The era of centralized buying with company dictated purchasing requirements is changing.  The new cohort of younger and enabled users is changing the dynamic of who is buying from you.  Having an experience that appeals to a centralized buyer as well as a mobile-enabled user is a challenge – and one that you must continue to understand and evolve with.

6.    Don’t stop once you launch

eCommerce is an evolving world.  Once you launch your mobile capability continue to survey your customers, measure performance and traffic and enhance the experience based on your customers’ feedback.  Keep your presence fresh – this alone will enhance your customers’ experience.

And remember – a mobile capability is an enabler, not a goal.  If your mobile capability doesn’t increase sales, decrease costs or improve your customer experience and relationship, then your mobile strategy should be not to get into mobile.  But I don’t think that’s a reality in our world 

Good stuff – but how do you deploy a mobile strategy in an environment where the software options are limited and tied to your back-office software provider?  Great question – we’ll take a deep dive into options and operational strategies in the next article.

If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to contact me via email at tj@aopd.com, or by phone at 714-692-9570.  I’d love the opportunity to discuss your business and the industry or answer any questions you may have.

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