How to Develop a Next-Generation Mobile StrategyBy: Jason Taylor - April 4, 2012
According to an IDC forecast, by 2015 more U.S. Internet users will access the Internet through mobile devices than through PCs or other desktop devices. As smartphones begin to outsell simpler feature phones, and as tablet sales continue to explode, the number of mobile Internet users will grow by a compound annual growth rate of 16.6% by 2015.
Supporting customers and staff on mobile is now a basic requirement for all organizations that currently have an online presence. Perfecting that strategy starts with getting the basics right and setting a strong mobile foundation to build upon.
Be Comprehensive: Support on Mobile What you Support on the PC
Since many Internet users are replacing their use of the PC with mobile, it is key for businesses to ensure that whatever users can do on their keyboard, they can do from the palm of their hand. Brands must make sure that every important feature of their website is also implemented on their mobile site and/or apps.
However, the content and functionalities need to be optimized to properly fit the specific mobile device, rather than just offering a smaller version of the website. The user’s location, screen size, network speed and other key aspects unique to mobile need to be taken into account in the design and delivery of your mobile site or app. Productivity, speed, and simplicity are all essential to achieve maximum usability and customer satisfaction.
The mobile site needs to support the site’s natural traffic coming from various sources, including SEO, email marketing and advertising. All of this inbound traffic should be redirected to a mobile comparable optimized experience. By getting this aspect right, brands will increase traffic, mobile ROI, and provide the groundwork to expand your mobile strategy.
Staples.com has successfully achieved a consistent mobile experience on all sources of traffic by automatically directing customers to the mobile optimized view of its site regardless of entry point. If a user is searching for paper products via Google, for example, they will be led to an optimized mobile experience of that product page, despite coming from an outside source.
Brands should also integrate mobile equivalent third party solutions that consumers trust, such as mobile payment provider PayPal and analytics platform Adobe. Integrating PayPal into your brand’s mobile strategy will make the checkout process that much easier, as users won’t be faced with the hassle of typing in their billing and shipping information for every purchase, or trying to remember their account log-in information for each site they access. Making the checkout process as simple as possible will result in more purchases and repeat visits.
HTML5 Enhances the Mobile User Experience
Leveraging HTML5 technology is a great way to improve the consumer’s experience with your brand in the mobile browser environment. By developing with next-generation HTML5 technologies, brands can deliver users a rich, app-like experience without having to develop downloadable apps for each specific mobile platform (iOS vs. Android and others). HTML5 enables brands to offer a consistent experience across all major mobile operating systems.
Additionally, HTML5-based mobile sites enable users to take their mobile shopping experience to the next level with innovative features such as location-aware capabilities, high-resolution image galleries that enable you to zoom in to view products in detail, expandable navigation, collapsible menus, and advanced shopping carts that streamline and simplify the amount of steps users need to follow to complete a transaction.
Travel giant Expedia.com is a brand dedicated to its innovative mobile strategy. The company’s HTML5-enabled mobile site, for example, takes “location-aware” to the next level by leveraging the device’s internal GPS to offer travelers the ability to search for nearby hotels with same day vacancies, as well as push notifications based on their location.
Scaling your Mobile Site to Reach an International Audience
Rapid smartphone adoption is a global phenomenon, with more and more users around the world replacing their feature phones with smartphones. In fact, global smartphone sales grew 53.3% in 2011 and made up 34% of all mobile handsets sold in the year, according to Informa Telecoms research agency.
Further, it is estimated that over a billion people would own a smartphone by 2013, reiterating the massive market potential. According to a recent PhoCusWright report, smartphone use now exceeds 50% in the U.S. and Europe. While Asia’s smartphone adoption has been a bit slower, the smartphone market there is expected to double its size by 2016, according to research firm Ovum.
Because of this international smartphone surge, it is becoming more and more important for organizations to extend their mobile channel to match regional web channels in order to leverage worldwide smartphone adoption. It is vital to ensure that your company’s mobile site can adapt to regional differences in mobile user context and other key features.
Engaging consumers on a worldwide scale has many benefits to both the company and the consumer. These include increased mobile channel revenues and maximized usage and repeat visits. Offering consumers access to online features and functionalities in their preferred language and currency will create a positive experience and encourage repeat visits.
FedEx has implemented multiple language support to help reach its global user base. The shipping company’s site currently supports 242 regions and 25 languages worldwide, a number that signifies the importance FedEx places on scaling its mobile site for an international audience.
In our new smartphone driven world, it is no longer enough for organizations to offer a simple optimized mobile site. Instead, brands must develop a strategy that leverages next-generation features and functionalities to make the customer experience just as comprehensive and easy to use as offered on the traditional website. By strategically implementing a well-executed mobile strategy, companies will see an increase in conversion, repeat visits, and overall positive brand awareness from users engaging with their brand via mobile devices.