May 7, 2014 (Wed): The smartphone is no longer just a way to reach people on-the-go; it’s essentially a portable computer. But while this isn’t news, it seems many retailers have been slow to react. The “mobile consumer” is no longer synonymous with the on-the-go consumer; they’re constantly connected and, as such, empowered by choice, variety and convenience.
Mobile devices have become an integral part of people’s daily routines. Over half of the Malaysian population (53%) owns a smartphone; by 2016, that number is projected to rise to 41.9 million- almost two thirds of the population. Mobile is now the preferred surfing device and, for 81% of mobile surfers across the world, the only form of internet access for mobile users, according to the January 2014 edition of The BuzzCity Report.
As consumer expectations rise, what does mobile first mean to retailers? Consequently, mobile-first thinking for a brand, retailer or content developer means that their business strategy is shaped by a clear understanding of consumers’ needs. These needs are largely driven by the device they use to get information and the most used device is of course the mobile phone.
Evolving mobile business strategy to survive mobile first challenges
Connected consumers are time-poor, empowered by choice and increasingly disloyal – so if your site isn’t easily accessible or doesn’t offer enough payment options then there are others that will.
Mobile consumers expect products and prices to be well displayed and easy to find. Consumers are also expecting more product delivery options for ease of purchase, such as “click and collect” or delivering to your nearest store. Product variety and a good online experience need to seamlessly translate into convenience to engage consumers and encourage customer loyalty.
In today’s retail environment, as consumer expectations continue to rise, consumer satisfaction is paramount to success. Businesses, particularly retailers, must adopt a multi-channel strategy with mobile as the primary channel to deliver a retail experience that meaningfully engages consumers across every channel. Let’s not forget that people share the bad customer experiences online via social media – rarely the good. With mobile first consumers using mobile for shopping both before heading out the shops and in-store, online reviews- good or bad- are increasingly impactful on purchasing decisions.
How to keep them coming back to you…
What this also means is an invaluable opportunity for real-time interaction with consumers – beyond that of the shop assistant and the consumer. There is a very large opportunity here for companies to develop apps and m.sites that are relevant to consumers. As mentioned, there’s a tougher competition for brand loyalty with the rise of mobile first constantly connected consumers, but brands can harness mobile metrics to create content that’s localised, customisable and personalised. Key is relevancy – adding the personal human touch to a digital experience.
Below are some of the key strategies to consider when planning your Mobile First campaign.
Ease of use – make it as easy as possible for time poor consumers to find information, browse and discover products, and make purchases (securely). Those that can deliver successfully this can expect to see higher sales, a more loyal and engaged customer base, and greater levels of repeat purchases.
Tailor the content for a short-term browser: The in-app or in-site search tools should be fluid, precise, quick, and user-friendly in order to maximise on “short-term content”. In other words, if a user searching specifically on mobile is unable to do via the brand app or site, potential revenue is lost.
Intuitive, impactful design – to increase performance and drive user engagement; think like the mobile user and how they want to see things. Be clear and creative.
Reward Loyalty – Introduce schemes to keep the customer coming back. This is a proven way of boosting profits and retaining clients. These can vary from promotions and discounts to a simple online loyalty scheme. In addition, the data generated by a loyalty scheme can offer invaluable customer insights.
With these strategies in place, and continued acknowledgement of the ever changing, and growing demographic within the mobile landscape, connected businesses can successfully increase their presence, grow their customers and boost profits.
This article contributed by Dr KF Lai, CEO of BuzzCity www.buzzcity.com.