Your customers are using their mobile devices to catch up on email while watching TV. To compare your products and prices with those of your competitors, while shopping in your store. To text friends and ask for recommendations. To download their favorite books, music and apps. To make payments and check their bank balance. To share their opinions about your brand or product when it's good — and share even more widely when it's bad.
We have a massive opportunity to meet consumers in highly relevant moments and presentcustomer experience is the center of mobile commerce an integrated brand experience that engages, influences and moves product. Yet marketers are struggling to identify the right approach to integrating their multichannel experience and tap into the power of mobile to reach their customers. Internet Retailer reports the average conversion rate and order size for a mobile shopping site (<1% and $80, respectively) is significantly lower than that of desktop browsers (2-3% and $102). While the jury is still out on mobile display ad effectiveness, platforms are demanding a much lower CPM for these units, $0.75 compared to $3.50 for desktop, according to comScore.
But if you are wondering whether to go beyond simple mobile optimized site, consider this:
- About 4 billion people in the world now have mobile phones, 1 billion of which are smartphones and 3 billion phones are SMS enabled.
- By 2014, mobile internet will take over desktop internet.
- 86% of mobile internet users are using their smartphones or tablets while watching TV.
So what does the meteoric growth of mobile mean for marketers? Expectations of mobile users are rising as they get used to cross-channel integration and high-impact mobile apps. In developing countries, smartphones are the driving force behind internet penetration, so mastering mobile is key to reaching new markets. Also, with mobile eCPM rates selling at a significant discount to desktop units, advertisers have an opportunity to boost the effectiveness of their media budgets.
As you move towards establishing a stronger mobile presence, consider developing a clear mobile strategy and roadmap that provides direction and helps achieve business results. Key questions that we are constantly asked:
Should you create a native mobile app or a mobile web experience? Consider your relationships with customers and your organizational capabilities. Research shows that consumers download native applications for the purpose of learning or participating in a community. If your customer experience is limited to shopping, focus instead on creating an immersive HTML5 web application.
Should you drive brand awareness or enable transactions? First, consider the mindset of consumers when browsing on mobile devices: they are either bored, in immediate need of information (ex. product comparison), or wish to participate in some moment or community. Become the moderator of your community or use editorial content to give consumers a sense of “Instant Gratification” that will keep them coming back. By prioritizing the experience over the transaction, you will convert visitors into repeat customers and brand advocates. Assure that your organization is committed to keeping content fresh.
Should you build for iOS, Android, tablets? Most developers and marketers have adopted an iPhone first strategy. At the end of May, Net Marketshare reported that 63% of worldwide mobile internet traffic is conducted on an iOS device, compared to under 20% for Android. However, that gap is sure to close as Google reports Android activations are growing 886% year-over-year, with over 300,000 device activations each day. Tablet devices are becoming a promising opportunity for online marketers. Retailers are reporting a higher average order size and conversion rates that are consistent with those on desktops. Tablet ownership is growing rapidly. 29% of adults in the US own a tablet device, up from less than 2% three years ago according to Mary Meeker.
No matter which approach you take, adopting a test-learn-improvise mindset is critical for sustained success. Best-in-class mobile experiences are constantly changing with new development frameworks and access to data from social media APIs. Apply responsive design, measure everything, talk to your customers and keep refining your product. If you intend to partner with a design firm to build your mobile presence, find a partner that designs for the future and is committed to your long-term success.