That smart phones and tablets are fast replacing laptops and PCs is not even in doubt anymore. Customers use their smartphones to look up information on and buy your products and services. Employees are bringing their own devices to work to create a seamless and uninterrupted work experience. Result—this impacts your company’s mobile presence, and calls for a mobile first strategy.
The term mobile first quite simply denotes the criticality of mobile networking and the need for companies to design their websites, products, and services for smart phones and not just for computers. These smart devices offer a game-changing opportunity—they essentially allow your conversations with your customers to be immediate, interactive, and responsive. You can now engage directly with your customer with relevant information when they need it, rather than simply bombarding them with generic advertising messages.
What are some imperatives to keep in mind when adopting a mobile first strategy?
Understand your customer: Your customer is comfortable moving between devices. Before you plan and deploy a mobile strategy for your website and products, first understand and analyze what kind of device your customer is using and his preferences when it comes to accessing your website or online store. A deep understanding of this will allow you to better address his needs.
Design/redesign your mobile website first: Given that smart phone sales have far outstripped PC sales, and that smart phones are as cheap as your normal phones, it makes sense to actually design your mobile website first. Your PC website is probably not as much a priority as your mobile one.
Adapt your website: Ensure that your mobile website works well and looks good on the various screen sizes that we have today in the smart phones and tablets segments. Design your site to be adaptive so that it automatically adjusts to the screen size of the device on which it is being viewed.
Future-proof your mobile website: We are in the era of rapid technological progress, with new technologies, devices, and players in the space appearing practically every day. This means that when you design a mobile website, you must ensure that it has the capability to evolve. Brainstorm on, and build in your future requirements today. Define your long-term mobile website objectives and build something that has the potential to address these.
Leverage emerging technologies: When you consider the features that you want to integrate within your mobile website, look to the future. See how you can use emerging technologies within your site to service your customers’ needs. While benchmarking is good and even necessary, do not make this an exercise in simply doing what people in your market segment are already doing, rather break boundaries, and be one step ahead of them in technology usage.
Pay attention to payment methods: Online payment methods have been evolving as fast, if not faster than mobile technology itself. Enabling payment by credit card or PayPal on your website is a given, but do give a thought to integrating emerging methods as well such as the e-wallet.
Keep your employees in mind: Apps and a mobile website should make life easier for your employees as well—for after all, when they are more productive, the result down the line is enhanced customer satisfaction. Integrate apps that allow employees to access real-time information and make decisions on the go. This is especially helpful in the context of customer-facing employees who should be able to access information pertaining to customer servicing and make speedy decisions or disseminate information that customers are looking for.
Why App?: If you are planning to supplement your website with a downloadable app, think a little about how the app is going to improve the user experience. If your app is simply another version of what is already available on your web, there is no point to it. Pose this question first: does the app enhance the user experience in some way?
Finally, organizations must understand that the mobile is not just an isolated channel that we need to plan for. Rather, mobile strategy works best when used in collaboration with all other channels; tying in with, and extending the customer experience that is available through all other channels. For example, a marketing strategy should ideally run across all media, with the mobile device being one end-point that delivers an interactive, immediate experience.