October 16, 2017
Mobile Experiences: A Work in Progress

Apple released iPhone 8 just a few weeks ago and have plans to release iPhone X not too much later. Google has new phones out as well, as do many other smartphone providers. These smartphones offer the latest in capabilities and viewing experiences, but the experience they provide is only as good as the experience you offer when you publish your mobile app or mobile website.

"More than ever before, people have higher expectations for the experiences they have with brands on their phones. That's likely because it's where they're spending much of their time. In fact, people today have 2X more interactions with brands on mobile than anywhere else-that includes TV, in-store, you name it. These mobile moments matter." (from How to Make Every Mobile Moment a Brand Builder).

Mobile Experiences Still Aren't Meeting Expectations

For an area with so much promise and so much demand, it's amazing how many brands still find it difficult to deliver a great mobile experience. According to Forrester, only 7 percent of companies are ready to support customers’ mobile moments.

Altimeter Group's latest research on the State of Digital Transformation shows that most organizations are still trying to figure out how mobile experiences work with other customer experiences. Organizations are also strongly focused on the commerce mobile experience. 

Digital Transformation Initiatives in Organizations Graph

The right mobile experience design comes down to understanding who your audience is and what the purchase journey looks like. When you take the time to define the journey you understand where mobile fits into the overall picture, enabling you to design the right layout and content. But the Altimeter report also shows that a large majority of organizations haven’t taken the time to map out that journey.

Tips to Improve Your Mobile Perspective

Why is it so hard to deliver a good mobile experience? We think it's a few things:

You Need to Get the Foundation in Place for Mobile 

From your website to your emails, mobile has to be a part of the conversation automatically. Your website should be responsive out of the box, and any tools you use to create web pages should automatically support mobile (like the Ingeniux Page Builder). Your emails should also view well on mobile. If your website is hard to navigate on a smartphone, visitors won't spend much time with you. Even if you simply resize your web pages, so they look right on a mobile device, at least you've started down the right path.

Stop Thinking Mobile First

Yes, everyone has said at some point that you should build your digital experiences with mobile first in mind. But that isn't necessarily the case. It's not mobile, or web, or email. It's any or all of these channels, and you must deliver a smooth and seamless experience across them all. That this is very complex aside, it's important not to think mobile is on its own and it’s the first experience you need to consider. Mobile is part of the mix.

Sometimes it's the first part, or the first place a visitor finds you. Sometimes it's later in the mix. It's important to understand what you need to provide to make their visit worthwhile.

Mobile is Action Oriented

We use our mobile devices to do very specific things: read our email, search for a store location, find information on a product we're interested in.

"One of the biggest challenges people told us they have with brand experiences on mobile is “not being able to find the information they need.” On mobile, discovery is key. Simple navigation and site search save people time, allowing them to filter by what they’re looking for. "

More and more, we're using mobile to make purchases. But the mobile commerce experience is not the same as the website e-commerce experience, so it's not as simple as making sure your shopping cart is viewable on a smartphone.

"Mobile technologies require a dedicated and different approach to modern commerce than e-commerce. Mobile-device users are increasingly impatient and discerning about website speeds, content, and design.  Companies not delivering desired mobile experiences lose conversion opportunities. "(from Altimeter State of Digital Transformation)

Connect Mobile to the In-Store Experience

One of the big topics for B2C brands is how they can connect the smartphone to the in-store experience in a way that improves conversions. Instead of completely separating mobile shopping from in-store shopping, smart retailers are figuring out how to leverage mobile to improve the in-store experience. Everything from being able to check for store stock when you are standing next to the product you want to buy, to SMS and notifications of discounts when you are close to a favorite store are ways to engage customers via mobile.

Still, Let's Not Forget the Foundation

Organizations must push forward to develop better, integrated mobile experiences. But to do so, they need to address the foundational elements essential to good mobile experiences first. These include ensuring that all current channels support mobile viewing automatically, understanding how visitors are using mobile so that the right content and interaction capabilities are easily accessible, and placing mobile first when it's identified as first at any the stage of the purchase journey.

Posted by Dave Hillis
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