Mobile phones and tablets are how users access the information these days. If it is due to increased processing power, storage, or bandwidth increasing exponentially, smart phones and smart tablets are becoming our main personal computer. As a result, customers, employees, and other stakeholders are bringing and using their smart phones and tablets everywhere, and that definitely impacts how they see your company online and how they interact with you on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, many leaders continue to view smart phones, tablets and mobile devices as a secondary avenue of delivery. In reality, they are major, game-changing opportunities. Never before have companies been able to interact with customers anywhere at any time and start a meaningful dialog with them. Rather than throw a bunch of advertising messages out and hope your customers not only see them but also act on them. You now have the opportunity, via their mobile devices, to engage your customers directly with the precise information they need at the moment they need it to make an informed buying decision. All by itself that is a big reason to develop a comprehensive mobile first strategy right away. So let’s look at a few components that would help your organization embrace a broader view of what a mobile first strategy really looks like.
1. Make your website responsive and adaptive. You may have a mobile website and a main website for your organization. The chance they look very good on various size smart phone and tablet screens is not good though because they aren’t adaptive. Therefore, making your site adaptive so it automatically adjusts to the size screen the user has is very important. Check out for example this website on your laptop or desktop. The shrink the browser window and notice how the site changes to fit any size screen. Then try it out on your tablet or smart phone. Regardless of screen size, the website will look and work great. That is adaptive or responsive design!
2. Design your website for mobile first. People are increasingly making decisions using their phones and tablets. A lot more tablets and smart phones are being sold these days than PCs or laptops. So it only makes sense that you would want to design to the device your visitor will be using. The majority of phones sold globally were smart phones. One more interesting facts is that smart phones and tablets will only continue to grow in the future. So thinking mobile first when you redesign your website is the only thing that makes sense, real dollars and cents!
3. Rethink how people pay. Credit cards are easy, but e-wallets are easier. Currently, Google has a mobile wallet that works with Citi MasterCard, and in the future it will work with other credit cards. It is secure and enables you to make payments with your smart phone. In the near future, as every financial service firm gets into mobile payments, we will move very quickly from a leather wallet to a smart phone wallet. One example of an enabling technology is NFC, near-field communications chips, which are being built into smart phones at a rapid rate. They allow for secure and easy payment, so be ready for it. Not ready for e-wallets? How about payments using smart phones and tablets by adding a Square or similar system. Starbucks and others are using this already with great success.
4. Look where technology is going, not where it’s been. Apple’s Siri is a natural language technology that allows you to ask a question in regular language and Siri answers in a human-like voice. The power of Siri is in the cloud, and other mobile platforms have already come up with their own version of this early stage ultra intelligent agent. The time for an organization-specific or retail-specific version of Siri is ripe. Think of it like a mobile concierge for your company. Yes, the technology is there. It just hasn’t been applied in this manner yet for your company.
5. Let your website or apps sell for you: All stores stock what they think is the best in class for their customers and market. But what if what you carry isn’t the brand the customer wants? With your app, the customer can type in a specific product’s brand name, and the app will show not only the equivalents that you carry, but also why the brands you stock are better than what the customer requested. Maybe there’s an additive in the other product or it’s been proven not to last as long. Now you’re helping customers make better and more informed buying decisions.
The Future of Mobile
Make no mistake: It’s very true that tablets and smart phones are becoming people’s main personal computer. Therefore, you want to create a mobile first strategy that uses the power of these devices to your benefit. Are all these suggestions for a mobile first strategy possible? Most definitely! Remember, if it can be done, it will be done. The question is, when will you do it?