There is no longer any doubt (or debate) as to the impact of mobile devices. The statistics are rather clear in this regard – mobile usage now outweighs desktop usage, mobile media time is greater than on desktop, and search queries on mobile devices are quickly catching up with desktop. In other words, mobile isn’t just the future – it’s the present. And yet, many companies still spend a disproportionate amount of their online ad spend on desktop ads, and focus much of their online conversion tactics on desktop users. But all is not lost.
More and more companies are starting to see the value in engaging content, and increasingly, that means content which is tailored for smartphones and tablets. After all, that’s where the users (read: consumers) are. Though many businesses still fail to account for mobile users – unfortunately, many websites still aren’t mobile-responsive and upwards of 40 percent of retailers don’t have a mobile-optimized store locator (despite mobile users being more interested in location information than desktop users) – the forecast is looking good for the future of mobile commerce.
As evident by the mobile initiatives seen below, more and more businesses are starting to tailor their online experience and outreach to the mobile user. The benefit of such an approach is that consumer outreach is more personal, relevant, and engaging than ever.
Mobile is Where the Audience Is – And Businesses Know It
When it comes to reaching out to consumers, there are two ways to approach mobile: retailers can accommodate mobile shoppers through mobile-responsive and mobile-optimized websites, or they can accommodate mobile shoppers by integrating mobile into the overall customer experience. This may include making mobile part of the in-store buying experience, or having a vocal and engaging presence on mobile for purposes of building relationships, developing trust, and becoming an industry authority. A good example of a company that does the latter is T-Mobile.
For T-Mobile, Engagement is Everything
The company’s social media presence is unlike any other in the industry and it’s paying off. Despite not having a true physical product (yes, T-Mobile sells phones at its kiosks, but from other businesses), the company markets itself as if it were Apple or J. Crew – its social media presence is built on the principle of engaging consumers, adopting new followers, and building a loyal fan base (not necessarily what one would expect from a wireless provider). For example, for the holidays this year, T-Mobile wanted to help shoppers select the perfect gift for that mobile user in their lives, so they created a short, interactive quiz for mobile holiday gifts. Again, it didn’t matter that these gifts would primarily be from businesses other than T-Mobile; the goal was to engage existing and new customers so that a relationship could be developed between brand and consumer. It achieved this through social media, mobile-responsive sites, and mobile-optimized email marketing. And T-Mobile isn’t the only name in town trying such a strategy.
Retailers Everywhere are Jumping on the Mobile Train
From online retailers (think shoes, clothes, skateboards, and the like) to online service providers (rental car, accommodation, and transportation booking companies), the mobile-optimized buying experience is starting to become a priority. And for good reason: some of the biggest online retailers in the industry – including Wal-Mart, Amazon, Apple, Target, and Best Buy – receive nearly 50 percent of digital retail traffic on mobile only. To say this is a significant number would be underselling it. Quite simply, to not account for the mobile experience would be akin to business suicide. Like it or not, eCommerce on mobile is the reality. As stated above, mobile isn’t the future – it’s the present.
If You Don’t Shop Mobile Now, You Soon Will
When eCommerce was new on the scene, many were trepidatious about buying online. Would my package actually be delivered? Would my credit card number be instantly used for nefarious purposes? Would my credit be forever ruined? These may seem like hyperbolic questions now, but ask the online shopper from 1997, and such questions would likely be seen as reasonable. The mobile buying experience is undergoing something of a similar transformation, from an intriguing if ultimately niche experience, to the norm. Rest assured, if you don’t shop on your mobile device now, you soon will be. And this may well be due to the fact that soon, retailers won’t give you a choice!