By Billy Collins
The days of asking if your business needs a mobile strategy are over.
For years, giving customers access to a beautiful mobile app or highly usable mobile responsive website served as a competitive differentiator for businesses. Today, every consumer demands businesses take mobile seriously.
Consumers’ lives require anytime, anywhere access to find information, purchase goods, and stay in touch with the rest of the world. What they don’t need—and won’t stand for—are businesses that keep them tied to tools that are difficult to use (or worse, unavailable) on their mobile devices.
So instead of asking if mobile is right for your business, you should be asking which mobile solutions your consumers need and how to optimize their mobile experience with your brand. Here is how you and your business can get started doing just that.
1. Define what your consumers need
There is no one-size-fits-all blueprint for developing a mobile strategy. But if there is one universal maxim, it’s that consumers will choose the option that is most convenient, has the least friction and offers the most value.
That’s why any mobile strategy needs to start with understanding your users. It sounds elementary. But too often, companies develop a complete product roadmap with features or functionality that users don’t want or that fall short on what they need. And when it comes to mobile access, context is everything. You need to meet consumers where they are with the tools they need to take action in the moment.
Rather than simply asking customers what they want from a mobile experience, you need to determine:
- What is unique about your audience?
- What are their goals and how do you fit into helping them achieve those goals?
- Where and when are they most likely to interact with your brand digitally?
- What pain points do they have interacting with your brand today?
Let this research guide your investments in functionality and design.
2. Optimize your UX
Mobile website usage officially surpassed desktop in 2016, and that growth has not slowed down. With the proliferation of smartphones (and other connected services), it can be tempting to believe your business needs a native mobile app in order to serve your audiences’ needs on mobile. Rather, you need to invest in a mobile user experience (UX) that your users want and that you can scale over the long term.
At a minimum, you should ensure that your website is mobile responsive. This is not a matter of replicating your desktop website on a smaller screen. You need to identify what feature sets will be most valuable to your users and optimize them for smaller screen.
If you already have a mobile responsive website in place, you should consider upgrading it to a progressive web application (PWA). A PWA uses web capabilities to provide an app-like experience, such as allowing your website to be “installed” like an app on a user’s home screen, sending push notifications and offering offline access. It is a viable way to gather the data you need to prove the case for more complex mobile app development. Likewise, it can provide you with foundational research to create an app that delivers what your customers need and want.
3. Deliver sustainable results
No matter which mobile strategy you pursue, one of the best decisions you can make is to build a feedback mechanism into your digital channels, especially your mobile platforms. A bad experience with your platform — even a minor fail — risks souring consumers on your brand. Giving them an outlet to let you know what isn’t working helps reassure them that you care about their satisfaction. Plus, if they can’t tell you directly, you can be sure they’ll make their opinions known in the app store of their choice.
Live feedback provided in context can give you a rich data set to continually optimize your mobile app’s UX. And that’s great news for you and your customers.
Not sure where to go next? Whether you’re standing by as your competition rides the digital wave or realizing you need to improve the user experience, there are resources to help. At Wipfli Digital, we have extensive experience with developing and optimizing mobile experiences that resonate with users. From conducting consumer research to streamlining your mobile purchasing funnel, we can help you meet your customers where they are, exactly when they need you.