Nov. 5, 201910 min read
Authors: Emil Waszkowski - Head of Digital Consulting
The times when mobile was just one of the communication channels are over. Nowadays, more than 50% of online traffic comes from mobile devices, while we all spend almost 3,5 hours a day on average using our phones. That’s hardly surprising, given that we can do just about anything, anytime and anywhere on modern smartphones.
In such circumstances, not using this platform’s potential might not just slow down the growth of your business, but leave you far behind your competitors. Don’t let it happen - see how you can use this potential to your advantage with a proper mobile strategy.
There are plenty of ways to define a strategy, but to put it simply: It’s all about planning how to overcome challenges in order to meet desired goals. A mobile strategy, in particular, includes all the activities related to your mobile website and mobile app. It also happens to affect each stage of the marketing funnel: from customer acquisition to increased revenue, which helps your business meet these goals in the long run.
Basically, like every other plan, the mobile one should also be consistent with the overall strategy of your business. Some might say that a mobile strategy is way too specific to be a separate scheme, but due to its importance these days, it happens to be the core of a Customer Experience (CX) strategy in increasingly more cases.
Taking advantage of the mobile channel can bring your business a lot of benefits, depending on your goals. These can vary - from acquiring more customers or increasing the loyalty of the existing ones, to streamlining your business processes and cooperating with business partners.
In fact, there are different target groups and purposes your mobile product can serve. It’s not only about your customers - but also your employees and business partners, as an example. No matter who the potential users are, you should always take into account the added value for them, along with the needs of your business.
What exactly mobile products can help your business with?
Removing the barriers between you and your customers. Mobile apps simply accelerate every online activity. For example, they can help your customers access relevant information and purchase products or services much faster, anytime and anywhere - as the only thing the users have to do is to launch the app rather than browse the Internet to find whatever they are looking for. Not to mention that some of the app’s features could be accessed offline as well.
Having another marketing channel at your disposal. Mobile apps give you yet another chance to engage your customers. As already mentioned, making purchases directly through an app can be much more convenient for the customers, which increases the chances of them actually buying from you. At the same time, you can also encourage them to take advantage of your offer with relevant push notifications, for example.
Adding value for your customers. Mobile products create an opportunity to give something extra to your customers. This can be a good enough incentive to purchase your products and services in the end. How come? Take a look at popular brands: Sephora, for instance, gives its customers a chance to try on makeup virtually, while Walmart’s app makes it easier to find items inside the store. These features can actually help their customers to make a decision and finalise the transaction, sooner or later.
Boosting customer loyalty. Dedicated tools (especially those that fit in one’s pocket) can enhance any customer loyalty scheme. When everything your customers might need is available at their fingertips, why would they switch to any of your competitors? Not to mention that mobile app personalisation and the ability to pay through the app can easily drive customer engagement as well.
Improving communication and efficiency. This applies not only to the communication with your customers, but within your company as well. Mobile products can easily serve your employees, and facilitating communication and collaboration among them is just one of their capabilities. As a matter of fact, mobile products can help you streamline business processes and, in turn, increase the productivity of your employees.
Driving traffic to (or from) your brick and mortar store. If a physical store still remains the core of your business, mobile products can help you drive traffic to it. For instance, you could offer special deals and products for specific app users, or allow them to buy through the mobile app and collect their purchase in-store. Also, it’s worth keeping in mind that 82% of mobile users search for a local business, plus many of them look for and compare products online before they go to the actual store. It works the other way round too, as some customers prefer to see the products with their own eyes, and then buy them online. That’s precisely why it makes sense to combine online & offline channels for your business.
The Internet has become a “mobile-first” experience since both smartphone usage and web traffic coming from mobile devices continue to skyrocket. As a matter of fact, mobile devices account for more than half of the worldwide web traffic nowadays, while their users represent almost half of the population and spend nearly 3.5h a day using them.
What’s also interesting is that 90% of that time is spent on mobile apps, whose annual downloads are projected to reach 258 billion by 2020. That’s a 45% increase from 178 billion downloads in 2017. At the same time, app store consumer spending is also projected to increase substantially - by 92% to $157 billion worldwide, to be precise.
It’s difficult to disagree that these numbers are promising to anyone who’s looking into new ways of user acquisition, engagement, retention, and monetisation. Actually, mobile apps give plenty more opportunities to boost them in the long run, especially when comparing them to desktop apps and even mobile web.
It’s also clear to see that many brands have already been taking advantage of those opportunities - and they’ve been doing so with great results. Domino’s can serve as a good example, as almost 50% of the company’s revenue in the UK is generated via the online channel. The mobile app developed by easyJet’s, on the other hand, is widely used to book flights and accounts for 20% of all bookings. Zalando’s also noted higher engagement among app users, since 44% of their sales have been made through the app.
It’s worth to keep in mind that the above-mentioned numbers are likely to continue increasing, as new trends take over and brands start to experiment with them. It’s hardly surprising, given that mobile devices hold great potential - especially when equipped with the right software. Not without reason, they are already enabling the development of visual search or the concept of AI as a Product, just to name a few.
Without a doubt, enterprise mobility is a hot topic these days. In fact, having a mobile presence seems to be crucial for many businesses out there. In order to stay competitive, you definitely have to understand the current mobile landscape.
What can help you decide what kind of a mobile product your business might be in need of, are definitely in-depth research, proper planning, and a reliable product team able to deliver a mobile product (or a partnership with a software development company). These steps can help you figure out your own mobile strategy that best suits your business objectives, no matter if you’re just about to enter the mobile market or you already have your own app.
How to start the whole process?
Analyse your own business carefully. Take a closer look at your resources and your overall business goals. What’s missing that might be keeping you from executing your medium/long-term strategy properly? What are the assets that can bring you closer to meeting the objectives? Could using a mobile channel help you with that? If so - how exactly?
Look into analytics. Check how much traffic to your website comes from mobile devices, what’s the engagement, and what are the conversion rates for desktop and mobile respectively. If you notice that conversion is higher for mobile devices, it means that you should definitely leverage their potential. Once you’re at it, don’t forget about mobile apps - which are said to convert 160% more users compared to mobile browser traffic, and 43% more users in comparison with desktop traffic. At the same time, if you see lower conversion rates but more traffic coming from mobile devices - you might already be missing out. Still, don’t forget that many users go through multiple channels before they make a decision, and many of them still prefer finishing the transaction on their desktops.
Identify your target group. Whatever goals you want to achieve, you should always take into account the potential users of your app along with their needs. After all, the final product should be able to serve them and answer those needs, one way or another. To meet their expectations in the best possible manner, think of who your target group is, how do they use mobile devices and in what cases your app can be useful to them.
Consider the value you want to provide to your target group. This might vary depending on the potential app users, but as already mentioned - it’s crucial for the app to be successful. Otherwise, there’s not really a point in developing it in the first place.
If your business already has an online presence established, a complete mobile strategy should comprise of two parts: mobile web and mobile app. Both are crucial in terms of planning your customer journey, and have to be compatible in order to bring desired results. Typically, there’s also one more thing to consider when developing any mobile app: proper app store optimisation (ASO). We’re going to focus on it in another article, though.
Basically, mobile web can help you grab the attention of new leads and raise brand awareness. It means that having a well-optimised and responsive website can work wonders at the very beginning of the customer journey, but is often not enough to take these leads further down the funnel. This is precisely when mobile apps come in, as they can encourage potential customers to act by offering seamless customer experience and a higher level of personalisation.
As can be seen, they really are complementary - and taking both of them into account can create greater value and give your customer much richer brand experience. Basically, the most important thing when developing a mobile strategy is to keep thinking about the big picture. This should also help you unlock your creativity and consider different solutions throughout the whole process.
Keep in mind that having a coherent mobile strategy can be beneficial not only for online businesses. If you own retail chain, it already serves as a touchpoint for your customers. You can then train your team to encourage your store visitors to download your app, take advantage of dedicated offers, and even join a loyalty program that revolves around points that can be collected with every purchase inside the store. It works the other way round too, as you can always prompt the mobile app users to visit the nearest store with push notifications, as an example.
Once you have it all figured out, it’s time to start executing your strategy.
We assume that after reading the article you will be able to come up with a high-level concept for the product - with certain goals and business problems, potential user characteristics, benchmarks, and the overview of the app features specified. In order to transform it into a fully-functioning app and minimise risks throughout the process, you might want to partner up with an experienced software development company that can help you create the prototype and validate your product.
Finding a reliable partner doesn’t mean simply passing the whole project to them and waiting until it’s completed. There’s still a lot of commitment needed from your side. It’s mostly because the developed app is going to communicate with your systems, e-commerce platform, CRM or ERP software, depending on its purpose. In order to make all that happen, your organisation has to be ready for the implementation in the first place.
To make the whole process run as smoothly as possible, you should designate a Product Manager who will be responsible for developing the mobile strategy and the app itself. This responsibility means cooperating with the outside software development team and internal stakeholders, as well as making all the important decisions regarding the product.
As the development phase comes to an end, you should also plan the launch of your product. For example, if you own a brick and mortar store chain, you should inform and train your team properly so that they are aware of it and can encourage customers to use it as well. At the same time, you should also plan your marketing activities, taking into account all the channels available to you. The ultimate goal here is to convince as many users as possible to download your app and start using it.
Now, it’s time to think the analytics through. What data are you going to collect, and how will this impact your business in the long run? To put it simply, in-app analytics can help you better understand your customers and their behaviour, and figure out how the app can be optimised to reach your business goals. In fact, your mobile app can affect various areas of your business - provided that you plan the communication and analytics revolving around it properly.
Even when you think you have it all under control - don’t forget about constant development. It’s easy to rest on your laurels after you notice that the app is performing well - but it’s easy to lose your users without a well-thought-out communication strategy and continuous improvements. Listen to your users and their needs, keep an eye on current mobile trends and develop your app so that it still meets the expectations of your users, along with your business goals.
As you can see, the way mobile apps are developed is different than other software and thus, requires a lot of knowledge and understanding. This knowledge, however, can bring your business a lot of benefits. That’s precisely why we wanted to touch upon the most important aspects when developing a mobile product, through planning to execution, to give you a proper idea of the whole process before you start thinking about your own mobile strategy.
There are still so many nuances that are worth being discussed individually, though. If you want to find out how we helped both online and offline businesses develop their mobile strategies and products, get in touch.