Remember when we were all dazzled by the internet about two decades ago? Business people, especially marketers, were the first to try, explore and later exploit it to their advantage.
Fast forward to today and we have arrived at a similar point in time. Although not entire novices about the internet, the mobile internet has become a new, innovative and effective way for brands to reach out to their customers. However, getting on the mobile internet train requires a bit of un-learning and re-learning so that we can immerse ourselves in this new technology. Over the last few years, millions of consumers have shifted buying behavior to smartphones and tablets versus shopping in brick n’ mortar stores or even on their desktop computers. So how can businesses get the best out of the mobile web to drive traffic and eventually sales?
Go back to the basics
The mobile web is an altogether different kind of internet and I mean that metaphorically. It behaves differently compared to the traditional web and people’s experience and expectations can be quite different. The first thing a brand needs to do is build a mobile website, to make sure it loads with ease on all popular browsers on different Operating Systems be it Android or iOS. That means making sure videos are properly aligned, do not require additional plug-ins and are optimized for the right resolutions so that they buffer and play fast. Text should be displayed correctly and should align itself according to the screen size and orientation (portrait or landscape). Forms should be intuitive and have the right opt-in fields like calendars, numbers or locations wherever applicable. Finally a minimalist approach helps a lot especially considering you have limited screen real estate to deal with and want the user’s undivided attention when they are on your site or app. Overall it should be an intuitive experience that is fast and easy for the users. Remember, every marketing touch-point interacts differently with consumers and all your communication needs to fit the mold.
Mobile payments will reshape the way we do business online
The mobile web has opened up to processing payments online and the big players like Apple, Samsung and Google have already announced their own mobile payment services that require minimal input from users other than the customary setup procedures. This means that more merchants worldwide will have the option of using mobile as their payment method. Unlike the credit-card era that took quite a while to hit mainstream in the 70s and 80s, the mobile payment mechanisms of today involve minimal hardware and cost-efficient software that make it a lot simpler and affordable for small and large merchants to accept them. Businesses definitely need to sign up and keep up with the developments. Someday, sooner than later, most of the world will be making payments through smartphones.
Mobile data will move from being stand-alone to integrated
The days when the call center representative you are speaking with has no idea about the 12 previous emails you had sent to them complaining about the crappy refrigerator they sold you (is happened to me) are long gone. The mobile web has forced businesses to integrate information, specifically customer information over the enterprise so that customers benefit from a holistic and synergized overall brand experience. That is why businesses need to invest in mobile ERP solutions to consolidate customer information and give them a contextual experience. Meaning, all customer interactions need to be handled keeping in mind the touch-point the customer is using and in these instances it is most often mobile and if it is, keep the interaction brief, informative and most importantly make sure the customer/user leaves with something…… preferably something good.
Finally, prepare for mobile security
As more and more people put their personal information on their smartphones, specifically their financial information or enterprise level data, it is likely that hackers who have long prowled the internet for victims will focus their attention on the here. This is why businesses need to invest in mobile security for their apps to ensure that hackers and lawbreakers don’t use them as backdoors to wreak havoc on enterprise level information.
So mobile marketing is still in its infancy and I will try to cover more on this for bazaar readers. If you haven’t thought about your mobile strategy, now is the time to start. With technologies evolving at breakneck speeds, it is advisable to get started now and have less to learn rather than doing it when there are too many players out there and it gets harder to get into the game.
Barry Rodrigues is the Head of Marketing & Product Development at Future Communications and an associate advisor with the International Advisors Group in Kuwait. Barry also provides pro-bono consulting services for small businesses to help them achieve their marketing objectives. For comments, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.