Mobile is taking over the customer journey – Marketing Land

With over 40 percent of online transactions and growing, mobile is eating the world day by day. When a customer sets out to learn and make a decision, the smartphone is the gateway to discovery.

Smartphones, popular apps and on-demand services push consumer behaviors in new, disruptive directions. As a result, customers are introduced to direct and even unorthodox ways to discover relevant information, insights and desired outcomes.

While businesses are making strides in mobilizing websites and developing functional apps, it’s critical that they understand that being mobile is just the beginning. Digital strategists must also understand how preferences, expectations and intent evolve and how their users seek to interact with different platforms.

Mobile success takes more than mobile capabilities

Every day, consumers use their smartphones to hunt for insights before making their next move. Yes, businesses are adapting by introducing mobile sites and apps that work on the small screen. But to succeed on mobile takes much more than adapting desktop experiences to the small screen. In fact, without a full understanding of mobile user experience (UX), mobile sites can do more harm than good.

In recent research, Google found that 51 percent of consumers look unfavorably on brands with mobile sites that are not designed for use on a smartphone. More shockingly, Google found that almost half of smartphone users will not consider purchasing from brands that host poorly designed mobile sites.

That’s not all. Load time, ease of use and integration of mobile sites and apps are also critical pillars of great user experience. If customers encounter any obstacles along their mobile journey, they’ll find a more intuitive solution elsewhere. Seventy-three percent of consumers will switch from a poorly designed mobile site to an alternative that makes purchasing easy, Google found.

Additionally, the report ranked the three top reasons people would not make a purchase on a mobile site:

  1. Loads slowly (51 percent).
  2. Difficult to navigate (50 percent).
  3. Difficult to find what I’m looking for (47 percent).

Consumers have an app-etite for usability

This may sound strange, since we’re undoubtedly living in a mobile-first world, but not every company needs an app. Mobile sites are important – but with apps, the stakes are much higher.

You’re not just competing against traditional competitors here. You’re also competing against the likes of Uber, Amazon, Instagram and any app that sets the bar for user experience. According to Google, two-thirds of customers say they can achieve the same goal on a brand’s mobile site as they can on their app.

So, what does it take to be successful on both fronts?

Competition on the small screen is pretty intense. When it comes to apps, loyalty has to be re-earned. The reality is that many apps experience a churn of 80 percent within 90 days. Also, most users only interact with nine apps per day, at most.

The reality is that apps need to earn the coveted spot on someone’s mobile screen, even among loyal customers. In fact, 87 percent say they can be loyal to a brand without having its app on their phone, according to Google. Additionally, half say they don’t even have their favorite brand’s app installed on their phone.


You care about your app way more than your customers do

Honestly, it turns out that customers don’t really think about it. Awareness and low consideration get in the way of knowing about or feeling the need to download your app. Google learned that of the 53 percent of consumers who don’t have their favorite brand’s app installed, 42 percent have never considered doing so, and 25 percent didn’t even know that one was available.

But don’t try to force or introduce gimmicky campaigns to get users to download your app. When it comes to app success, it’s not about installs. Your customers see through it. Google discovered that 63 percent of users will delete the app after a transaction when forced to download it just to access a deal.

People feel a more permanent relationship because they see the app on their screen each day, and it’s taking up storage/memory. It’s much more permanent than a mobile site engagement. As such, it must consistently deliver value beyond deals and transactions. The good news is that apps can introduce new, differentiated and value-added experiences versus mobile sites. Then, businesses need to educate customers on the unique benefits and capabilities of the app and why they can’t live without it. That takes a deep understanding of what customers value, their goals and aspirations and what their favorite apps deliver.

Digital is not the same as mobile. While every channel is important, mobile is growing exponentially and pushing customer behavior and expectations in new directions.

How mobile is different

To win:

  1. Think like a consumer-facing, on-demand service or a popular mobile game.
  2. Deliver user-centered value, always. Design your mobile experience as if you were your own customer.
  3. Develop complementary experiences for your mobile site and app. People use both.
  4. Think beyond traditional journeys.
  5. Don’t just create for the small screen, design for it.
  6. Acquire customers with the goal of a long-term relationship, not a quick download.
  7. Introduce meaningful systems to build “mobile” loyalty beyond legacy CRM.

With mobile comes a unique and ever-evolving set of customer expectations that challenge convention and also create new opportunities. A lack of understanding of people’s needs on mobile today will inhibit growth tomorrow.

On the other hand, embracing evolving customer needs and expectations will foster growth. It’s just a matter of what you do differently moving forward from this point.

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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