Mobile is a hot topic these days. And so it should be – just look at the numbers. For the first time in the history of computing, mobile device sales will overtake desktop and laptop sales in 2013. Over 44% of people in the United States currently own a smart phone, and of those, 83% use them while on the go. 378,000 iPhones are sold every day. What does this mean? Clearly, this isn’t just a fad: mobile is definitely here to stay. So what does that mean to your business? Keep reading to find out more about Segue’s own experience helping our clients navigate the brave new world of mobile.
Your Customer’s Habits Are Changing
In your daily travels, I’m sure you see people on their phones and tablets everywhere – while walking down the street, riding on the bus, and even while eating at restaurants. Look around right now. I bet if you’re in a public place, you’ll see lots of people using their smartphones all around you. People are busier than ever these days and they’re increasingly using their phones to look up information, make appointments, shop, and even collaborate while on the go. However, business owners often don’t consider how their own website or web applications work (or don’t work) on mobile devices.
Try this simple exercise: Think of some general information that your customers commonly look for on your website. They could be viewing your services, looking up your hours and address, or maybe even scheduling an appointment. Now load your website on a mobile phone and try it out. Did it work? How long did it take? Maybe it was a great experience! But far too often, the experience is less than ideal – or worse, the website doesn’t even work on your mobile device. Make sure you know how your existing website and IT systems work on mobile devices so you’ll know what your customers are experiencing (or not experiencing).
By 2014, over 50% of web traffic will come from mobile devices. Mobile is no longer an afterthought or a “nice to have.” With an ever growing array of devices with different screen sizes, different operating systems, and different capabilities, it’s important to create a solution that’s optimized for these many variables to ensure that your customers can connect with you no matter where and no matter what device. When planning new IT investments, mobile optimization must be a key requirement.
Mobile Web vs. Mobile Apps
In addition to a website that’s optimized for mobile devices, in certain situations a mobile app for iOS, Android, and other mobile platforms may be another important way for your customers to interact with your business. Mobile apps provide a number of additional capabilities that are not available via mobile websites, including enhanced interaction and gestures (like swipe, shake, tap and drag), notifications, better performance, offline data support, advanced graphics, and device specific features such as camera and accelerometer sensor support. Native applications also provide the ability to monetize through Apple’s App Store and in-app purchases.
Mobilize Your Workforce
Most likely, most of your employees have smartphones too, just waiting to extend the reach and efficiency of your business processes. Whether its scanning inventory into stock, processing orders, or responding to customer questions, your employees’ smartphones can extend the reach of your website and systems beyond your existing IT infrastructure. Just as you should invest in mobile support for your customers, also remember to support your employees.
Invest In Mobile, or Someone Else Will
People are busier than ever these days. With the rise of social networking and information overload, your customers often only have a few seconds to make a decision about your company. For some customers, all it takes to pass your company by is a website that doesn’t work on a mobile device. Based on our own data, visitors can be 50% less likely to return to your website if it’s not optimized for mobile, and view 30% less content.
Whether you’re redesigning your website, enabling customer self-service, or even getting a new timesheet system for your employees, make sure mobile is a key consideration and a top priority and you’ll be ready for the future.