By Blake Morgan @Forbes | Mar 18, 2016
Don’t you feel like all too often mobile is seen as an afterthought rather than a main piece of the customer experience? All too often brands’ in-store and desktop, mobile and tablet experiences don’t match. What a nightmare for customers! For example, did you know that 80 percent of time spent on a smartphone is spent within apps? How many times does the app experience not match the mobile version of the website on the phone? Often it’s not an elegant journey to move from website to app to mobile version of the website. The mobile customer experience should be up as important to your team as the desktop experience for your customers. Customers with Phablets (a large phone that’s bordering on a tablet-size) spent 334 percent more time on their phone in 2015. Those numbers are only going to increase. According to Will Mckitterick, Senior Analyst at Business Insider 31 percent of all devices activated in 2015 were phablets.
And with all that time spent on the phone, we’re not making calls. We spend an average of 3 hours and 8 minutes per day doing non-voice activities on our smartphones. As David Iudica, Senior Director of Research and Insights at Yahoo! recently pointed out at a conference, it’s not a smartphone anymore, it’s a smart “device.” Phones are for making calls—not the litany of activities we do on our “devices.” While there are hundreds of thousands of apps out there, many of them deliver little value to consumers. According to Jenny Gove, X Research Lead for Google, 34 percent of apps aren’t opened more than 11 times? That’s unsettling when you think of how much effort it takes to create an app.
We’re spending more and more time on our phone. And that is going to increase as customers move away from buying tablets and invest in a new phablet. It has been my experience that companies spend 90 percent of their time focused on desktop and in-store experiences and only 10 percent of their time on mobile. With the importance of mobile in the consumer’s life today, companies should be spending 50 percent of their time focusing on the mobile experience, at least. While that might seem like a lot, it’s needs to happen.
Today I have five suggestions for you on creating a more compelling mobile customer experience.
1. Use Deep Linking And Discoverability to Improve The Customer Experience
In the context of mobile apps (Wikipedia), deep linking consists of using a uniform resource identifier (URI) that links to a specific location within a mobile app rather than simply launching the app. Deep linking will allow you to create find-able content for your users. The greatest benefit of mobile deep linking is the ability for marketers and app developers to bring users directly into the specific location within their app with a dedicated link. Just as deep links made the web more usable, mobile deep links do the same for mobile apps. Deferred Deep Linking allows users to deep link to content even if the app isn’t already installed. It’s important to thank about deep linking and discoverability—for example how are your consumers searching for content in the app. How about on the mobile version of your website? Google is looking at deep linking as an opportunity to make search on mobile seamless by bridging the web and app gap. Your users need to be able to easily find information on your apps and the mobile web. It’s important!
2. Make Your Apps Easy To Open and Use
While it’s important to protect your consumers, it’s important for your users to be able to access the app. For example on the iphone I can easily open both my Fidelity app and my Chase app by using my thumbprint. They’ve identified me and I don’t need a password, just my thumb. Other apps require I remember a password. Guess what apps don’t get used as much? The ones where I need to actually remember my login and password.
3. Have A Strong Curation Team To Promote Great Content
At a conference I recently heard the Vimeo mobile story. Vimeo started focusing much more on curating its video content and they were happy to discover user engagement increased leaps and bounds. In fact users love the Vimeo app so much they spend four times as much time on the app as they do on the Vimeo mobile web browser. Also it’s important to think about how people are viewing content. No one thought anyone would view vertical videos, but Snapchat saw a trend with its users and launched vertical video. It ended up being a big hit for Snapchat. Think about how your users are consuming content and come up with a content strategy that makes sense.
4. Ensure Consumers Can See Product Detail on the Mobile Device
Often customers can’t see the content on their phone well enough to be confident enough in the product to buy it. According to Business Insider, small content/visual barriers is the biggest overall barrier to purchasing. I can relate to this, as shopping on Amazon for furniture and reviewing my list—there is no way I would buy anything from the app—it’s just too small. I don’t have the best eyesight and I have the iphone 6—not the 6 plus which might help with shopping. Think about how well your customers can actually see your products—and if they would feel confident enough in the view to purchase them.
5. Be Careful of Too Many Apps
Some decisions about creating a separate app are smart—for example Mark Zuckerberg decided to take a big gamble by breaking Facebook Messenger off from Facebook. They are two different apps. This ended up being a brilliant strategy. Today messenger has about 800 million users per month. Unlike Facebook many companies have way too many apps and their doesn’t appear to be a sound strategy behind them. Companies need to think about the overall strategy and consider how the mobile strategy fits into that. There should be a heavy strategy and vetting process for your mobile approach, that way not just any employee can decide to create an app.
Speaking of Zuckerberg, I heard a rumor that they became a mobile first company overnight. They broke up the structure of the teams, reorganized their engineers and told everyone if they didn’t learn how to create mobile products they’d be fired. This approach might be extreme, but look at their wild success. With Facebook itself, messenger and Instagram, Zuckerberg proved to be a smart mobile leader. Mobile is not going away—and while you might not want to fire your employees, you do want to think about what you’re going to do to make mobile 50 percent of your focus (or more).
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