It's no longer appropriate to say that mobile will soon be "taking over." That implies it hasn't done so yet. The game has changed, and mobile is part of the bedrock of too many businesses to count. According to Forrester, businesses that include mobile as part of their business strategies are excelling. Truth be told, if you want your business to succeed, you simply must use mobile to improve the customer experience. However, transferring that customer experience from desktop or laptop to smaller screens hasn't been easy for many businesses who still struggle to learn how customers interact with websites and apps. If your business is still struggling to define its mobile strategy, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Understand Mobile Users

In an increasingly data-driven world, businesses are seeking to understand the motivations behind consumer behaviors. Harvard Business Review found that 68 percent of users' mobile device use happens at home, with the vast majority of activity spent on "me time." This includes activities like playing games, window shopping, or reading a gossip website. By studying the various ways users engage with their devices, a business can tailor its marketing efforts to match target demographics.

Forget Apps

While there are some exceptions, businesses that rely on an app or website to lure customers in are already behind. Forrester points out that instead of expecting app downloads or waiting for website visits, businesses should find a way to "borrow mobile moments" by following customers wherever they go.

Here are a few ways businesses should consider reaching out to customers:

  • Mobile payment apps--In 2015, businesses are replacing their store equipment (swipe pads) to be able to accept the new EMV payment methods anyway. The cost to upgrade to a NFC-capable version of that equipment is roughly $40, which is a minimal charge when compared to the cost to upgrade to NFC later. With Apple Pay and other NFC-type payment methods expected to increase in usage as more consumers upgrade their smartphones to those with NFC capabilities, retailers may feel more pressure to have systems that accept those payments.
  • Navigation apps--When consumers are searching for a business, they're usually doing so while on the move. Businesses should make sure they have a prominent presence on various navigation apps for the area immediately surrounding each of their locations.
  • Review sites--While it's difficult for a business to control its customer reviews, consumers learn more through sites like Yelp and Google Reviews than through a business's own website. It's important that businesses ensure they have a presence on these sites and encourage loyal customers to post reviews there.

Make Mobile Ordering Easy

Starbucks' upcoming mobile ordering app is only a small hint of the conveniences customers will eventually come to expect. If a local restaurant offers delivery, mobile ordering can make a big difference, especially if a business contracts with a delivery referral service like GrubHub. For businesses that serve products, making those products easy to find, view, and purchase on mobile devices is an ongoing challenge, which means mobile shopping carts must also be easy to use on smaller screens.

Focus on Mobile Content Marketing

If your content marketing strategy has solely been focused on your Google presence, 2015 may be the year you rethink that strategy. Brands are beginning to focus on reaching consumers on their mobile devices, where attention spans are short and the experience is different than traditional web surfing has been. Storytelling has become an important part of today's mobile-driven marketing world as brands find unique ways to reach out to consumers.

It's almost an understatement to say that mobile is heavily influencing customer behavior this year. By finding ways to leverage the technology to work for them, brands can connect with customers and get ahead of the competition. Businesses can adjust their content marketing strategies and interact with third-party applications to reach customers where they are today.

Published on: Feb 2, 2015