Keys to Taking a Mobile First Approach

It has become obvious to even the most casual observer that mobile is no longer considered a second screen by many consumers. Given the enormous growth of smart phone usage and improvements in mobile applications, it is easy to see why many feel that this trend that will only continue to accelerate.

Research backs up casual observation. According to a recent study by comScore, 56% of all time spent online by consumers engaged in retail activity in the U.S. takes place via a mobile device.

Consider how your user will use your mobile application It seems that mobile no longer is the second screen in the minds of consumers.

Yet interestingly enough in 2014 only 16% of companies strongly agree that they are prepared to meet customers’ mobile expectations (CMO Council). There is clearly a great opportunity here for businesses willing to meet the needs of consumers.

Consumer expectations have changed, along with the way that they access and interact with information. Businesses have no choice but to adjust as well. The modern consumer cannot be expected to sit down at their computer to interact with a business or to finalize tasks there. Mobile applications must offer consumers the seamless, stand alone experiences that they are looking for.

Unfortunately, as the research suggests, far too many businesses view mobile the way many viewed web sites a decade ago, ignoring customer experience, personalization, analytics, location based features and many of the opportunities available due to mobile applications.

How does one take a mobile first approach?

Optimize for the form factor – Key to providing the mobile experiences that your customers are looking for is understanding the form factors of the mobile devices your customers are using and providing content in a format that is intuitive for your users to access at that size. Your users interact with mobile applications in particular ways and a mobile first approach carefully considers these items. Mobile application developers can help you understand trends in the industry and help you avoid creating an app with outdated style or functionality that runs counter to what mobile application users are used to doing.

Optimize content for your users needs – Additionally you must remember that mobile users are looking for content that is relevant and contextually meaningful. Personalization increase reliance and engagement.

Businesses looking to contact an Android application developer or an iPhone application developer should make sure that they are building applications for the future that take into account what users are looking for. This includes planning to deliver personalized shopping experiences to your customers on mobile devices in an intuitive fashion.

Photo: Yutaka Tsutano (Flikr) http://bit.ly/1ODgneb

Are You Losing Sales By Not Offering a Mobile Rewards Program?

Mobile-based rewards programs are incredibly popular right now. While people always love a bargain, the new economic reality is that consumers are now utilizing cost savings techniques like loyalty programs with greater and greater frequency.

Mobile rewards programs have exploded in popularity.According to Colloquy, U.S. consumers alone have over 3.3 billion memberships in customer loyalty programs, which is a sizable 26% increase over their last survey in 2013. In fact, according to their research the average American family has memberships in 29 loyalty programs.

Customers have come to expect loyalty offers from brands and may leave one to go to another that offers one.

Along with the overall growth of loyalty programs, mobile rewards programs have exploded in popularity and are expected to continue to do so. According to Forrester Research, consumers rank rewards high as a important element of mobile shopping. In fact, Forrester’s data showed 76% of consumers were interested in utilizing loyalty program points and rewards in a mobile digital wallet.

Choosing a mobile application developer that understand key touch-points with mobile loyalty programs can be helpful. As part of your mobile rewards strategy that you develop and implement with your iPhone application developer and Android application developer, make sure that you pay attention to how customers respond and optimize your program to meet your customer’s needs. With rewards programs its best not to take a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach but to tailor your program to your customer’s behavior and preferences.

What can a mobile loyalty program do for your business?

According to Harvard Business Review, loyalty programs can do 5 things for brands:

1. Keep customers from defecting
2. Win greater share of wallet
3. Prompt customers to make additional purchases
4. Yield insight into customer behavior and preferences
5. Turn a profit

How effective can rewards programs be?

When Kohl’s recently reviewed the effectiveness of their loyalty program they determined loyalty customers, made two extra trips to the store and spent $80 more per year. Keep in mind, as with everything in business, loyalty programs are not always successful. Building the right program and rewarding the right behaviors are critical for success.

The Small Business Administration blog gives this advice when it comes to loyalty programs, “Reward loyalty with some class. Freebies don’t always appeal to all and they can even de-value your services.” Furthermore suggesting,  “Experiential rewards are always popular. For example, a hair salon could offer a monthly workshop that offers free makeover tips to loyal customers. These experiences add value to your customers’ lives, build community, help your business stand out and give customers reason to keep coming back.”

What are the key elements of a successful mobile rewards program?

Analytics & Data

To create a successful mobile loyalty program you will need to understand your customers. Make sure you plan ahead to make data available so you can review if your loyalty program is properly engaging your target audience. Data and analytics will also help you be able to personalize the experience for each customer over time.

Personalize the Experience

The more data you capture, the better you can target and customize the experience for each of your users. Personalization is important in building effective mobile user experiences and it is not different with mobile rewards programs. Personalization helps build loyalty and engagement. Data will help you optimize each user’s experience to their preferences.

Rewards & Exclusive Offers

Make sure you reward customers for the appropriate behaviors. Leverage their mobile device to track their shopping behavior, such as purchases, and offer rewards based on that behavior.  Exclusive offers are also a powerful part of several strong loyalty programs as several retailers offer loyal customers priority access to exclusive products, offers and sales.

Customer Engagement

Utilizing tools such as push notifications have shown to increase response rates by up to 300%.  Other contact methods such as e-mail and SMS can also play an important role in your customer engagement strategy. A key part of loyalty programs is re-engaging customers, doing so with a sense of urgency can be powerful so don’t be afraid to try time sensitive offers.

Leverage in-store experiences

Many successful mobile rewards programs link loyalty to in-store experiences by offering product information and more. The future of retails involves improving in-store experience with powerful mobile applications that can improve the shopping experiences for you customers.

Photo: Omar Jordan Fawahl (Flikr) http://bit.ly/1ynqiAr

Adapt Your Marketing to The Mobile Age

Since the shift from PCs to smart phones and now wearable devices, marketing and advertising has been turned on its head.

Consumers are now in the drivers seat and can determine when and where they want to hear from brands. Consumers have come to expect things to happen right now in a personalized fashion.

Consumer's mobile behavior is also pushing businesses and mobile application developers to be more innovative. And as a result, companies must learn how to create multi-channel customer communications that address these changes. While this potentially creates creative challenges for businesses it also creates the opportunity to connect with consumers on a whole new level.

Consumer’s mobile behavior is also pushing businesses and mobile application developers to be increasingly more innovative to improve user experiences.

Beyond what your customer’s experience, they are creating an unprecedented amount of data. This data is available to be collected and analyzed  if your business chooses to do so. The opportunity exists to even do so in  real time, giving your marketing team the option to deliver the right message to the right person on the right device at precisely the right time.

In the past business wasn’t able to turn on a dime when it came to marketing and advertising but in today’s world real-time content creation and publishing are the norm. Modern interfaces allow business users  intuitive tools to publish content from multiple internal sources across a variety channels.

With the additional requirements of developing messaging for multiple channels, many businesses have found relief by being able to outsource whenever possible. In the modern economic paradigm, tasks that can be outsourced, must be. Often as content is being carefully targeted it is harder to produce externally, which leaves creation of tech and the systems as perfect opportunities for outsourcing to iPhone application developers and Android application developers. This frees your internal resources to have laser like focus on the items that require the deep levels of customer understanding, while you can outsource items that require technical mastery to companies that have the resources to complete the tasks.

This helps your marketing staff remain free from being distracted by technical issues.  Marketers thrive in this environment free of unnecessary tasks, where they are able to leverage technology.

Photo: Luke Ma (Flikr) http://bit.ly/1CFd1P1