Strategy

Mobile gold rush: the small screen, big business and you

If you’re still wondering if it’s the year of mobile, you’ve already missed it.

AdAge

According to a growing number of studies, we’re about to enter a world where there are more tablets and smartphones than PCs, and most people access the web with their mobile devices. Already at this year’s London Olympic Games, 60% of online visits came from mobile devices and apps.

How prepared is your organization to prosper in this new world?

Mobile is now firmly in the mainstream

We read the statistics every day, but taken together they paint a breathtaking picture of change:

  • 28% of smartphone owners check their phone before they get out of bed.
  • More than 2/3 of our time on mobile phones is now used for non-communication activities.
  • Mobile is poised to surpass television as the dominant consumer access point for all media.
  • Mobile search has grown 500% in the past two years.
  • Sales originating on mobile devices now represent 13.3% of all online purchases, up from 7% a year ago.
  • 17.7% of all sessions on retailer sites are now initiated on mobile devices.
  • 39 million Americans made an online purchase using their phone last year, representing 20% of all mobile phone owners in the U.S.

How we experience life, relationships, entertainment, education and work is changing forever. And with more and more people carrying increasingly sophisticated mobile devices everywhere they go, our sense of what’s possible is expanding as well.

For example, The Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project forecasted that mobile payments could eliminate the need for consumers to carry cash and credit cards as soon as the year 2020. 65% of the technology experts surveyed agreed that within eight years, most consumers will fully trust and embrace smart devices and mobile wallet services to fund digital and in-store purchases, with cash and credit cards essentially disappearing in advanced nations.

Brands are ramping up

As far and as quickly as mobile has come, there is still a huge gap between consumer adoption of mobile and the resources organizations are assigning to it. A recent survey by Big Commerce found that less than half of retailers have optimized their site for mobile devices, and less than a third of retailers have optimized their sites specifically for tablets. Mobile is still seen as an add-on, but this is beginning to change.

Mobile devices are now so ubiquitous that a business without a mobile strategy is a business without a strategy.

Jim Hemmer
CEO, Antenna Software

According to a survey this year by Antenna Software, U.S. and U.K. businesses are embracing mobile technology at an unprecedented rate, with average current investments of $422,000 rising to $926,000 in the next year and a half, and a third of companies planning to launch four or more mobile projects in the next 12 to 18 months.

However, the survey also found that U.K. and U.S. companies are working with an average of three separate mobile solutions vendors simultaneously, warning that companies undertaking this sort of concurrent development are likely to see their mobile business strategies become increasingly fragmented, hampered by redundant technologies and difficult to manage.

If the early days of enterprise mobility have been characterized by uneven, underfunded and mostly tactical initiatives, the next phase will require a more holistic approach to succeed.

Attitude is the difference

A growing chorus of experts is concluding that winning in the mobile era will require not just much more investment, but a whole new way of viewing your organization and its relationships.

In its “Mobile is Not Just Another Channel” report this year, Forrester Research challenged eBusiness leaders to think bigger than just scaling down their PC-based web experiences and leveraging existing infrastructure. While this approach may be expedient, the report says, “Mobile as a channel…has the potential to offer opportunities beyond a smaller version of a PC-based experience. While there are advantages to treating mobile as an extension of a multichannel strategy, doing so alone is too myopic. Mobile phones have unique attributes that can be combined and leveraged to generate new mobile experiences that may not even be digital today.”

Eugene Signorini, senior vice president of research at Yankee Group, offers similar advice, stating “Today, an organization must consider the entire mobile experience and approach enterprise mobility in a holistic, unified fashion to satisfy both employees and customers and drive new revenues and growth.”

Are you prepared to thrive in a mobile world?

The time is coming when mobile is no longer another channel, but the channel. You have new people and skills to invest in; new technologies and platforms to keep up with; new ways of thinking about your organization, customers and employees.

The winners will be those who embrace this reality first, and move quickly to a larger vision of how their organization will, look, succeed and relate to others in a world where business and life are increasingly mobile.