A life without mobile devices is utterly unthinkable. 24/7 access to the online world has become the norm and we love it. Wherever we are, mobile domination is evident. So how did we get here? And is everyone up to speed?
Only 10 years after Apple kick-started the touchscreen smartphone market with the launch of the first iPhone, are the mobile predictions coming true. The Hosting Facts website rounds up some telling statistics from various research houses, including:
- More than half of global Internet users now use a mobile device more often than a desktop to access the web, rising to three-quarters of US users – and the proportion is growing all the time.
- In the US, more time is now spent viewing media on smartphones than desktops.
- Last year, mobile browsing influenced over $1 trillion in retail sales.
- 80% of consumers use a smartphone to shop.
Those same consumers are also increasingly demanding to use their smartphones and tablets at work – to access company applications and data, collaborate with colleagues, etc.
A Mobile Digital Transformation Strategy
For businesses, this has significant implications – both for customer-facing online strategies and internal operational processes. Essentially, It means that if organizations are not consciously optimizing the online experience for mobile users – whether customers or employees – they are in danger of losing out on an ever bigger share of business, as well as finding it increasingly difficult to attract and retain talented staff. Any digital transformation strategy must include mobility.
In other words, if you don’t have a digital transformation strategy that focuses on mobile technology, you will increasingly struggle against competitors that do. Again, the stats bear this out:
- 50 percent of mobile consumers will abandon a site if it takes more than 10 seconds to load and 60% of them will never return.
- According to Deloitte, more than three-quarters of millennials (who will represent over half the workforce by 2020) expect to be able to use smartphones and tablets at work to carry out their jobs more flexibly and productively.
- Other research suggests a majority would quit or refuse to work for companies that did not effectively support mobility and mobile devices.
So what should organizations be doing to make sure they can ride the wave of mobile domination? Below, we outline the key considerations for both customer-facing and internal mobile mastery.
Ensure Your Websites And Webapps Are Optimized For Use On Mobile Devices
- Use responsive web design techniques that allow you to create a site that will be easily viewable on different types and sizes of device. This eliminates the need to create different sites for desktop and mobile users. Google is now downgrading the rankings of websites that aren’t mobile-friendly, so failure to do this will also damage your visibility and market reach.
- Don’t presume you always have to develop separate native apps for iOS, Android and Windows devices – more than two thirds of mobile users say they prefer web apps. These only need to be developed once, don’t need to be manually installed, and offer a functional experience increasingly close to what can be done natively (including using hardware-based phone features like geolocation and the camera). That’s not to say native apps can’t also form a key component of your digital transformation strategy. Where users are happy to install them, they can allow you to take full advantage of native device features to provide customers with a more engaging experience.
- Navigation should be simple, with big, clear buttons and as few steps as possible to complete a transaction.
- Images should be high-resolution to maximize visual impact, but sufficiently compressed to ensure a site loads quickly.
- Bear in mind that mobile users often conduct web searches based on location to discover nearby goods and services, so ensure your whereabouts are mentioned prominently on your site in order that it gets picked up by such searches.
- Ensure you test your site extensively on all common device platforms, mobile browsers and sizes of screen, to iron out any compatibility problems before you go live. Once live, keep testing regularly since updates and changes can often disrupt functionality.
- Work with a cloud provider or web host that can guarantee availability, security, reliability and bandwidth – to ensure your customers aren’t left hanging because of poor performance, or their data exposed due to poor security.
Mobilize Your Internal Apps And Services
- As part of your wider digital transformation strategy to become a more agile organization, you should also be mobilizing your company applications and making them available to employees on smartphones and tablets via the cloud.
- That might mean migrating old legacy systems onto a cloud platform, or it might mean finding or developing suitable APIs so older systems can pass data effectively to cloud-based applications.
- Deploy an effective mobile device management solution to ensure you can track, monitor, authenticate, manage, control and secure all the different devices connecting to your network.
- You should also be using mobile devices to facilitate internal and external communications: giving staff the ability to see when others are online, contact people directly, and switch seamlessly between devices for voice and video chats, virtual meetings, instant messaging and other collaboration tools. A mobile-enabled unified communications strategy such as this can also support an organization’s wider digital transformation strategy by helping to cut through traditional silos and hierarchies, reducing bureaucracy and encouraging a more flexible, open culture.