Mobile Strategy | 9 Essentials to Building an Engaging Branded Mobile Site

Topics: Advertising, App Development, Branding, Business, Creative, Design, Ideas, Innovation, Marketing, Mobile, Sales, Strategy, Technology, Web Design By: Jackie Ta

Imagine that you have a great mobile vision for your product and services; so do your competitors. How can you perform just as well as your competitors and even outperform them in sales and consumer engagements? Do you know what it takes to succeed on execution of your mobile vision? Don’t be one of those laggards that don’t know how to successfully use technology as enablers or how to invest in the right technology. Be part of the winning team. Winners know that it takes a well-defined, carefully planned out mobile strategy with a clear roadmap to successfully execute their vision.  There are some essentials that you should include as part of your mobile strategy. To illustrate, I’d like you to imagine that you are a retailer, and you know the following:

a)      Consumers are using their mobile device to go to your online site.

b)      Demanding, mobile-engaged consumers are using mobile as part of their shopping experience or as an extension of their retail shopping experience.

c)       Consumers are using mobile price comparison at the shelf.

d)      Consumers are concerned with privacy – how you collect or use data.

e)      Mobile has become a fast growing channel for retailers – your competitors who are already selling via mobile commerce site (mCommerce).

f)       Some of your competitors are offering mCommerce in addition to having a mobile compatible site.

g)      Some of your competitors have yet to offer a mCommerce site or have a site that works with a mobile device. They do have an eCommerce site.

h)      Mobile technology is moving very fast, and at times, too fast that you can’t keep up.

i)        You have a learning curve. You know that mobile’s impact or best uses have not been fully understood and your ROI may be hard to determine.

Although this scenario is addressing the retail industry, the essentials discussed herein apply to all industries and specialties. You need to include them as part of your mobile strategy. Essentials to include in your mobile strategy:

1) Know your consumers and prospects. Understand the breadth and clout of options today’s consumer has. Reinvent your brand to use technology enablers the smart way.  Get deeper insights into your consumer’s mobile behavior. For example, using the above scenario, study their behavior so that you can discourage the use of price comparison by offering them another mobile option: your mobile commerce site. You can study behavior by analyzing their use of your commerce website and how they get to your site. Also critical in your analysis is the consumer privacy concerns. Consider security, information that you can collect, and be transparent.

2) Understand your business challenges and address them. Since consumers are using mobile as part of their experience (or an extension of their offline experience), your consumer need is probably the biggest business challenge that you face. Understanding your business challenges requires determining why you want to address a consumer mobile strategy. Depending on your industry, specialty, and offering, ask yourself:

a)      Do we need to be part of our consumer mobile experience?

b)      Our competitors don’t have a mobile commerce site; do we need one to outperform them and gain a competitive advantage?

c)       Our competitors have a mobile commerce site; do we need one to stay in the competition?

d)      How do we respond when we are seeing significant online traffic on our online site progressively coming from mobile devices?

e)      Is our business hurting from mobile price comparison at the retail?

f)       How do we keep up when mobile technology is moving and evolving too quickly?

3) Understand how to differentiate your brand. Do you know how to identify and accommodate different consumer segments (retail, online, mobile) and how to seamlessly create a cross channel experience? Ask yourself:

a)      Do we understand how different consumer segments engage with us and the level of engagement? How do we accommodate all of our consumer segments and at the same time, coordinate with our other channels to create a seamless cross-channel experience for our consumers?

b)      How do we respond to the ever-changing technology landscape?

c)       What do our consumers perceive as valuable and differential?  What are their expectations? What problems do they want to solve? What goals do they want to accomplish? What are mobile use cases to create an engaging mobile experience?

d)      What are our competitors doing to get into the mobile game? How are they doing it? Are they doing it in phases (version releases)? Are they offering downloadable branded apps?

e)      Is the technology advanced enough for us to fully take advantage of? Or, do we have the skill set, the resources, and the budget to incorporate the new technology into our product offerings?

f)       What kind of experience would we like to offer? How does technology fit into it?

g)      Do we want to do what our competitors are doing, and then some? What innovative mobile uses that we can provide to our consumers that no one else is doing yet?

h)      What are our goals? Do we want a deeper consumer engagement to build and retain loyalty through mobile channels and to drive sales through personalized offers?

4) Know your competitors. Inside and outside of your industry, evaluate both winners and laggards. Ascertain their mobile strategy. How are they addressing the above business challenges and differentiators? Do they see an opportunity that their competitors have yet figured out? Figure out what their mobile strategy is so that you see the same opportunity that they see as well as create a differentiating mobile experience. It’s easy to see their mobile strategy because of the transparency. Simply go to their mobile commerce site and see how easy it is to see and copy their features. Study them. How are the consumers using the mobile channel? Take your knowledge and findings to disrupt other competitors by providing a mobile experience that encourages your consumers to go to your mobile commerce site instead of the competition.

5) Know your brand and your position. Obviously, unlike larger retailers, smaller retailers don’t have the money to experiment with the pace of technology change. Consider how much you can invest, what you can invest in, and the risks associated with not fully investing in newer or emerging technologies. Since consumers have adapted to mobile use so rapidly and your competitors are most likely having a mobile commerce site, you will need to, at a minimum, invest in a mobile strategy to have a mobile presence. Based on your challenges and differentiating goals, what can you do to best position yourself to meet your consumer’s needs? Always focus on remaining relevance in your space regardless of your challenges.

6) Determine features to offer on your mobile site. Critical to your mobile site design are the features that you will provide as part of the mobile experience. Consider all the features that you want to have and group them into three categories: very important, somewhat important, and not important. The reason being is that it’s a great challenge to try to have every single feature available for your first product launch or even subsequent launches. You want to be able to distinguish between must haves and nice-to-haves. You did your due diligence by having a mobile strategy that addresses all of the above suggestions. Now, you’re faced with what features you want to include in your mobile commerce site so that your customers can take their shopping experience on a mobile device.  Which of the following features are important to you? Think in terms of which features present the greatest opportunity and which ones your consumer most value. You may want to focus on the basic essentials first (what’s the minimum needed for today’s consumer to make a purchase decision?) and then include the more advanced or complicated features (e.g. those features that require a lot of integration with other systems such as POS systems for check order status and redemption) in future mCommerce release.

a)      Searching capability (e.g. search for merchandise)

b)      Store locator, GPS-enabled or not

c)       Receive coupons, special offers, or promotions

d)      Redeem coupons, special offers, or promotions

e)      Payment options

f)       Buy merchandise

g)      Access product ratings

h)      Check order status

i)        Customer service

j)        Click to call (for help, info, etc.)

k)      Online, interactive chat

l)        Purchase gift cards

m)    Register/redeem gift cards

n)      View weekly ads

  • o)      Favorites

p)      Wish lists

q)      Price comparison

r)       Check loyalty status

s)       User barcodes to check price or product availability

t)       Buy online/pick-up in store

7) Determine to app or not to app. Nowadays, it’s all about mobile apps. Consider your consumer’s lifestyle and how your brand fits into that lifestyle, and which option is the best for your brand and your customers. Ask yourself:

a)      Will a downloadable app yield more engagement or just as much as a mobile site?

b)      Will a simple cut and paste version of our full eCommerce site a viable mobile strategy?

8) Determine mobile platforms important to supoprt. Which mobile platforms are important to your mobile strategy – iPhone, Android, RIM (Blackberry), Tablets, Windows 8, Feature Phones? No mobile platform should be left behind. Consider scalability, allowing your mobile offerings to be built across multiple mobile platforms and devices .For more information, click here to check out a related article.

9) Invest in a mobile app agency. An experienced mobile app agency will help you come up with a winning mobile strategy. They will be able to help you answer the above questions and build a strategy that has you and your consumers in mind. They know how to keep up with the mobile consumer. They will also help you figure out how best to use mobile as part of the consumer’s mobile experience and align that with your business plans.

Consider the above essentials as part of your brand’s mobile backbone. When answering these questions, think in terms of which option will hold value for your brand offering, will yield more or better engagement, and will provide a more viable mobile experience. Keep in mind that an eCommerce site can extend to mobile, a downloadable branded app can be an extension of your product and service offerings, and an app agency with mobile experience can help you define and execute a great mobile strategy.

At Broadwave Agency, we provide a creative, interactive, and comprehensive full service marketing strategy. We help our clients strategize across platforms and we’re not afraid to get in the mobile game. We understand consumer needs and use consumers to help shape your mobile strategy to make sure what we’ve done works. For more information, refer to our complete list of services, or specifically to our Mobile & Apps highlights. We also a click away.

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