A Call to Marketers: The Time to Mobilize was Yesterday!

Guest post by Bill Loller, Vice President, IBM Smarter Commerce

Everyone is talking about a mobile revolution and with good reason. At the start of 2013 there were 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions globally and in a few years we won’t even be discussing mobile platforms – they will be the norm. In a new IBM-sponsored Econsultancy survey of more than 500 business professionals from around the world, we found that 19 percent of respondents’ total online traffic is attributed to a mobile device – up from 17 percent last year. And while mobile is certainly growing by leaps and bounds, two-thirds of those same professionals admit their organizations are struggling to understand the mobile user experience.

It appears most Chief marketing officers (CMOs) and ecommerce leaders still lack a perfect plan to address the mobile experience – in fact, for many companies their answer to creating a mobile presence is simply adapting an existing website as opposed to building a mobile experience from the ground up. Yet, mobile traffic continues to soar, as three-quarters of those surveyed plan to ramp up their mobile investment this year.

So what can you do to improve your mobile experience? Let’s dive into some best practices for the mobile customer experience:

  1. Experience Matters: Identify the pain points – A recent IBM study of marketing professionals found brands experience about $83 billion in lost sales in the U.S. each year due to poor or inconsistent customer experiences.  With 70 percent of survey respondents describing their mobile experience as “okay” or “poor,” there is a true need to focus on the pitfalls of such an inconsistent mobile experience. Issues such as bad navigation, poor “findability,” screen-sizing issues or form-filling problems continue to plague businesses. Determine the pain points of your own site and work to improve them.
  2. Pick your mobile avenue – 40 percent of companies agree that delivering positive customer experiences on mobile is harder than on the web. This can be attributed to the fact that mobile computing is still in its infant stages, but also to the fact that as a brand you need to identify your mobile avenue. Should you invest in developing a mobile application or should you modify your existing website to work well on mobile devices? When choosing between the two, make sure your choice enables the content for your target audience to be optimized appropriately for what your customers need.
  3. Invest in a dedicated mobile team – Only 14 percent of companies surveyed have a dedicated mobile team. This needs to change. Unorganized internal processes only exacerbate problems organizations see when focusing on mobile. Businesses do not have time to do work over and over again due to fragmented communication. Marketers cannot afford to lose customers due to mobile complications. With 89 percent of customers turning to competitors to do business following a poor customer experience, it’s critical to the bottom line to have an integrated team dedicated to ensuring your mobile experience runs smoothly and is meeting customer expectation.

With click-to-site rates three to five times higher on mobile devices than on a PC, SAY Media, Mobile Consumer Behavior: Embracing the Blended Life, 2012, brands can no longer ignore the “mobile issues.” In order to be successful, CMOs need to avoid haphazard solutions and instead, take a mobile first approach to the customer experience. By understanding the pain points associated with developing a mobile strategy and focusing efforts on the mobile user experience, marketers can leverage the power of this growing technology to successfully reach their customers.


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