The landscape of the digital marketplace is fast growing and evolving while the reach of traditional retail remains stagnant. It is evident more than ever that if you want to stay ahead of the competition – or stay in the competition at all, for that matter – you need to be able to predict and adapt with the trends and new channels that are shaping this fledgling form of commerce. Your digital strategy will need to adjust to major market forces that will reshape how your company sells, delivers and services its customer base.
In this article, we will have a look at the rise of mobile as one of the megatrends in digital commerce. We will examine the opportunities attributed to mobile technology as a fast-expanding channel of doing business with your customers, and different options you have to achieve mobile integration for your company.
The rise of mobile
When put together, the Internet, mobile devices, data analytics, and cloud computing are transforming how companies operate and compete. In particular, the “rise of mobile” is one of the major market disruptors, forcing companies to find ways to translate their online experience to mobile mediums.
Those who believe traditional enterprise commerce will remain their primary digital channel will soon realize that they’ve erred. The hard reality is, mobile commerce is fast supplementing – and in many cases replacing – the traditional approach altogether.
According to , in 2014, over 125 million people in the U.S. carried out their research through mobile devices. As for commerce, mobile accounted for 19% of total online sales. That figure is fast changing, and by 2018, mobile will have the lion’s share of online commerce at a whopping 54%. That’s a 184% increase.
As the numbers speak for themselves, the future and fate of online retailers and businesses will be decided by their ability to adapt to this fast evolving trend.
What does this mean for you?
In a nutshell, the mobile revolution means that capabilities that were once offered online now need to be duplicated for mobile devices or altered in a way that conforms to the mobile experience. You have to ask yourself the following questions to figure out if you’re moving at the pace the mobile market is changing:
- Is your business model scalable to meet the mobile trend?
- Do you have the engineering and skills needed to operate both channels together and handle their different risks?
The truth is, transitioning to the mobile platform is not something that happens overnight, and needs to be planned meticulously and carefully; otherwise it becomes a self-destructive goal.
What practical steps do you need to take?
Porting your capabilities toward mobile can be done in a smooth way, allowing you to adapt with the IT, HR and customer service needs as you expand and delve into this new medium. Here are a few options that can help you achieve this goal.
Convert to responsive design
I you already have a website, make sure the design is responsive. Basically, this means that the layout and size of the elements in your site must be able to adapt with mobile displays. Responsive websites get much more traffic since they offer a seamless experience across desktop workstations and mobile
To check whether your site is responsive or not, you only need to point your smartphones browser to its URL and check the result. If the elements displayed on the page are too small and the text is too tiny (or put in another way, the site is unusable), then you’re faced with an unresponsive site. But if the layout changes to offer an experience that conforms to mobile display size and standards, then the site is responsive.
Hopefully, if your site has been developed by experts, or if you’re using a well-established CMS, changing the design to become responsive can be done with little effort.
Responsive design is the shortest and most cost-effective path to mobile realization, but it isn’t necessarily the most efficient one.
Develop a web app to complement your site
Web apps are the next step in mobile integration. A web app is a version of your website tailored for mobile device experience. The twitter mobile web app is a good example. Web apps usually eliminate the clutter and excessive details that are more suited to desktop and laptop computers. Entry forms are culled to contain fields that are absolutely necessary, page flows are reduced and steps are integrated. The overall goal is to increase speed and allow users to achieve their goals in less steps.
Adding a web app to a website that already has a solid base is easy enough and your main website can be configured to be redirected to the web app when accessed by a mobile device.
Web apps will offer a far richer experience than responsive designs, but still lack the ability to leverage the full power of mobile computing.
Invest in a mobile app
Mobile apps are the culmination of mobile commerce technology. They are standalone applications that are installed on user devices, offering the user a richer experience which allows for the leverage of device capabilities and OS technologies. Mobile apps have several advantages over web apps and responsive sites, including the following:
- Ability to store offline data to offer unbroken experience when the user is experiencing spotty internet connection
- Ability to target users with push notifications and in-app messages in order to improve user engagement and conversion
- Ability to be integrated with mobile analytics tools, which can give you invaluable insight about user interaction and performance efficiency
Mobile apps are by far the most effective solution for mobile integration, and although they cost a little more than the two other options, they make up a more strategic investment. To obtain a mobile app for your business, you need to hire the expertise of app developers, and subsequently launch your app in one or several app stores.
Who can help you go mobile?
How do you decide which option suits you best? There are many IT companies with mobile app development services who can help you lay out your roadmap to mobile success. Comelite has extensive experience in this regard and can help you by examining your current digital commerce solution and counsel you on which parts of your system need improvement and what steps you need to take in order to achieve full mobile integration. With the speed, agility and expertise offered by Comelite, you are guaranteed to get the biggest bang for the buck.
If you already have a well-settled eCommerce solution, but are lacking in the mCommerce sector, now’s the time to act. The age of mobile dominance is fast approaching. Are you ready?