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Mobile Growth, Product, and Customer Experience (CX)

It’s no secret that we’ve entered the age of mobile (an era that we predict will have a long reign). Despite this common knowledge, though, many companies have been slow to adopt strategies and cultures that are mobile-centric. Why? Because mobile is entirely it’s own channel, and users interact with it in a completely different way than they previously ever interacted with other brand channels. This means that building profitable apps requires the difficult task of shifting your entire company focus to be mobile-centric. The first step is to figure out how your users navigate through their phone.

In a recent study, Flurry Analytics found that not only has mobile usage grown by 58% in 2015, but the time spent on mobile has now surpassed that of time spent on television. There were four categories of apps that demonstrated massive usage growth within the past year: Personalization (emoji keyboards, lock screens, etc); News and Magazine; Productivity (Google docs, Slack, etc); and Lifestyle and Shopping.

Of these four, three are not new categories, but ones that people were accustomed to consuming through other mediums. We used to read our news via a physical newspaper; we used to use productivity products on our laptops; we used to go shopping in brick and mortar stores. But the personalization category is slightly more unique: it is a category that didn’t exist until this particular mobile device medium.

This tells us two crucial things:

  1. Mobile users are interested in engaging with brands/products that serve a unique, native mobile experience.
  2. Users expect to subscribe to all their preferred brands, however, the conversation is transitioning out of the desktop era and into the more intimate mobile context.

Let’s put these two tenets to the test with retail.

phone with ecommerce icons who use the app and shop in-store more than 7 times per month. Mobile apps should aim to enhance the shopping experience and minimize customer friction to purchase. This demonstrates how important it is for the retail industry to heavily invest in a quality app; otherwise, these businesses are missing high-value opportunities to engage their customers and drive loyalty. The better the shopping experience, the more satisfied customers will be engaging in their preferred context, and if the brand continues to deliver a seamless shopping experience the customer develops a sense of loyalty.

Amazon App & Mobile-Specific Product Functionality:

The Amazon app has a handy little widget that allows users to scan and compare products from anywhere via the phone camera. This feature essentially removes the extra step of manual product comparison work that consumers are used to doing on the web. By leveraging mobile’s unique characteristics, Amazon is able to personalize the shopping experience and ultimately reduces friction to purchase.

Once you start to shift your company values to champion a more mobile-centric mindset, remember the goal should be to optimize your existing products in new, mobile-specific ways. The mobile device offers many such opportunities: the camera, location services, instant communication (video, in-app messaging, and phone), and personalization capabilities (like fingerprint unlock). Whether it’s the Urban Outfitters app, which allows users to scan the app in-store for additional discounts, or the Alaska Airlines app, which allows users to circumvent kiosks and lengthy web navigation by checking in and having an electronic boarding pass, it’s crucial that you find some way to augment your app.

As noted in the previous Flurry study, users are not only spending more time on their phones; they’re specifically spending more time on products that both accomplish tasks they used to complete elsewhere, and offer enhancements to the mobile experience. And apps that are doing both of these things are the ones that are going to win.

Published February 23, 2016
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