By Steve Roatch, CEO of Twentyseven Global
2014 is bringing several new mobile app development trends for B2C. Businesses are beginning to better understand the manner in which customers use mobile devices and mobile apps. Whether scanning a QR code, snapping a photo of a wine label or searching for a product or service on Google, customers expect to navigate quickly to information that will help them make a purchase decision. Eloqua found that 70 percent of mobile searches lead to action within one hour. At the same time, 44 percent of shoppers will never return to a site that is not mobile-friendly.
Photo: kromkrathag / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
These usage patterns are leading business to focus on Web experiences tailored to mobile in addition to a previous concentration on native apps. Why? Consumers use apps for other things. Mashable’s list of the top 10 most frequently used mobile apps all fall into the categories of maps, social media, games and messaging. This is not the stuff of customer engagement. Customer engagement includes educating a customer with product information, responding to queries and complaints, enabling a purchase, providing support after a purchase and promoting upsell and cross-sell opportunities. In 2014, businesses will race to make these customer engagement experiences, which are typically available on the Web, also accessible via mobile devices.
The net result is that businesses are no longer contemplating mobile strategy or which app to create. Rather, businesses are considering mobile an important facet of their customer engagement strategy.
This means that everything a business does to engage their customers by phone, the Web or in person must be accessible by mobile. From a technology point of view, this boils down to responsive design. A business’ online experience must be tailored to a mobile device if a customer is using a mobile device to access that information.
Does this mean B2C apps are dead? Not at all. Consumer apps are still very useful in situations where the intention is focused but the information sought is broad. For example, the focus may be on a product category (such as wine), a purchasing behavior (such as coupons, or deals) or a destination, such as a shopping village or a church. These intentions can support an app that enables access to broad information, such as the shops and deals available in the village or the ministries, services and prayer groups available within the church. Another example would be an app focused on wine, accessing information such as which wines one’s friends are drinking, how friends rate those wines and where to purchase unique vintages.