Everyone’s heard the term “mobile-first organization” before—be it at tradeshows or board meetings. With the meteoric rise of smartphone usage, especially for retail purposes, nearly every brand continues to brainstorm ways to become a true mobile-centric organization.
However, being a company with mobile at the core of its initiatives differs greatly from being one that simply gives customers the opportunity to purchase items via their smartphones. Having a mobile-centric business models equates to innovating and iterating new products with a digital-first mindset, devising strategies to bridge the gap between the physical and digital worlds, setting aside a sizeable budget for mobile marketing and services, and being among the first companies to adopt the latest mobile technologies geared toward shoppers.
A mobile-first mindset: When designing new web sites or product pages, retailers should ensure they don’t fall into the trap of iterating for desktops first, then optimizing for mobile devices. Instead, they should automatically aim to create a responsive site that doesn’t mimic the desktop version, and includes features especially designed for mobile, such as one-handed swiping gestures and larger form fields. Consumers can tell the difference when a retailer has a true mobile-first site—and that will become evident in the brand’s mobile revenue.
Bridging the gap: Having a mobile-centric business model can extend to the physical world, too. Nowadays, smartphones act as omnipresent appendages to in-store shoppers. Retailers can easily capitalize on this by rolling out mobile-integrated experiences in their bricks-and-mortar stores, such as offering loyalty points to customers who try on items or letting shoppers request sales help in the fitting room straight from their device. If consumers realize they can use their favorite brand’s app while shopping at a physical store—and be rewarded for doing so—the entire experience takes on a more memorable feel.
Make room for mobile: Settling on an appropriate budget amount to delegate towards mobile services can be a source of dissent within an organization. Naturally, smaller retailers will have less resources to allocate for mobile. Nevertheless, company employees should ensure they stress the importance of a larger mobile budget, and push that sentiment throughout the upper echelons of executive management. And if a larger mobile budget simply is not possible, retailers must prioritize their dollars in such a way that will most resonate with their audiences.
First adopters: Consumers in younger age demographics, particularly millennials, are often times quick to adopt a new mobile payment service, social media app, or loyalty program. Consequently, retailers must ensure that they keep up with the latest mobile trends, many of which can have a serious impact on sales. This can translate to adopting a new mobile loyalty app that has already courted several brands as participants, and implementing as many digital payment options as possible into a site or app, so that customers will have no shortage of ways to pay. Additionally, if a retailer is the first to implement an up-and-coming piece of technology into their business model, the potential to gain more new fans can only increase.
In order to succeed as a mobile-centric business, attention must be paid to all of the above aspects of retail. The mobile landscape remains ever-changing, and so do consumers’ expectations of their favorite brands.
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