Gauging your mobile maturity requires objectively benchmarking your business against best-in-class organizations before process and resource gaps can be addressed by management. Forrester Research’s Mobile Mind Shift Maturity Framework is an essential tool for assessing your organization’s mobile mindset and pursuing a strategy consistent with business objectives.
Shrink and Squeeze
About 90% of retailers today take what Forrester deems a “shrink and squeeze” approach for mobile. These retailers employ responsive web design approaches that optimize viewing, interaction, and navigation while minimizing the need for resizing, panning, and scrolling across devices.
For many it’s the knee-jerk solution, but reflowing desktop content into a mobile experience can negatively impact the user experience and the business. For example, managing multiple codebases for multiple devices can mean there is no mechanism to reorder or hide page elements that are inappropriate for mobile, or that critical call-to-action elements such as Buy or Save buttons on mobile often end up at the bottom of a long scrolling page instead of being close to imagery. Progressive web design strives to address conversion issues associated with responsive design by employing distinct layouts for multiple screen sizes, and allowing the addition of new content and features specific to a mobile shopper’s needs.
More sophisticated retailers have adopted a “mobile-first” philosophy that experiments with the native functionality of the phone to augment existing ecommerce experiences. Whether developing an app that delivers the same functionality as the ecommerce website, or dabbling with push notifications, location marketing, barcode scanning, or endless aisle functionality, mobile-first is characterized by the use of mobile to enhance in-store experiences or dramatically improve shopper convenience. Frequently, this stage involves multiple technology solutions that require resource-heavy and lengthy integrations. Since these technologies don’t necessarily “talk to each other,” data is siloed and businesses are hamstrung until a solution is cobbled together to enable two-way communication and sharing of insights.
When a business decides to evaluate its mobile-first (but siloed) activities and act on the customer experience opportunities identified, it has progressed to the “customer experience transformation” stage.
For example, a mobile-first retailer might allow customers to use their mobile cameras to scan barcodes of out-of-stock items, in order to access inventory online or at a nearby warehouse. A customer experience transformation retailer leverages this new data layer to improve upon the initial mobile-first effort. By analyzing mobile barcode scans, the business can monitor, pinpoint, and prevent potential inventory issues. Perhaps shoppers who have scanned out-of-stock items are not fulfilling purchases online, but instead driving to purchase them at the closest competitor. A customer-first retailer uses data gleaned from mobile-first activity to transform the business (in this case, by improving inventory planning and allocations management) and customer experience.
A customer-first strategy focused on customer experience transformation is where leading retailers are driving their business. A mobile customer engagement platform that unifies various mobile-first technologies – and can access and ingest all the data within – has the ability to invent new business verticals and paths for customer acquisition. It has the virtue of being able to coexist with and leverage existing technology solutions – critical for the 90% of retailers that already belong in shrink and squeeze or mobile-first stages.
Read Forrester’s Mobile Mind Shift Maturity Framework to better understand the different stages of mobile maturity and where your organization fits.