For years, mobile has been increasing its level of entrenchment in of our everyday lives. Today, both communication and commerce are being facilitated by, and on, mobile devices. Most traffic to ecommerce sites, and a rapidly growing amount of revenue, is coming from mobile – making mastery of mobile the aim for any forward-thinking retailer.
Unfortunately, a dichotomy still exists between traditional retail enterprises and Silicon Valley companies, like Uber and Airbnb, whose success is due to the fact that they were built for mobile from the get-go. These young companies were able to anticipate the advantage of having a mobile-first outlook in the programming and planning of not only their product, but their organizations, too.
Typical enterprises are not set up for the fast-paced and agile world of mobile-first retail: Macy’s is closing down stores and Walmart and Nordstrom are letting go of their computer engineers. Companies are at a loss for how to navigate the evolving world of mobile and technology-driven commerce, especially when it comes to organizing themselves and their resources.
The good news is that there’s a solution. The hard-to-hear news is that it requires a complete change in how companies approach mobile. Retailers today need to completely rethink their long-term journey to mobile success.
Here are 3 straightforward steps to get to a place of mobile commerce success:
- The first step is to adopt a 3- to 5-year outlook and strategy for both innovation and customer experience; these two things are intricately linked. Not that long ago, your mobile experience was dictated by the quality of your mobile website and/or app. Now, you have a stream of continuous mobile innovation including voice control, web apps, bots and chat commerce that brands are expected to keep up with. Knee-jerk, emotional reactions to technology deficits won’t do. You need to plan ahead so you can support your customers on each of these streams. Maintaining a focused roadmap will expand your brand’s presence on relevant mobile touchpoints.
- The second step is to prioritize your resources ruthlessly. You can’t afford all the engineers, development experts, and project managers it will take to build out each technology stream in- house. Focus on the most promising touchpoints for your brand with a lean team on hand. Engineers are hard to come by and you want to complete your roadmap before ramping up your resources. This approach will allow you quick wins in the present, and over time you will expand your brand’s ability to impress your customers and improve their experience.
- Finally, embrace a partner mentality. In the mobile ecosystem, innovation is being pushed by companies like Google and Apple, who want to partner with the retail community to help offer the best mobile experiences to the shopper. Being open to partnerships and working with external platform providers will maximize the speed at which you can meet your customers where they are, allowing you to engage them – which generally generates more sales.
Admittedly, it’s a much larger feat to change your entire approach to customer engagement than to build an app or hire a technical team to solve the problem. To change your organization’s culture to one that puts mobile at its core will take time and effort – it may even ruffle a few feathers. But a change in strategy requires a change in one’s approach. Ultimately, the only way to compete with companies like Amazon is as a mobile-first company in a mobile world.