What is mobile-first?
As the name suggests, mobile first is about recognizing that, for many consumers, their main personal computer is now their phone. Organizations adopting a mobile-first approach are designing and optimizing their online experience for mobile customers before considering desktop and other devices.
Offline, mobile-first strategies include features like smartphone apps and iBeacon technology that enables users to access additional information via their smartphone, enhancing the bricks and mortar experience.
The recently published Forrester Report suggests that, by next year, mobile phone users will total almost 5 billion, and one-third of all US sales will have a mobile element. Not surprisingly, retailers are clamoring to leverage this market.
IBM recently announced a partnership with Apple that will enable cloud-based app development with Apple’s ever popular Swift platform. This association will mean businesses can develop responsive mobile apps quickly and efficiently, a move that highlights how both retailers expect the demands of enterprise clients to change over the next year.
Of course, mobile-first is nothing new to Apple. It is the pioneer of smartphones and tablets. The company has been using iBeacon technology in its stores since 2013, allowing users to access additional information and place orders via mobile devices linked to the store’s iBeacon network.
Other industries have been quick to follow suit. Virgin Atlantic, for example, uses iBeacon technology to allow customers to access boarding passes electronically, navigate the airport terminal, and check live status updates on their flight. An online-based service for staff means flight crew now receive flight plans, work rotations and manifestos on their mobile devices.
Advantages of a mobile-first strategy
Interacting directly with customers’ mobile devices, iBeacons and smartphone apps encourage an exchange between consumers and retailers and can be used to tailor the shopping experience to the needs of the individual. These are features which can have a positive effect on conversion rates and brand loyalty, and are one of the reasons why Accenture cite business growth as a major advantage of a mobile-first strategy.
Case studies of companies like savings.com, an online coupon issuer, demonstrate the opportunity for growth inherent in a mobile-first strategy. Implementing a mobile-first approach saw Savings.com increase revenue from mobile devices by an incredible 1000%, and translated to a 300% increase in mobile traffic.
While mobile-first strategies offer tremendous benefits to businesses in all sectors, experts have been careful to highlight the importance of combining this innovative approach with next-generation sales analytics. Enterprises keen to capitalize on 2016’s hottest new strategy must ensure they have the tools in place to adequately measure their progress, or they’ll fail to fully utilize the benefits mobile-first can offer.