We all know what our individual new year’s resolutions are: more of the good (ie. exercise, family, gaming) and less of the bad (ie. junk food, family, gaming). But what about your business’s new year’s resolution? What’s that one big thing you’ve put off all of 2016 that you know will benefit your bottom line, but just haven’t put the time and effort into implementing? If you’re like many SMBs and enterprises out there playing catch-up, it’s going mobile.
We’ve written previously about what going mobile-first means and why it’s important for your business, but we continually see companies hem and haw with taking the plunge. It’s understandable: inertia is hard to overcome, and we’ve been used to dealing with a desktop PC customer base for a long time. But the speed of technology in business is accelorating and suddenly in 2017, we’re not even talking about “mobile-first” anymore; now the conversation is turning into “mobile-always” or “mobile-only.”
Mobile is dominating ad spend, consumer spend, and time spent.
A new report came out of Global Ad Trends saying that “China has become the world’s largest mobile ad platform,” and that it is the first market in the world where the majority of its ad dollars are spent on mobile. The US isn’t far behind and ad spend is clearly shifting to mobile from traditional platforms.
As for how consumers shop, again it’s mobile. This holiday season, more people made purchases on mobile devices than ever before: 31.3% compared to under 30% the previous year. And mobile made up 54% of eCommerce traffic compared to 51% the year before. And according to SensorTower, in-app revenue was up by 52% year-over-year:
So it’s no surprise that people are spending more time on mobile apps than ever before as well. One report shows that Americans spend 133 minutes a day consuming media on apps. All this is to say that we are spending the majority of our time, both leisure and business, on mobile. To succeed in any business in 2017, your company needs a mobile-first strategy to reach consumers where they are. In other words, business has passed the mobile tipping point: it’s a mobile-first world and it’s the only way forward.
SMBs: Your next customer is international, and on mobile.
Jim Squires is the Director of Market Operations at Instagram, a company that knows a thing or two about mobile business. A recent interview with Squires put the spotlight on SMBs looking for their next win. From the article:
Mobile marketing has opened new doors for small businesses to connect with customers across the world. On Facebook, for instance, more than one billion people are connected to at least one business in a foreign country.”
It’s never been easier for SMBs with limited resources to reach international shoppers. With a good mobile app, SMBs can invest relatively little to enter or expand into foreign markets for the simple reason that apps are basically universal. Laptops are not prevalent in many countries, but smartphones are, and no one really needs to be taught how to tap a button on a screen. And in this way, it’s never been easier to engage with a shopper halfway around the world.
Customers crave real-time engagement with brands — as do small businesses with their customers. SMBs will continue to make strides in 2017 to connect directly with their customers, be it through calls, texts, emails, online chats and even tools such as [Facebook] Messenger.”
Enterprises: Your apps need to be better, faster, stronger.
By now, especially for enterprise-level companies, you should realize that going mobile is table-stakes in 2017 and that investing in a mobile strategy will not only make you money, but cut costs as well. If your customers are international, it’s even more important. A great recent article by Harvard Business Review highlights why reaching a country like India requires this mindset, especially now that India is poised to have “one of the largest pools of 4G users in the world.”
But it’s becoming clear that the current crop of enterprise apps are barely treading water, and not firmly placing so-called “mobile-first” companies ahead of their competition. A recent survey by Adobe showed that while app adoption is increasing and 62% of those surveyed said it’s important to have their enterprise app strategy be ahead of their competitors, 66% of those surveyed believed they were just on-par with or behind their competitors.
This is due to a number of reasons including lack of investment into mobile, lack of expertise, and a general “good enough” attitude when creating an app. But in 2017, sitting still with outdated mobile software won’t cut it. The marketplace is getting savvy, especially the consumer, and unless enterprises continue to innovate and iterate on their mobile apps, they’ll find themselves struggling to keep up.
Resolve to make 2017 your year of going mobile.
Mobile isn’t slowing down; in fact, it’s speeding up. Soon there will be chat-bots and AI and VR and agile SaaS and cloud-based IoT solutions. Now is the time to pivot your business into a mobile-first mindset; to make a firm investment into a mobile strategy that will create more opportunities for your business. It’s not an insurmountable problem; it just needs to be a priority.
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