Smartphones and tablets have disrupted every industry, and we are moving towards a society where the vast majority of our tasks are completed on our devices. I have spoken with some entrepreneurs of the grey haired set that think they have a website and that they have the bases covered. Those who confuse a web strategy with a mobile strategy could be leaving money on the table.
Only 7% of teenagers check email every day. The technology that is the basis for communication in commerce is completely irrelevant to them. In the case of technology, there are entirely different populations: those who grew up with technology (under 40) and those who have adapted to it.
There is a revolution taking place where smartphone transactions are not only driving B2C, but will soon be crucial in B2B as well. Business to business users are utilizing their smart phones differently, accessing portals, ordering systems, etc. at home while watching TV, on airplanes and even in their automobiles. Smartphone purchases aren’t just for kids anymore.
The experience of a user on a smart phone or tablet is completely different than that of a website, and thus your web strategy must be built with mobile in mind. As the screen of a smartphone has a much smaller footprint than a PC, the information displayed should only be that which is most relevant.
In London, patrons use an app called Nearest Tube that allows one to find the closest subway station. The view of the user changes based on the angle in which the user is holding the phone . When pointed straight ahead, arrows guide the user (as in left or right) but when the phone is held downward, the user sees 4 arrows. When held up at a tower in the distance, the app indicates how many kilometers away it is. The use of apps in this way is an indication the traditional viewpoint of web applications does not apply directly to mobile technologies. That is web technology and viewability does not translate directly to mobile.
According to a study conducted by Comstore, one third of all searches today are on smart devices, and searches on devices are growing at 6-7 times the rate of PC’s. In other words, we are a year or two away from most internet activities being conducted on smartphones rather than on PC’s.
The proliferation of native applications reflects the poor user experience on websites. While not all businesses (especially B2B businesses) warrant the development of an app, they can take steps to integrate mobile into their marketing plans and optimize their websites to be device friendly.