Recently I had a 90-minute layover in Chicago and was looking for a way to kill some time. After a five-hour overnight flight, I just couldn’t get any more shut-eye, so I turned to my smartphone and combed through retail sites. At first I was just browsing, but then I remembered I needed to replace my old coffee machine, so I started comparing coffee machines at my preferred online store’s mobile app. Then, I read product reviews from other consumers. I still couldn’t make up my mind.
So, I decided to search for “top coffee machines of 2016” to see what professionals and coffee enthusiasts are recommending and what specs to consider. With this information, I narrowed my decision to four coffee machines, and my preferred online store had three of them. I then switched to a laptop to closely compare the three products. When I was called to board my flight, I shut my laptop and switched back to the online store’s mobile app on my phone to watch some product videos.
In under two hours, I switched back and forth between different channels and devices to browse, research and compare products. Your customers’ habits are likely similar as they becoming increasingly mobile and their shopping behaviors become less streamlined and predictable. An eMarketer article states that 79 percent of consumers in North America use a mobile device to complete their daily activities. But does ubiquitous mobile usage by hundreds of millions of people around the world necessarily translate into profit?
Mobile: A Key Customer Action Influencer
The Marketing Science Institute (MSI) shows that mobile traffic is on the rise but doesn’t contribute to high online conversions. As a result, many marketers are uncertain about where and how much to invest in mobile channels.
Although mobile conversions are low, MSI states that the mobile channel influences customers’ next actions. Customers increasingly switch and rely on multiple devices at various stages of their shopping journeys, and MSI found consumers double their purchases when they switch from a mobile device to a fixed device (laptop/desktop).
As consumers go mobile, businesses can no longer only use traditional marketing strategies to engage with them. Mobile takes on a bigger role in the customer journey. And it’s not just another channel, among many, where customers can engage with businesses and organizations. It’s become more than that. Mobile is a way of life where consumers have grown reliant on their mobile devices in most of the activities they perform each day.
Using Mobile to Accelerate Customer Journeys
Because mobile is such a central part of consumers’ lives, it can be a catalyst or a hindrance to progressing their journeys with your brand. When mobile tactics such as push notifications and SMS are implemented correctly, marketers can define and create stronger customer journeys tied together through the mobile channel. Marketers must leverage mobile’s power of influence to help nudge customers through the customer journey to conversion and provide a better experience, using tactics such as alternative payment options, “email my cart” and a mobile-first return process.
In addition to empowering their decisions in each journey stage, the experience customers have on your mobile channel can have a substantial spillover effect on their attitude and mindset when they visit your other channels, including social, Web, call center and physical stores. To ratchet up the impact further, use customers’ mobile behaviors to drive relevant content and conversations in these other channels.
So yes, conversions on smartphones may still lag behind, but don’t let that discourage your mobile efforts. Regardless of whether customers make a purchase on mobile, its influence is powerful and has ramifications throughout the journey.
On Sept. 13, Julie Ask, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research, will join me for a webinar called “Top Ways to Influence and Optimize the Customer Journey through Mobile Touchpoints.” Sign up for the webinar and tune in to learn more about how to gain benefits from mobile.