Since its introduction, mobile technology has had a profound impact on how people live their daily lives. The rising importance of mobile devices has helped the ways businesses use technology to engage with consumers to evolve.
The swift integration of mobile technology has forced businesses to seek new and improved ways to leverage this technology. Indeed, recent developments in mobile technology and its extensive use has caused it to overtake fixed internet access, which has driven emerging trends in retail and service-based industries.
The standardization of mobile technology has “reinvented the wheel,” so to speak. Below are five ways mobile technology has changed the way consumers behave.
1. The introduction of new communication channels
Consumer behavior has been affected by mobile devices. How people shop and discover brands has changed with the introduction of new communication channels — in particular, social media.
Over one-third of the world’s population now accesses at least one social media channel regularly. In the last decade, social networks have become undeniably influential. They have transformed how brands engage and communicate with consumers.
This has led to elevated expectations on the consumer front. Social media has transformed from mere sharing and communication platforms, and morphed into places of discovery, linking moments for consumers to discover brands and lead to a path of purchase.
Brands are now expected to capitalize on relevant social networks to engage consumers. Consumers expect brands to use social media, modernizing the consumer experience to complement its e-commerce journey.
2. The rise of “always on” service
An emerging trend in the digital landscape is the expectation of brands always being “on.” With consumers actively connected to their mobile devices, there is a certain degree of expectation that businesses follow suit.
Consumers now expect brands to produce 24/7 customer service, or at the very least, self-service opportunities (FAQ pages, call center IVR, self-checkouts, etc.). This provides opportunities for consumers to solve their own problems.
3. The demand for an omnichannel experience
Today, many shoppers are afforded choice when it comes to the online retail experience. Consumers can use multiple mobile and online devices and apps (smartphones, tablets, laptops, social media, etc.) to engage with a brand. They expect a degree of consistency across every channel.
Brands must now become accustomed to viewing consumer engagement as one big conversation, whereas before, consumer engagement consisted of fragmented services. Consumers device-hop and move between channels, depending on what they’re doing or whether they require roaming service.
It does not matter if consumers engage with your brand through social media, or they discover your e-commerce site on a desktop. Brands must provide omnichannel access that creates a cohesive customer experience across all touchpoints.
4. Delivering a more personalized experience
Data analytics and mobile technology mean consumers expect personalized services everywhere. This requires brands to provide a personalized experience across all touchpoints, whether it’s through email marketing or social engagement or any channel in between.
Consumers today are now afforded a high level of convenience. Customers can now shop anytime and anywhere. Retailers must understand this emerging trend and provide personalized experiences that make consumers feel appreciated.
Through data-driven analytics, brands can offer consumers personalization across every channel. Using user behavior and preferences, brands can engage at the right time and right channel.
For some brands, this can mean offering consumers the option to order remotely. For others, this means establishing an emotional connection by leveraging specific marketing channels. Brands with brick-and-mortar stores can adopt new in-store technologies. Digital signage and tablets can strategically encourage nearby consumers to shop targeted items.
5. The expectation of mobile-friendly design
The proliferation of mobile technology means people are constantly feeling a peculiar pull towards their smartphones. A study found that our obsession to touch phones means the average user taps, clicks or swipes on their phone 2,617 times a day.
For companies, this represents 2,617 times consumers could socialize with their brand. But if your website or e-commerce platform is not designed to be mobile-friendly, these little moments of interaction are lost to frustration or the competition.
By migrating your online retail experience to be more mobile-friendly, you provide a consistent user experience that draws more consumers to your online channels. An optimized website that’s designed to be mobile-friendly offers users a level of convenience.
And with new tech devices (smart watches, for example) expanding the reach of mobile technology, providing a mobile-friendly site is more crucial than ever. These new mobile devices are here to stay and will play an important role in how consumers engage with your brand.
The expectations for more
Mobile technology has forever transformed the consumer landscape. Consumers these days enjoy infinite access to brands. A few clicks and taps, and customers can engage with a business right in the palm of their hand.
With consumers now expecting immediacy, brands will do well to adopt mobile-first strategies to improve the consumer experience. In today’s mobile-dependent world, brands that strive to remove barriers and exceed these new expectations can affect how mobile technology increases their market share and revenue.
Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.