One of the most important legacies of 2015 has been the conscience that mobile devices have completely disrupted the way we live, communicate and make purchases. In a business perspective, that means the evolution of what we call customer experience.
Big players have instantly acknowledged this epochal shift. Google, for its own nature, has been first in line, with the latest update of the search engine algorithm (nicknamed Mobilegeddon) and the steadfast belief in the emergence of Micro Moments.
How can you be relevant in a world where customers dictate the agenda? How can you build a memorable mobile strategy to engage customers when and where it matters most? How can you overcome the challenge of the digital transformation to be sure you offer the best customer experience?
The smartphone is acting as the main catalyst for the second Internet revolution: the first one cabled our houses and offices, the second one is connecting our entire existence by simply bringing the web in the palm of our hand.
Wherever we go and whatever we do, we are connected to the world - and therefore always traceable and trackable - thanks to devices (and mobile apps) that communicate among them, even when we do not see them at work or use them at all.
We do not look at this pervasiveness like a menace to our life. Why? Because “that little device is enabling new ways of doing and learning things. It’s helping us discover new ideas and new businesses. It’s helping us manage our to-dos, tackle our problems, and inspire our plans.” (Google)
If we had to choose three significant consequences of this second revolution, they would be the need for a new ‘mobile web’ strategy, the redefinition of the digital customer journey, and the emergence of the digital commerce.
- Mobile Web Strategy - We check the phone on average 150 times a day. In 2015 the number of mobile searches has finally overpassed desktop ones, making the smartphone the primary door to access the Internet. The web goes mobile, customers go mobile, and your strategy must go mobile too. If you want to engage customers with tailored contents (personal and contextual), you should consider ‘mobile’ as your favorite channel, not just one channel among the others.
- Digital Customer Journey - 68 percent of customers say they check their phone within 15 minutes of waking up in the morning. 82 percent turn to their smartphone while they are in a store, to get info, suggestions and decide what to buy. The secret of the Micro Moments is: what used to be predictable sessions have been replaced by many fragmented interactions that occur instantaneously offline and online. This forces the redefinition of the customer journey.
- Digital Commerce - 51 percent of customers have discovered a new company or product when conducting a search on their smartphone. The multiplication of touch points leads to the emergence of digital commerce, a combination that involves both physical and virtual elements, which might end up online or in store, combining e-commerce and retail store. The interaction results in a transaction of value where the customer experience becomes the real differentiator.
The idea is that the customer journey - thus the overall digital customer experience - today looks a lot different than it did only a few years ago. The increase in mobile sessions (and in the time spent using mobile devices) states that the smartphone is the prime suspect in this evolution:
“Since we can take action on any need or curiosity at any time, the consumer decision journey has been fractured into hundreds of tiny decision-making moments at every stage of the funnel - from inspiring vacation plans to buying a new blender to learning how to install that new shelf.” (Google)
To succeed in this hyper-competitive mobile environment, you must learn to recognize the moments of truth, namely the Micro Moments that really matters (for your customers), those where critical purchase decisions are taken.
Your brand must be here, there and everywhere. Certainly, you have to be reachable whenever - and wherever - customers needs show up, to deliver contents and experiences that answer to those demands in real-time.
Micro Moments have become the new battleground for brands. Anything can happen anytime, anywhere. It may seem a maze, but where others see threats, digital leaders see the opportunities.
Google first highlighted the importance of these moments, and has developed a guide to help companies build experiences that are immediate, relevant and frictionless. ‘Micro Moments - Your Guide to Winning the Shift to Mobile’ is the main reference to understand how you can build a mobile strategy for the age of Micro Moments.
This is level zero in mobile marketing. If you do not have a strong presence across the various touch points of the customer journey, customers will never find you when they need you (and they are ready to take decisions). Google states that 65 percent of smartphone users when conducting a search on their smartphones, look for the most relevant information regardless of the company providing it. Being there in the critical micro moments (the ‘I-Want-To’ moments) is imperative to shape decisions and preferences.
Mobile is the perfect bridge to connect the offline life of customers with the online ecosystem. The ideal customer experience is not only memorable and distinctive, but it is also - and above all - useful. 51 percent of smartphone users have bought from a brand other than their intended one because the information provided was useful. To understand what contents you should deliver, you need to wear your customers’ hat and see the world (and your brand) the same way they do it. Mobile marketing is the field of action for personalization.
Your ability to be there and to deliver useful contents are just two sides of the perfect triangle of mobile engagement. The third one, maybe the most relevant for your business transformation, is the ability to be quick and reach your customers in the exact moment they need it. We have said it already, content without context is often of little help. 60 percent of online users make purchase decisions more quickly now than they did a few years ago. Customers move at lightning speed, whether they are looking at your website or using your mobile app. Be quick or be dead.
PLUS: CONNECT THE DOTS
Last but not least, Google has one final advice for digital strategists: do not forget to connect the dots. Today, you do not have offline customers and online customers: you have digital customers that move from one context to the other in the blink of an eye. If you still think and act using silos and separated channels, you are doomed. Connect the dots across screens, across channels, across teams.
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