There’s no question that mobile technology is extremely important to businesses today, and that companies with well-defined mobile strategies will make a bigger impact. A recent study by McKinsey & Company about digital trends and consumer behavior and preferences in the EU and USA has shown just how important this is to organizations, as well as where the U.S. market is likely headed.
For example, despite the fact that the United States has higher internet penetration overall, European consumers were overwhelmingly more likely to take the online route to do their banking or purchase car insurance. A lot of this has to do with market share: In general, there is more industry competition within the EU, and digital tech is a way to stand out. These companies put forth the effort to develop their mobile options and to make them known to consumers, and obviously consumers have gotten the message. By contrast, U.S. companies tend to focus more on traditional web presence and the physical aspects of business (physical locations and their employees for upselling or cross-selling).
However, we know that the household-name tech companies making the biggest splash today (Google, Amazon, Apple, etc.) are extremely digital- and mobile-based. To get the kind of market share that these giants have, a winning mobile strategy is a must. Here are three essential steps to craft yours:
Map and Assess Current Client and Vendor Experiences
Your first step to a better mobile strategy is to take an inventory of your current practices. What things related to your product can your customers or vendors do in person? Online? Through an app? What does the actual usage of these channels look like today? How does that usage compare to the rest of your industry? Are there any activities that are only possible with a specific channel? Also, identify if a certain purchase or task that is frequently completed through cross-channel interactions (e.g. a customer researches your product online but makes their purchase at a brick-and-mortar store).
Imagine a Completely Mobile Strategy
With everything you’ve documented from Step 1 in mind, explore how these processes would change if the only channel available to your consumers and vendors were mobile. Imagine here that you are a brand new company, and your customers and vendors are the only stakeholders who matter. As you do this, consider:
- How would the customer/vendor experience change from current methods?
- What new benefits could you provide your clients with?
- What are customers’ likes and dislikes about the current experience that you can use to shape your mobile strategy and avoid existing pitfalls?
- What are your competitors doing that you can incorporate with your strategy or what are they not doing where there is an opportunity? What new demographics or subsets of consumers might be attracted to an all-mobile model?
Define a Roadmap to Make the Next Steps to Implement Your Mobile Plan
Finally, the hard part: Take a very long look at why you do things the way you do, and determine what processes could be replaced or improved by implementing different aspects from your all-mobile concept so that your mobile, digital and in-person channels are streamlined and work in harmony. The customer’s experience should lead your path, and you should do whatever you reasonably can to enhance it. However, keep in mind that there is almost never a single right path — different demographics and audiences may prefer different ways of doing things, and it’s fine to have more than one way of accomplishing the same goal. The important thing is to identify these segments and ensure that they are aware of the existence of the channels that they prefer to use.
The EU is currently leading mobile usage in a number of categories across multiple sectors. It’s our belief, as well as McKinsey’s, that “the digital development trajectory for [the EU and USA] is likely to be much the same in the medium to long term, which means that lessons from one region can be applied to another, when market forces are similar.” Look at how and why mobile strategies are succeeding in your industry in the EU, and strive to find similar workflows and features that your customers can easily learn about and use. The mobile channel may not be the most popular one among U.S. consumers today, but if you are an early adopter and trendsetter, you’ll be well ahead of the game when attitudes and preferences inevitably shift in the U.S. as they already have in the EU.