- 05/20/2014

Ecommerce, Social

Mobile Trends – What You Should (and Shouldn’t) Focus On

Everyone is talking mobile: app development, SMS, QR codes, and so forth. The question is, what should you focus on first?

Is everything mobile important for your business? The answer, as always, depends on your business itself and what your potential customers have come to expect, thanks to your competitors. In this post, we’re going to look at the essential ways your business needs to get mobile-friendly and how you can determine if the rest are going to be worth it.

Mobile Essentials for Your Business

If you could only do one thing in terms of mobile for your business, what should it be? The answer: make your website mobile-friendly. Not just iPhone friendly or smartphone friendly, but any possible mobile device friendly. The way to do this is through responsive design. It’s a web design that is fluid – it reshapes itself depending on the resolution of the visitor. It works for desktop browsers, tablet browsers of all sizes, and smartphone browsers of all sizes.

The reason responsive design works better than having a mobile-only website is simple. People get the same user experience and access to the same pages on your website, no matter what device they are using. They’ll never run into the issue where they search for something on Google, click on the link, and then not get the page because it’s not mobile optimized. Everything on your website (except Flash content) will be made mobile-friendly.

If you use WordPress as your CMS, then look for responsive WordPress themes. If you hire a web designer, look for those who offer responsive web design. Your customers are guaranteed to love it!

Mobile Maybes for Your Business

Now, let’s look at the other mobile trends and technologies that might sound great at first, but may not actually be practical for your business.

Mobile Apps

Statistics can be deceiving, which is why you need to proceed with caution when it comes to investing in other types of mobile technology for your business. For example, I could tell you that in Q4 for 2013, 89% of the time people spend on mobile media is done through apps. I can even cite the source for that stat to prove it’s not fake! Sounds great for mobile app developers, yes? But the truth is, the 89% of time spent on mobile apps is spent on the super popular apps like Facebook, Gmail, and similar. Not necessarily apps created by businesses selling products.

If you are going to create an app, you have a few ways to go. You can work with big name mobile app development companies like Fueled. Or you can choose from a wide range of mobile app builders that let you do it yourself that charge one-time and recurring fees. Either way, you will be investing a good bit of time and/or money to your mobile app. Hence, you’ll want to make it something unique that your customer base will love. Maybe it’s an easier way to buy your products on mobile, or simply a great resource that people who buy your product will want to have. If it’s just a reboot of your website inside an app, then it may not be worth the investment.

Not sure if you should have an app, or what it should be? Check out your competitors. Do they have apps? What type of apps do they have? How well are the apps received (i.e., number of reviews on iTunes or Google Play)? If the competitor research proves promising, then you may want to consider it.

SMS Messaging

SMS marketing has some great stats as well, such as 98% of text messages are read and responded to in 90 seconds and coupons sent via SMS are more likely to redeemed and shared than those sent by mail. Fortunately, SMS messaging services can be inexpensive, with some starting at $14.95 per month for 500 texts. That said, the challenge will be whether you can get people to give you their mobile numbers.

To find out if your ideal customers are ready for SMS marketing, check out your customers. For example, if your ideal customers would also frequent Jo-Ann’s Fabrics, then congratulations, you have a customer base that is already used to receiving coupons and marketing messages via text.

QR Codes

QR codes kill kittens according to popular un-marketer Scott Stratten. But since you see them everywhere (or what feels like everywhere as a marketer), you might consider them. QR codes are a tough sell on the general public – those who are not technologically savvy likely do not have a QR code reader on their mobile device to begin with, which makes your QR code useless to them. That said, if your ideal customers are tech friendly, then QR codes can be a great addition to your marketing collateral.

What mobile trends have you found valuable, and what have you found has been a waste of your investment? Please share in the comments!

Updated November 21, 2017.