Every year, some wag touts the current year as “the year of mobile.” Me? I give up. I make absolutely no prediction as to what year will be “The Year of Mobile.” What I will predict is that this is the year for you to get your mobile strategy in place.
Well, for one thing, holiday m-commerce quintupled over the last year. Companies like Starbucks have started accepting mobile payments nationwide. And companies like Visa are offering mobile payment services. As is Wells Fargo. And Google. And Intuit.
In fact, some predictions suggest that there will be almost a quarter billion payment-enabled phones in consumers’ hands over the next 3 years.
Of course, the real question is what this means to you and your business. And, it’s not to say you must offer mobile payments. Your strategy, as ever, should revolve around the needs of your customers. If mobile payments work for your customers, then they should work for you. If not, don’t waste your time.
What sorts of things should you look at as you develop a mobile strategy? Here are just three ideas:
- Search. Just as on the desktop, search is one of the most common mobile activities. Does your website serve the needs of mobile search as well as it does desktop?
- Media. Mobile advertising—projected to be a $2 billion business in 2011—is both big enough to be interesting and small enough to still fall below your competitors’ radar.
- Mobile website. While apps are all around you, they’re only useful if your app matches your customer’s mobile device. Meanwhile, simple coding techniques allow anyone with a browser-enabled mobile device to access as much of your site as you let them—all without footing the bill for all the app platforms your customers might require.
Some folks suspect that the mobile experience will increasingly mirror the desktop experience as the power of mobile devices grow. And, in many ways, I think that’s true. Search, for instance, will likely work about the same in both places. Sure, on mobile devices, it will likely be heavily influenced by what’s nearby. But location is only a part of what makes a given search result relevant, so don’t be surprised if mobile search gets less dependent on location over time as it learns more about what’s relevant to a given user.
The goal here is to be mobile enough. Get your mobile strategy right to fit the needs of your customers, and even if this turns out not to be “The Year of Mobile,” it could still be a great mobile year for you.
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