It’s really all about your customers.

November 19th, 2010 by

There are numerous reasons for bringing your brand onto the mobile platform. I’d like to hypothesize that the underlying motive for all of them is to maintain a meaningful relationship with your customers using this highly personal and omnipresent channel. What I find conflicting is that so many companies are content with delivering a mediocre mobile web experience that was not designed with the customer in mind.

Developing a truly mobile-optimized site is not easy (even companies with resources such as Facebook are admitting that it is quite challenging). But it’s certainly worth the effort. Adobe study finds that such sites can deliver 75% higher rate of engagements per visit from mobile users.

So where does one start? Of course, with the customer. You can ask yourself a series of when-where-why-how questions, or to keep things simple, let context and handset be the guiding factors in designing your mobile-optimized site.

With context, think about the various scenarios in which your customers can benefit from interacting with your content or services while on the go. Do they need all the features that your full website offers? Can some features be adapted to mobile, rather than simply replicated? What about offering new features that uniquely serve the on-the-go use case?

To get the handset factor right, ask yourself whether you know what devices are in your customers’ pockets? How do you accommodate the full spectrum of handsets that they are using to deliver a meaningful experience? If you site is only designed to work on the WebKit browsers (think – Android, a couple of Palm and iPhone devices), how will your customers who own a Blackberry react when they encounter a poorly rendered site with broken links and non-functioning scrolling? Or, if you serve a lowest common denominator experience to all the handsets, do you think your customers will be happy with a super simple, text-based simple mobile site on their $299 Droids?

There is no cookie-cutter answer to any of these questions, as each company and business is unique. Instead, I’d like to illustrate the impact of investing in a customer-centric optimized mobile site. One of our consumer brand customers, initially, launched their mobile web offering with a WAP-based, “one-size-fits-all” mobile site. After redesigning the experience for the latest smartphone users and upgrading it from WAP to touch-screen optimized, the brand saw a 55% lift in monthly return rate from iPhone and Android users.

So when working on your mobile website – whether it is your first foray into mobile or your seventh revision – keep in mind that it is really all about your customers. Because the costs of ignoring them can be very high.

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