Businesses looking to expand their products and services must be willing to explore and implement new ways to put themselves in front of potential customers. With more than 6.5 billion people owning a smartphone, mobile applications provide an impactful alternative that can accelerate growth.
A 2019 report showed that people spent more time on their mobile devices than watching TV, a transformational shift that reflects mobile’s primacy as a preferred vehicle for entertainment. That trend continues year after year, with people using their phones daily whether for work or entertainment purposes. And of course, it also functions as a GPS, shopping portal, wallet, camera, and a myriad of other uses.
Leaders that do not understand mobile’s primary importance and do not put time and resources towards development are snubbing their customers. Delaying mobile development or presenting limited mobile functions that do not offer real engagement, will force businesses to fall behind. They’ll lose market share and miss growth opportunities, and open the door to competitors who can make inroads because they’re willing to help, entertain, inform, and monetize customers through mobile.
Aligning Goals and Development
The first step in the mobile development process is to understand the core goals, which will inform every part of the process. Develop with the team a business case for mobile development, including the expected value it can generate, and some other fundamental parameters. Spend some time and energy crafting a mobile development plan that accounts for a new industry, a new type of client, or a new concept.
After setting achievable goals, it’s a process of organization and delegation. Like other project development work, you need to use your resources to ensure the teams working together craft the best possible product. Ensure the core functionalities of your product or service appear in the mobile applications, and plan around your product roadmap for the future. This type of planning requires some deep expertise, so you might need to enlist a consultant or hire a mobile development strategy expert who understands trends and the mobile universe. Those kinds of experts can guide the development process from the start.
For companies testing the markets and entering mobile for the first time, it’s wise to invest time and energy to create a minimum viable product (MVP). You put this MVP in front of early adopters and enthusiasts to gather their knowledge about your industry and the customer’s expectations and engagement. If you’re managing a small development team, then feedback can prove invaluable as it can speed up the process. Customer suggestions provide the team with insights they might otherwise overlook or would uncover after weeks or months of trial and error. An MVP development track allows you to launch a product that’s set up for constant improvement, and you can direct the team to use this process to prove or disprove various assumptions they might have about the customers’ needs and actions.
Mobile and Digital Transformation
Mobile development applies directly to a CEO’s digital transformation campaign that might include machine learning, increased connectivity, automation, or virtualization. All these improvements work better and for more people when they’re paired with mobile devices.
For CEOs with younger target markets such as Gen Z and Millennials, digital transformation efforts must focus on mobile. These generations switched from computers and tablets to smartphones over the past decade. Gen Z spends upwards of half of their waking hours on their phones, representing how central the mobile experience is to their daily lives.
CEOs can guide their company’s digital transformation efforts by implementing a mobile-first strategy. They need to push for roadmaps that either get their company into mobile or revise their current strategies to ensure both customers and staff members can connect with platforms, content, and transactional systems through their phones. Mobile cannot remain an afterthought, where an app allows a user to access just a fraction of the desktop application’s functions, with a clunky UI and low engagement. Flip this around and design digital tools with mobile-first to get the company in front of customers, especially those that “live” within the mobile landscape. A mobile-first strategy can also open new opportunities for revenue generation through monetization.
A great example to consider is Starbucks’ journey. The company’s popular mobile app now accounts for more than a quarter of the chain’s global transactions. In the U.S., Starbucks boasts more than 27 million active members who place more than half of the firm’s orders. The mobile application is the wallet, ordering tool, and rewards system in one, providing customers with convenience that translates into brand loyalty. The gaming industry is another example, where revenues coming from mobile games now surpasses PC and console revenues.
There are many industries where mobile has not set its roots but will become vital for brands to remain competitive. Sectors like insurance and health sciences will see mobile-based transformation, where new applications will bring accessibility and new ways of interacting with these brands. Diving into full-featured mobile development allows your company to compete for market share, but also leverage new hidden opportunities presented by the societal shift towards a mobile-based economy.
Written by Lucas Stolze.
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