The world of mobile is fresh and constantly evolving- with new innovations, technologies and recommendations developed and released daily. I read and follow various mobile blogs, websites and industry leaders to keep up with this evolution of mobile. It’s summer here in California, which means the sun is out, people are on vacation, and the ocean is as warm as it’s going to get. So here is my summer list of the top five mobile trends!
1. Build a Mobile Web App
A what? A mobile web app is accessed using your phone’s mobile browser. It is hosted on your web server, not downloaded from an app store or stored on your device. This is the key, as it is accessible to anyone as long as they have a signal on their phone, [may be difficult for those of you on AT&T]. Depending on your business, customers, and goals a mobile app may be all your company needs. Or a combo of a mobile web app, native app, and mobile website may be what really helps your customers find the information they are looking for. Reviewing your goals and listening to your customers will help you decided what approach is best for your own company. I think that mobile web apps are awesome since they are fancy little websites. You can use all kinds of cool CSS tricks and not be limited to a fixed-width design like in a native app. If you’ve used your mobile browser to Google or searched for YouTube videos, you’ve already used one. Learn More about Mobile Web Apps.
2. In App Purchasing
So, you’ve decided having both a mobile web app and a native app is the way to go. I mean with 37% of mobile users browsing the web and 35% using downloaded apps, you’d be smart to want to target both demographics -although it’s probably the same person. The difference is the mobile web is used for looking up information quickly, while an app is used for doing. So you’ve decided that this new native app of yours is going to offer your customers your products. Why not let them purchase directly in the app then? That is what they want, ease, quickness, and everything available at their fingertips. Learn more about In App Purchasing.
3. QR codes – Think Outside the Box
I know there is quite the debate out there about QR codes and how effective they are. I believe it all comes down to how you use them. They have the ability to send map locations, Paypal buy now links, videos, social media links, etc. So think outside the box, and come up with a new way to integrate them into your mobile strategy. Diesel, one of my favorite brands from a creative standpoint, did just that [and very successfully]. They had customers scan a QR code, which took them to a product page with the ability to hit the ‘like button’ which posted the Diesel product to that customer’s wall for all their friends to see. In turn, they of course got an instant discount on the product. Learn more about the I Like Diesel QR and Facebook campaign.
4. SMS isn’t just text
As we start to empty our cache of mobile marketing tactics, our beach bag is still full over here. Text messaging is huge, booming, and customers are not just asking for it, but requiring it. They want to receive coupons and promotions on their phone. They want location based messaging sending them push notifications when they are within a store’s radius. They want to be in the know, especially with deals. SMS shopping has been done for years now, but Amazon is still great at it. They allow you to find items, check prices, and buy -all by text message. Amazon has used every type of mobile marketing tactic to reach their customers and their Amazon TextBuyIt program is still in use. It allows them to reach every demographic, whether customers are shopping on their app, on a mobile browser, or texting for more information. The more ways you can allow your customers to access your information, the smarter you make your customer.
5. Near Field Communication
We’ve talked about it before. We know it’s the future. It’s coming. It’s kinda like winter [for those not in SoCal] – we know it’s around the corner, but we don’t know what kind of storm it’s going to brew. Near Field Communication is going to change the way everything is done on a mobile device. We are going to have our Google wallet, Visa wallet, Isis, and other digital payment methods all stored on our phones. I want to get your NFC thought process running. If you are a retailer, what kinds of NFC readers are you going to have in store? I’d be sure to have optical scanners that can also scan barcodes off your customer’s cell phones so you can use your SMS campaigns in conjunction. If you are a consumer, how are you going to use NFC? Are you willing to just trust Google and Apple like 61% of iPhone owners say they are? Are you excited about not having to carry a wallet? Although you’ll still have that driver’s license of yours until that microchip is put in your finger.
I know some of these trends are new and some are old favorites, but they need to be considered as you are planning and creating your mobile marketing strategy. As I peer out my window and watch the waves crash back and forth against the sun soaked beach, I wonder what new trends I will be writing about in a few months, and what kind of digital wallet I will have on my new iPhone 5!?