I recently was invited by Forbes to write an article on “why companies should invest in mobile now?”. Given that we recently decided to kill our website and invest all our efforts in mobile only, they correctly assumed that we should have 1 or 2 good reasons. I came out with 6 reason of why every business should be investing (at list attention) to mobile. Here let me share the article with you (and here the link to the post in Forbes). I hope you enjoy!
6 Reasons Your Business Should Invest In Mobile Now
In the ’90s, the Internet emerged as the new technology that was going to transform our businesses, and ultimately our lives, forever. The financial markets got overly excited, which then led to a market craze. At the same time, many business owners remained cynical about the Internet’s impact, and didn’t react enough or at all.
A few years later, online companies like Amazon, eBay, Expedia and Netflix consolidated and grabbed hold of a huge part of the business of both big companies (such as Barnes & Nobles, Best Buy, Blockbusters, etc.) and small businesses alike, as consumers massively transitioned from offline to online researching and shopping.
We are now at the beginning of a transition that will likely be even more disruptive than the “offline-to-online” shift: the transition from browsing the Web on personal computers to mobile devices. It’s happening at an astonishing speed. And yes, it’s going to have a big impact on every industry — including your own.Here are 6 critical reasons why your business should hop on the mobile train before it’s too late:
1. Your customers are transitioning to mobile at lightning speed. A recent report by Googleshowed a major growth of 411 percent in mobile searches for last minute hotel and accommodation bookings from June 2011 to June 2012, while desktop searches decreased 79 percent. eBay accounted for a staggering $5 billion in mobile transactions in 2011 and expects to see $10 billion in mobile transactions this year. With nearly as manymobile devices as people in the world, and more iPhones being sold than babies born in the world every day, the mobile commerce revolution is just getting started.
2. Your customers have their phones with them all day long (even at your store). One characteristic that is really specific to this particular technology is that people have their connected phones with them all the time. This means that they can browse and shop at any moment of the day: when they are in a taxi, when they are waiting in a line, and of course, when they are walking inside a store. An interesting phenomenon is arising in which brick-and-mortar stores are becoming the showrooms for mobile retailers. In fact, earlier this year, The New York Times reported that Target,unhappy with being an Amazon showroom, decided to stop selling Amazon Kindles. The solution may actually be to have an amazing mobile experience and make your customers aware of it, so that they buy from you instead of your competitor.
3. It is a global phenomenon that could expand your market. Unlike the online revolution of the 90s that grew significantly deeper within the United States before expanding to other areas, the mobile revolution is growing equally fast internationally in both developed and emerging countries. In fact, mobile services like Instagram and Flipboard have seen their user base grow ataccelerated speeds in countries like China, Brazil and Turkey, among others. In emerging countries, an interesting phenomenon is that many users are getting online for the first time through mobile devices. This new potential reach could mean market expansion opportunities for your business.
4. Users have an emotional relationship with their mobile phones. Research has shown that people have a more emotional relationship with their mobile phones than they do with other forms of computational devices. Businesses can benefit from this by providing an intimate and personal experience in mobile that extends the emotional connection to their products or services. Companies like Fab have done a great job at including a social component in their mobile apps that create a more emotional shopping experience. At WeHostels, we are working on similar efforts in the hostel booking space. Your mobile team should think along these lines.
5. Your competitors are probably not moving fast enough. As described in the book The Innovator’s Dilemma, when any new technological innovation disrupts the way an industry works, the majority of incumbents will be either unable or too slow to adapt to the new paradigm. It is reasonable to assume that a similar situation will occur with mobile. Therefore, this might represent an opportunity for your business to move faster than competitors and build a sustainable competitive advantage. The speed at which your company embraces this new technology may be a determining factor in whether your business sinks or swims.
6. Starting early will pay off. Mobile as a commerce platform entails unique challenges, and it will likely take some time for companies to arrive at the right mobile product and strategy. These challenges include a new form of user interaction (screen touch and swipe vs. traditional point-and-click), new distribution strategies (app discovery vs. SEO) and payment systems, among others. Starting early will definitely pay off. Even if the money coming in from mobile devices today does not represent a big percentage of your revenues, it is better to start tuning the machine with time. This way when they do represent a significant part of your bottom line, you will be prepared.
If you haven’t already begun paying attention to this this new technological paradigm, and investing resources accordingly, you are probably already a little late. Adapting will require a different skill set in your technology department, the ability to move fast and thrive in a changing environment, and the commitment of the management team to make bold decisions. In any case, technological disruptions always represent exciting times in business; look at mobile as yet another opportunity to create better solutions for consumers and society as a whole.