“Mobile is the future.” With these very words in 2010 Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google at the time and now Chairman of Alphabet, gave us a glimpse of what was going to happen. And he definitely hit the target!
Almost seven years later, mobile has disrupted the way we relate to the world. We are living a transformation far from being over. Many changes await us around the corner of the new year, and it is time to understand what are the main mobile technology trends for 2017.
The Internet has been certainly the primary catalyst for the revolution we have witnessed in the past decades, and yet there is no doubt that mobile technology is not just a small wave a sea storm.
When the Internet crossed the threshold of the house, to accompany us in all the activities of our daily lives, then we have entered a new era. We have gone through the mobile-mind shift, and the customer experience changed forever.
Mobile use overtook desktop use in 2010. Mobile search on Google overtook desktop search in 2015. As citizens and customers we live surrounded by dozens of different devices, and the screen of the smartphone has become the main reference for all our activities.
We check the phone within the first 15 minutes of waking up. Mobile is not just another channel, is a proxy of the customer, an entirely new lifestyle.
This fact alone states the importance of mobile, and tells us why - as marketers and digital leaders - we should always plan our business strategy starting from mobile devices.
The mobile revolution runs eight times faster than the Internet revolution, and that means essentially two things:
You are already late
It is a fact, customers are quicker than companies when it comes to adopting new technologies. If you do not have a mobile-first (if not mobile-only) strategy, you are probably already lagging behind your customers and your competitors.
Whether you are a small local business or a large global organization, you must act fast to employ innovative mobile technologies and face the consequences of the digital transformation.
Don’t rest on laurels
The essence of technology is evolution. If you believe that the dusty customer-facing webview application that you developed five years ago is still your top solution, then you might have a problem very soon.
The customer journey evolves every single day, a map that has multiple touch points and unravels across different channels and devices, online and offline. You must always be with eyes wide open, to recognize and implement new disruptive trends.
Now we are at that time of the year when we draw conclusions about what happened and turn the gaze to the future to see what will happen next. If 2015 was the turning point for mobile marketing, and 2016 has been critical (just think about the AMP), we can certainly say that 2017 is set to be a benchmark year.
New devices promise to enter the stage; new dynamics will change the foundations of your digital strategy. And you will have to find new meaningful ways to improve your customer experience, and to “Be there, Be useful, Be quick.”
Here is our short list of the main mobile technology trends for 2017.
In the past few years, beacons, geofencing, and push notifications have had a relevant role in shaping marketing strategies, even more so for retail brands that have a physical point of sale. While the ‘M-Commerce’ is rapidly surging, the store will not disappear anytime soon. It will just evolve, and mobile technology will be crucial in this evolution.
82% of customers consult their smartphones while in a store deciding what to buy. ‘Near Me’ searches have increased twofold in the past year. Google has launched a separated search index dedicated to mobile results and contents.
Mobile devices will continue to be the most powerful tools that marketers can leverage to engage with their customers, increase foot traffic to their stores and encourage conversions. Location-based services will be more and more prominent, in the name of “the right answer at the right time.”
MOBILE SHOPPING JOURNEY
The shift from desktop to mobile has had profound consequences for the customer journey. Today, the path to discovery and purchase is by no means linear. The dawn of the digital customer - called ‘supershopper’ by Google - clearly highlights how the funnel has changed.
In a multi-device ecosystem, customers move from one device to another, from one channel to the other without a predictable scheme. If you add that they also skip between the online and offline worlds, the journey becomes even more complicated.
There is one constant, however, in this brand new customer journey, and it is mobile technology. The ‘supershopper’ - and particularly the millennial supershopper - is driven by technology. Just take a look at these data collected by Facebook:
MOBILE BUSINESS GAMES
The enormous success of Super Mario Run (10 million downloads and 5 million dollars generated in 24 hours), coming in the wave of the Pokémon Go craze, demonstrates once again the power of mobile games. Games have become a serious business and represent the top preference in mobile app development, together with social networks.
Virtual and augmented reality already have a special place in the gaming industry. The evidence of maturity will be their integration with the business applications (i.e. virtual showroom) to boost the customer engagement with a future-proof approach.
When considering digital marketing, however, games do not mean only ‘Videogames’. It also translates into ‘Gamification’. The dynamics of games implemented in a business context, in other words, can be your best chance to improve your customer experience.
There are many ways to leverage gamification but they all have the same effects when included in an omni-comprehensive strategy: Increase sales through mobile and in-store; Strengthen customer engagement; Encourage retention and customer loyalty.
MOBILE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
The evolution of the artificial intelligence does not only concern mobile but what is certain is that it will find its deepest application in the interaction with mobile devices. We might not see it fully deployed in 2017, but we already have all the seeds of revolution.
More and more developers are starting to embed Artificial Intelligence into their products, to communicate with apps (Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa), interact with other objects (the Internet of Things, Google Home), act as a personal tutor embedded in the smartphone (chatbots, conversational interfaces).
Voice search, machine learning, instant apps, smart commerce, connected cars, enhanced security protocols, virtual insurance agents, domotics: connect the dots and you will have a groundbreaking platform that will lead you to the next generation customer experience. Online and offline, mobile and in-store.
Which of these trends do you think will have the greatest effect on your business?
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