The Intention of a Mobile First Strategy

By Kevin Lyons
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Kevin Lyons

Kevin Lyons

Kevin Lyons serves as BlueSky's Chief Strategy Officer. Kevin is a growth-minded executive who overcomes complex business challenges by matching customer unmet needs and team member strengths. Kevin uses innovative solutions, based on solid judgement, strong work ethic, and integrity to provide strategic consulting to our clients.
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The Intention of a Mobile First Strategy

There isn’t always an app for that

For well over a year, I have been working with a client, developing their strategic roadmap. About four months in, we were making great headway after completing interviews with key stakeholders and training in our methodology about setting the vision, and laying out the operational objectives. At the end of one of our weekly meetings, the project sponsor informed me, “We purchased an app from our platform marketplace and want to include it in the value targeting work we are doing.”

My first question was, “Why?” It was met with a brief silence, then something along the lines of, “Any users are using mobile instead of desktop and increasing engagement.” I quickly rebutted, “What is the app’s intent that your mobile web experience cannot deliver? How will you get your users to WANT to use it?” This was quickly met with, “We are still figuring that out.” Internally, I felt like I had failed. I felt like I had not been clear enough about the INTENTION of a good strategy.

This client is not alone

Many companies (and I speak from experience as a former client) know they SHOULD have a mobile strategy, but that is often built around a notion of just BEING on mobile.

Why spend the time, money, and incredible effort to execute something and not understand the why, how, who, or when instead of just the what? This client spent money on purchasing an app with no clear objective or strategy on how they would attract and engage users to use it. I am not saying do not make investments in mobile. In fact, I encourage it. However, do it with intention. Even the most trusted brands in the world often have opportunities to keep users engaged with their mobile application. So why do so many organizations opt for this as their “mobile strategy”? It is important to look at the facts.

According to Digital Commerce 360 and our partners at KLaunch, 96% of Americans have smartphones. That means that brands have the opportunity to reach consumers on a platform that is within arms reach at least 16 hours a day. It is the first thing most people grab when they wake up and the last thing they put down before they go to sleep. If I am any indicator, it gets picked up in the middle of a sleepless night (can you say dark mode?). Just using this stat alone, we can all agree having a sound mobile strategy is critical to the future success of any organization – regardless of industry or consumer base.

What we are seeing evolve in our digital transformation work is a move to dynamic, relevant, personal TWO-WAY relationships between brands and their consumers.

What we suggest in coming up with your mobile strategy is to start by answering these questions:

  1. Who are you building it for?
  2. Why do it? (How will it be different from your current desktop experience?)
  3. How will you get customers to use it?
  4. How will you keep customers coming back?
  5. How will you measure success?

Mobile does not mean “app,” it means personal

As you can see, it is not much different than questions you might ask for a technology strategy. The key is that mobile does not mean, “app”, it does not mean simply replicating your online experience. It is deeper than any of that. Mobile is personal. It needs to scream value, ease, and create a relationship with the user. Most importantly, it needs to have a measurable impact on your business.

If you need help with your mobile strategy, BlueSky Commerce and our friends at KLaunch can help.

Contact BlueSky Commerce to learn all the ways we can help you on your digital transformation journey.

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BlueSky’s unmatched commerce expertise allows us to help our clients understand how to utilize omnichannel and business solutions to reach, attract, engage, and grow customers.

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