Here’s a snapshot of six trends and developments in the world of mobile along with suggestions on what you should do next to stay ahead and remain relevant.
1. According to The Guardian’s Data Blog, three quarters of the world’s more than six billion mobile phones are located in the developing world, and the widespread use of these devices in under-served areas provides valuable tracking of digital activity that has never existed before.
Action plan: Harness the digital data about global development efforts. As The Guardian states, “from tracking the outbreak of diseases to better understanding unrepresented populations, a few promising examples are coming to light, and this mobile phone data is even proving to offer lifesaving insights.”
One of those promising examples occurred in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake, when a big mobile phone network in Haiti provided anonymized (preserving anonymity) mobile phone data to help coordinate relief efforts and track displaced populations.
2. Mobile commerce accounted for 14% more of all online sales in the second quarter than in the first, rising to 15.1% from 13.3%, but social commerce fell more than 20% in the same period, to 1.9% from 2.4%. That’s the mobile world according to IBM Corp's retail online index for Q2, 2012. What does that mean? The number of people shopping has decreased but folks who buy are buying more.
Action plan: Understand your customer to better serve their mobile needs. When they buy, make mobile payments a user-friendly, even happy, experience.
3. The latest Forrester EU mobile survey forecast predicts that eCommerce revenues across Europe will rise from E1.7 billion in 2011 to E19.2 billion in 2017. France, Germany and the UK are expected to dominate in terms of overall spending.
Action plan: Establish a seamless, transactional mobile website that serves the world and delivers a healthy return-on-investment.
4. In Australia, 55% of online retailers are embracing mobile — a stat that, according to Forrester, has grown from 39% in 2011. This is considered a “tipping point” of mobile commerce in that region.
Action plan: While only at the tip of the mobile channel iceberg, strategize for stratospheric growth because most retailers are embracing mobile and are placing it as a top investment priority in the future.
5. Forrester Research forecasts U.S. mobile commerce to hit $10 billion this year, up from $6 billion in 2010. Mobile sales made up 6.6% of Cyber Monday sales in 2011, more than double the percentage of the previous year.
Action plan: Develop an email channel whereby consumers can access your information on a regular basis and with ease via their phones. You want them to instantly know what you are selling, where you are located and respond to you with no more than three clicks (e.g., Add to Basket, Checkout and Pay). If they get stuck, give them a way to get unstuck, such as a telephone number to call for help. Groupon and Gilt Groupe already do this. Do you?
6. ABI Research predicts that globally $119 billion in goods and services will be purchased via a mobile phone in 2015, representing about 8% of the total ecommerce market. Their findings also indicate that more consumers rely on mobile to make purchases not just on their device, but also in retail stores.
Action plan: Is your website optimized for mobile phones? Consumers know in a heartbeat when a site isn’t, which leads to difficulty in uploading, navigating and finalizing transactions. Get the global competitive edge: make your site mobile- and user-friendly. Test it to make sure it renders correctly on different mobile devices because you want to effortlessly sell to the world.
Whatever success you have achieved through online sales, use it as a mirror or basis for developing mobile sales. Look for ways to encourage shopping and transacting business on mobile devices. It’s the way to a prosperous future in our connected world.