5 Ways mobile changed consumer behavior forever

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It would be an understatement to state that mobile devices have transformed the world we live in. We, as humans, crave being able to connect and communicate with other humans, which is why our favorite technologies throughout history have been ones that help us do that.

Writing comes to mind first, and that’s been going strong for more than 5,000 years. Relatively recently, about 600 years ago, the printing press and moveable type really caught on, and people got jazzed about bibles and newspapers before moving on to almanacs, novels, textbooks, and other printed knowledge vehicles. Radio and TV have been around even more briefly as methods of connecting and communicating, each having been commercially available for roughly 100 years and 60 years, respectively. Only in 2014, mere months ago, did the World Wide Web turn 25; Facebook has been around for 10 years now; and the iPhone has only been around for whopping 7 years.

After each exponentially shrinking epoch in the technologies that help people connect and communicate, consumer behavior changes significantly; sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic, but always irreversible. In this new digitally connected age, where everyone has a computer more powerful than the NASA space shuttle that landed on the moon resting in their hand, pocket, or purse, consumers have drastically different expectations of businesses than they did even a few years ago. Let’s explore the biggest ways that things have changed, and some of the ways that businesses can step up to meet the new needs of their mobile and always-on consumers.

1. My phone is my life: Not mobile-only, but mobile-first

More than half of consumers’ digital time is spent on mobile devices (60% according to comScore in June of 2014) – that’s over 3.2 hours per day. According to Altimeter, consumers check their smartphones upwards of 150 times per day.

Mobile has also changed the ebbs and flows of our day. Consumers are on their laptops and desktops while at work, tablets when they get home and unwind, and phones before bed, when they wake up, during their commute, and everywhere in between.

Consumers demand great experiences on their devices, and depending on your business, you’ll need to know when and how your different consumers are interacting with your products and services. Don’t completely abandon your desktop site, obviously, but consider mobile your first priority. Give those consumers a great experience when they need it, on the device they’re using, and you’ll gain a customer. Don’t, and you’ll lose them. According to Google, 67% of consumers are more likely to purchase if the mobile site experience is good, while 61% said they would leave a mobile site if they didn’t immediately find what they were looking for.

2. Instant gratification: Decision-making info must be available right away

To build off the above, not only does it need to feel like a great mobile experience, but I need to be able to find what I, the consumer, need right away to make a decision. Chances are, there are one or two key things I really want to do when I’m searching for businesses, products, or services. They may range from seeing a menu or making an appointment, to calling or messaging the business, to digging deeper into the product or service offering through downloadable content or videos, to finding directions, and anything in between. The potential key activities your consumer wants to do when interacting with your business while on-the-go are few, but the range of options depending on the type of business is vast.

For one, a business must have an optimized search experience that drives to their digital business properties. This is your SEO, SEM, and Local Search, and it’s as critical as the searchability and hierarchy of content on your own website. You’ll also need a site that’s easily scannable and where key interactions are obvious and intuitive.

If you’re going to invest in your mobile presence, you must maintain it; there’s nothing worse for a consumer than a broken, useless mobile site experience once they’ve gone to the trouble to find you. There are an array of tools out there that can help you easily maintain your mobile presence, and it’s worth the upfront time investment in researching and analyzing these tools because they’ll save you time, headache, and cost later.

Tune in for Part 2 of the ways that mobile has changed consumer behavior next week.

Jed Singer is the VP of Product Marketing for MEG.com, the only suite of mobile marketing apps that help business connect, manage, and optimize all of their mobile marketing channels. Jed has led successful social and mobile engagements for brands across many verticals, including P&G, HBO, MasterCard, AB-InBev, and Toys ‘R Us.

Jed Singer
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Jed Singer

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