Mobile Application Development Approaches, Strategies & Best practices – Part 7

mobilephoneappsThe HTML5, Native, and Hybrid approaches to mobile app development are all well-rehearsed in the literature and the pros and cons of each rehashed. We’ve taken a non-conventional turn by advocating an alternative view that sees beyond the one-size-fits-all mentality. This is known variously as the hybrid model or “all of the above” approach, which we believe offers a better solution for the complex needs of your mobile customers today. Equipped with these fresh insights, let’s zero in on how to spin what we’ve learned into concrete, actionable strategies for your mobile-empowered business.

 

Ensure that Your Business is Omni-channel

 

Epic transformations in the world of digital technology have changed the customer experience at all levels. Mobile devices come in all shapes and sizes and consumers are using these to access goods and services. E-commerce channels are no longer enough. Businesses must go much further to keep up with the hyper-fast pace of change.

 

Omni-channel marketing has caught lots of attention in the world of retailing recently by recognizing the need to engage mobile-savvy customers at all levels and provide them with continual access to products and services in seamless fashion. For business owners, the basic idea here is to do whatever it takes to reach their customers and give them the best user experience. Research supports this: 40% of consumers say they prefer buying from retailers that personalize services to their needs.

 

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Mobility, of course, is right in the middle of this Omni-channel retail revolution. Customers are accessing products and services through smartphones, tablets, traditional desktops, thin laptops, and even through Apple TV. Next it will be Google Glass and smartwatches. No matter how a customer accesses your services – whether checking inventory on your mobile friendly website, downloading a coupon from your mobile app, or visiting your store and sharing that experience on Twitter – business owners absolutely need to ensure their products and services are available in a seamless, organic manner 24/7 across multiple platforms and devices.

 

Creating an effective Omni-channel strategy requires cooperation and collaboration across all segments of your organization. Several actionable steps must happen in order to implement this strategy (for sources see here):

 

  • Get executive buy-in: ensure that the leadership is onboard to avoid siloed efforts and entrenched retail-centric approaches.
  • Understand your customer landscape: ask yourself who your customers are, what are their needs, and who are your competitors?
  • Develop employee engagement: make sure your people are web and mobile savvy with appropriate training to become ambassadors for the new channels.
  • Create a mobile strategy: ensure that IT is in lockstep with the rest of the business in advancing a mobile experience that complements the in-store and desktop strategies.
  • Create a Big Data strategy: tracking consumers and their social and brand identities across multiple channels requires the ability to manage significant amounts of structured and unstructured data in a cloud-based environment.
  • Develop 360 degree customer-centricity: keep a single view of each customer across each shopping channel, which is easily accessible from one central repository and available across the organization.
  • Build consumer engagement: adding consumer interactions like sharing, ratings and reviews, and comments will provide insights into their social profiles and likes and dislikes and help personalize the overall customer experience.

 

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The conventional approach to mobile application development favors choosing your framework almost exclusively on the technology. In other words, the primary question is often between Native, Hybrid, or HTML5 and which approach is best for the business? However, this is misguided and leads to a lopsided view. Mobile strategies should not be exclusively technology-driven but formulated by the needs of the customer first and foremost. Ask yourself what it will take to provide your customers with a seamless experience across multiple devices and access to your goods and services anytime, anywhere? Business leaders should begin to answer this question today by ensuring that Omni-channel marketing becomes an integral part of their organization’s mobile application strategy.

 

In the next part of this series we will continue this discussion by focusing on the need for multi-platform and device support as a critical element in your unfolding mobile application strategy.

 

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