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More than half of the globe turns to its mobile device when accessing the internet. According to Statista, mobile internet traffic amounts to 58.5% of total online global traffic.*
So if you’re not taking a mobile-first approach with your brand, you’re losing out on a lot of business. After all, when someone needs to buy a quick birthday gift, they whip out their smartphones. When they’re bored on the ride home, they swipe to their favorite app. In many developing nations, where computers are rare but phones are everywhere, mobile phones are the only way people can connect to the web.
The mobile-first approach is simply this: prioritizing the mobile experience above other platforms. It’s not saying: “Oh, let’s add a mobile experience” after already building your desktop website experience. It’s taking the mindset that your customers will experience your brand primarily on their mobile devices and building up the customer experience from that foundation.
When you recognize the dominance of mobile devices in your users’ lives, you can create seamless, optimized experiences that they will return to again and again — even if they switch platforms later on.
So why do you need to create a mobile-first experience in the first place?
If you build your user experience for mobile, your mobile users will love you. Break it down into expectations:
Mobile users demand responsive designs and adaptive layouts that work whether the mobile is in landscape or portrait mode, whether it’s a six-inch smartphone screen or a 10.5-inch tablet screen, whether it’s a low-resolution screen on an ancient device or the latest hi-def AMOLED screen on a flagship model. They expect vertical screens. They expect big buttons that their thumbs won’t have difficulty picking out.
The simplest tip here is: make it easy for your users.
Mobile users expect fast and responsive experiences. You’ve got to optimize performance and speed to meet these expectations. Minimize the file sizes of your images. Optimize your code. Use caching techniques. All of these things reduce page load times and improve overall performance. This not only enhances user experiences but also positively impacts search engine rankings and conversion rates.
If you build it for mobile, they will engage. (Sorry, Field of Dreams reference.) The fact is mobile devices give users many ways to interact with your brand: they can click on a push notification, switch on a location-based service, read an in-app message. By proactively reaching out to users through mobile-specific features, you can capture their sought after attention and begin to build deeper connections with your customers.
The mobile-first approach embraces innovative new technologies that enhance user experiences further. For example: you won’t see augmented reality (AR) or voice assistants used as much by desktop users. But mobile users? Oh, they’re doing virtual try-ons of eyeglasses or clothes with AR, or immersing themselves in VR, or inadvertently reaping the benefits of machine learning on their mobile applications. Focusing on mobile allows you to stay at the forefront of trend-setting tech, perhaps even differentiate yourself from the competition.
Mobile devices provide businesses with an abundance of user data and contextual information. The mobile-first approach leverages this data to deliver personalized and contextually relevant experiences. By understanding user preferences, location, behavior, and device capabilities, you can tailor your recommendations and offers to individual users. This granular level of hyper-personalization is possible in real time even. And it obviously enhances user engagement as users now expect the brands they interact with to know their preferences and tastes. Taking a mobile-first lens to your engagement means enhanced loyalty to your brand.
In the end, implementing a mobile-first approach goes beyond merely providing an optimized user experience—it can have a significant impact on your brand’s bottom line as well. With the majority of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, embracing a mobile-first strategy ensures that you reach your target audience where they spend the most time. And delivering exceptional mobile experiences means increasing customer satisfaction and ultimately, customer lifetime value.
The User Retention Pocket Guide