We are undergoing a cultural shift. Mobile devices
are changing have changed the way consumers buy and how companies market, advertise, and resolve service issues. It's happening now.
As of December 2011, 48.1% of all US mobile subscribers own a smartphone according to ComScore's annual mobile report. Apple is on pace to sell 100 million iPads by year's end; and according to Forrester, one billion people across the planet will have smartphones by 2016. One billion. We have not seen this particular type of technology adoption and growth for any other consumer product.
The masses are subsequently adopting mobile as their main channel to interact with companies, leaving businesses scrambling to “go mobile.” Forrester reports that business marketing budgets for mobile will grow 100% by 2015.
Bringing a company's true brand experience to mobile devices is more important than ever, and you have got to get it right the first time. A survey from Harris Interactive reports, “63 percent of all online adults would be less likely to buy from the same company via other purchase channels if they experienced a problem when conducting a mobile transaction.”
Here's a great quote about mobile sales potential from Kenichiro Nakajima, Chief Mobile Officer at Rakuten, Japan's top retail website:
Mobile sales are beginning to make a serious impact on the market. We're already seeing that consumers will buy more on their mobile phones than they will on their PCs…. Consumers take their mobile devices everywhere, so brands that really embrace multichannel sales and understand the differences between shopping platforms have the potential to literally travel with their customers.
At Sparkbox, we believe there is no better multichannel platform than the web, so we continue to encourage well-designed mobile web applications over mobile native apps for most purposes. We anticipate that companies which embrace a web design strategy which allows their brand to be harmoniously presented across all channels will win out over competitors that don't. It's just a matter of time. (This previous article from Ben elaborates on our views of mobile web strategy.)
Just like the first years of the internet, consumers will allow a small grace period. Soon, however, consumers will demand an equal and congruent experience from their brands as they continue to integrate mobile devices into their lives.