Dial M for mCommerce

  • Increasingly, the mobile screen is the customer’s primary screen.

  • It is important to make the mobile customer’s experience streamlined, seamless, and compelling.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the mobile screen is the first screen, not the second screen. Design and invest accordingly.

Tell me if you’ve heard (or experienced) this one before: You’re in the market for a new product. You receive an email that prompts you to go online to learn more about competitive products while you’re at it. You hop from site-to-site or page-to-page only to become increasingly frustrated with the process because the sites are incredibly difficult to navigate, relevant information is impossible to find, and you can’t complete a transaction without switching screens because, while they’re optimized for small screens, they’re not optimized for mobile behavior and decision-making.

That’s a big problem that’s only multiplying.

Today’s customer journey is based on legacy rules, processes, and technologies. From channels to pages to experiences to transactions, the future of mobile commerce is built upon a foundation of the past. To flourish, mCommerce requires innovation rather than iteration. But to truly innovate, businesses also have to accept what isn’t working today. You have to solve existing problems first before you open the doors that reveal new possibilities. Doing so requires thinking like mobile consumers and personally experiencing today’s journey for all of its challenges, as well as its potential.

Examine your customer’s journey

It’s not news that mobile commerce is the future of commerce. All too often however, businesses confuse mCommerce with the ability to transact on smaller screens. It’s more than that of course. It helps to think of mCommerce as inclusive of the entire journey from discovery through transactions to relationship management. Simply investing in technology that adapts existing journeys to smaller screens isn’t enough. It’s as insufficient as it is elementary. The entire journey must now be re-imagined to optimize discovery, decision-making, and engagement. The role each page plays, how they’re experienced, and the functionality embedded is ripe and deserving of innovation.

Let me ask you a question. Have you, not just your UX, UI, or usability teams, experienced your customer’s journey on individual and across multiple devices? You simply can’t outsource an experience.

While design disciplines require incredible talent and experience, there is a human intuition that comes into play simply by living the brand the way your mobile customer does. It takes empathy to not only “get it,” but also feel inspired to create new journeys that are meaningful and useful.

Make it streamlined and seamless

People use screens differently, and experience architects must design journeys, transactions, and outcomes that are native to the screen while meeting expectations and aspirations accordingly. Mobile customers wish to travel the journey without having to screen hop. But if they must, multi-screening should be seamless, allowing consumers to pick up where they left off while optimizing desired outcomes based on known preferences, contexts, and states of mind. As such, technology should be invisible.

The time to master the art and science of single-screening and multi-screening is now.


Brian Solis is the author of the book, What’s The Future of Business. He is also a principal analyst at Altimeter Group. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

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