Retailers: Start taking your mobile infrastructure seriously
Think long-term investment when it comes to your mobile strategy, Shaun Dobbin urges, noting that mobile works wonders… if it’s done properly.
Over 54% of Australians own a smartphone and just over 22 million Australians own some sort of mobile device. It’s now almost critical for businesses to ensure they are accessible over multiple mobile channels.
But is your retail business ready for this investment?
It’s time to take a step back and have a look at your digital infrastructure – is it second rate? Did you choose a cheaper system because you felt it would be better to invest money into a more tried, tested and traditional marketing strategy? If the answer is yes, then we need to have a frank discussion.
Too often I see retailers regret the fact that they didn’t spend that little bit more money and go for a higher quality digital infrastructure. Now they’ve realised mobile is the place for businesses to be and all of a sudden we have some problems.
Many organisations made the decision long ago to not put in a serious investment when it came to creating and building a digital product or service.
Today, as a mobile marketing solutions agency, we are seeing so many retailers and businesses coming to us for help with mobile, but having to delay the initiative due to some serious issues with the current infrastructure.
Instead of updating the system, however, sometimes we see organisations that are forcing their prior systems to be used, due to having neither the time nor the inclination to treat it as important for creating the best customer experience. Because of this, retailers are failing to deliver on great experiences for customers – experiences that their competitors can and will deliver better.
It’s now time for retailers to start thinking of mobile as one of their core marketing channels. Many retailers make the mistake of thinking that mobile is a one-off, short-term campaign that is going to deliver fast results in a cheap and easy fashion.
So who holds the mobile mantle in your business? Every business needs someone to take ownership and start to champion mobile internally to deliver the best customer experiences.
Mobile is a fantastic way to target on-the-go consumers and ensure a brand is visible, no matter what the target market is doing or what device they are using.
It’s not a quick fix, however. Mobile can be a slow burn and it must be considered a long-term investment – one that will be critical for business success in the upcoming years.
Take eBay for example; it is extremely successful in the mobile space and it’s because it put its money into investing in mobile early. It understood the shift that smartphones were going to provoke in consumers and began to prepare its business to accommodate this shift.
Obviously not everyone can be eBay, and not all retailers have a massive budget for marketing, but the point is that the mobile device is becoming the central control system in consumers’ lives. Many consumers would prefer to leave their wallet at home than their smartphone. It’s a very, very powerful tool.
I understand it is human nature to stick with what you know and it’s a common mistake made at board level to go with the status quo, because it’s what’s been done previously and it works. It’s so easy to think, ‘But what if it doesn’t work? How about we just stick with what we know has worked before, like our brochures?’
The problem with this mentality is consumer behaviour is changing so quickly that what has worked today, or last week, just may not have the same effect tomorrow and businesses need to keep up with these behaviours or risk being left behind.
There have been numerous reports created that show the high increase of ROI in mobile. It works, but you need to give it the attention it needs to execute an appropriate strategy. Don’t just put in money for mobile marketing – make it a core part of your business.
For those of you who are deciding to move into the mobile space, but may be worried about cost or the quality of your dedicated web infrastructure, I suggest moving your system into the cloud. There has been a massive shift over the last two to three years from dedicated infrastructure to organisations moving into the cloud, and it’s of great benefit to any organisation that takes mobile marketing seriously.
The cloud, when configured in line with best practices, allows your server system to scale infinitely-able to handle major increases in traffic during peak times. This is something that could have been avoided by the retailers involved in the Christmas Click Frenzy fiasco had they leveraged industry best practices. In case of a service disruption to a data centre, the cloud provides services that are across many regions to avoid downtime.
This is something that couldn’t have been achieved four years ago, but, more importantly, it could never have been achieved at the cost benefit that you can get now. For smaller businesses that are looking to invest but feel as though they can’t compete with the big retailers, this is the beauty of cloud computing.
Gone are the days where you had to create and build up a dedicated infrastructure and agree to a lengthy contract. Now even the smallest business can get started for as little as a couple of hundred dollars a month and this has really levelled the playing field.
The greatest characteristic of cloud computing infrastructure means it can expand as your business expands. Retailers don’t need to have million-dollar budgets anymore to set up a great customer experience online and on mobile.
So please, if you are seriously interested in investing in mobile and are dedicated to creating the best customer buying experience possible, then invest in a quality infrastructure, put together a serious mobile budget and strategy, and begin working with mobile as one of your core marketing strategies.