As I’ve mentioned in the past, mobile is the fastest growing trend in history. In fact, I just read a study that puts smartphone adoption in the U.S. at over 50%.
When you consider that the iPhone was first released in 2007, that is an absolutely mind-blowing statistic. In nearly 6 years, smartphones (as we know them today) have gone from 0 – 50% adoption.
Today, I’d like to go a step beyond the growing mobile trend. I’d like to examine trends created by the rise of smartphones and tablets. Specifically, I’d like to focus on ways mobile is changing business.
1. 24/7 is getting longer
I know what you’re thinking. “How can 24/7 get any longer?”
Let me explain.
Suppose you own a brick and mortar business that’s open 24/7. Now, suppose your average customer has a family, works a 9-5 job, and sleeps 6-8 hours a night. That doesn’t leave much time to shop at your store. While your store may never close, that customer’s available “purchasing hours” aren’t nearly 24/7. They’re hovering somewhere around 3 – 4 hours.
What happens if you also created an eCommerce website for your business? While the website does expand your customer’s purchasing hours, it’s still somewhat limiting. Customers can’t buy from you unless they’re in front of a computer with an internet connection. How long do your customers sit in front of a computer? Assuming they work an office job, that’s about 8 – 10 hours (on the high end).
Now, what happens if you create a mobile app for your business? Your customers can buy from you anytime and anywhere. Think about it: A smartphone is a small, always-connected computer that your customers carry around everywhere. With a mobile presence, your customers can purchase from, or interact with you as soon as the thought enters their mind.
Case in point: I bought printer ink the other day. On my way home…while stopped at a red light. In the past, I would’ve had to remember to buy it when I got home. Now, I can buy as soon as I think about it.
The question is: Where is your business when a customer or potential prospect needs you?
Mobile gives businesses an incredible opportunity to reach their customers and prospects regardless of time or location. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a services company, or you sell physical products. Your customers and prospects need to interact with you.
How are you using mobile to reach more customers?
2. Tools are making a comeback
I remember hearing business leaders complain about the difficulty of keeping up with technology. That was 5 years ago. That was before mobile became big.
Can you imagine what those same businesses are saying today?
All of a sudden, IT departments face the daunting challenge of building applications that not only work across all browsers, but across all devices as well. Businesses find themselves needing an ever growing array of skills.
These factors combine to create a new trend that I’ve noticed over the past year or so: A renewed push towards development tools/platforms. Realizing that they can’t keep up, businesses are now opting for development tools/platforms that let them create applications for all platforms.
Side note: If your company is looking for a development tool, here’s a short article that explains important elements to consider.
3. Design is taking center stage
For better or worse, mobile has changed user’s perceptions on how software should look and behave. Users now expect intuitive, exceptionally-designed interfaces all of the time. If your software/application doesn’t meet their rising expectations, they’ll move on.
Now, some developers might make the mistake of saying, “I don’t develop consumer-facing applications, so design isn’t as important.” I’m sorry, but that’s just not true. Businesses already face the very real problem of “Shadow IT”, in which end users bypass IT altogether and use unsanctioned cloud-based software. If your applications don’t meet your user’s expectations, what’s stopping them from moving on?
The fact is, it’s no longer good enough to build great software or applications. While wildly inaccurate, users are increasingly assuming that poor design equates to bad software. That may be false, but unfortunately, they won’t stick around long enough to learn otherwise.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying design is the most important element of development. In fact, I strongly believe that architecture holds that title. My point is this: In today’s design-centric world, you need both. Your software must have great architecture AND great design if you hope to succeed.
Mobile is one of the biggest and most important tech trends we’ve ever experienced. It’s changing, and will continue to change, the business world as you know it. I’ve only listed 3 mobile-driven trends that I’ve noticed recently, but there are many more. What would you add to the list?