Everyone has a smartphone. That ubiquity has made mobile interactions a standard component of the buying process, forcing brands to understand the mobile customer journey. From checking in to a hotel via an app to ordering a car, we use our phones for everything now.
Even in product-based industries like retail and grocery stores, mobile plays an increasing role, and companies and franchises need to adapt.
In this post we’ll cover:
- What the mobile customer journey is
- What touch points are common for users to engage with
- Why organizations should be leveraging mobile technology to engage with their customers
Here we go!
What is the mobile customer journey?
As customers have become savvier, traditional sales funnels have begun to fail. A siloed approach toward the customer sales funnel (the process of transitioning someone from a prospect to a customer) just doesn’t work.
The problem is that organizational silos are built vertically – e.g. customer service is one silo, marketing is another, product is its own, digital experience is yet another, and so on.
But customers experience your silos horizontally.
Which means as customers move through them, their experience is likely to be inconsistent.
We’ve known this for a while, and organizations have made tremendous strides in reducing friction between silos with digital transformation efforts (think data sharing, etc…) to make a better customer journey.
And that brings us to the mobile customer journey. Organizations have begun to capitalize on the fact that a constant throughout a customer lifecycle isn’t necessarily their own website, product or service. Rather, it’s the customer’s phone.
What does a mobile customer journey look like?
Obviously, each company is going to be different. We can’t say ‘at XX stage of your buying cycle, all companies should provide XX experience for their customers’.
The world is just too varied.
But there are a few key principles to follow.
First, understand what your users want at a specific moment in the sales cycle. For instance, if someone is in the early stages of buying a new car, they probably don’t want lots of pricing information and 20% promotions served to them.
Rather, they probably want something like a needs calculator to help them work out what sort of car is going to work for them.
Second, you need to understand how that stage in the buying cycle—and how the customer’s needs—can be leveraged using mobile technology. For example, say you run a supermarket and you want to use mobile technology to drive cracker sales. You might geofence the cracker aisle and offer free Wi-Fi so that when users log in and approach the crackers they are automatically served a time-sensitive push notification with a cracker promotion. Track consumer data to get even more defined audiences and you can serve the message to say, anyone who’s purchased crackers in the last 12 months.
This is the sort of mental exercise you need to do in order to build a positive customer journey: understand customer needs at a specific point in the sales cycle, and then use your mobile arsenal to satisfy those needs.
Why go mobile?
Finally, let’s go over why mobile is worth this much effort. There are lots of different channels – in-store, online, over the phone – why does mobile get so much attention?
- Customers always have their phones. It’s as simple as that. A mobile journey can be crafted to deploy messages at more timely points in the buying cycle than any other tool or strategy.
- Mobile devices present new engagement opportunities. New technology like PWAs, geofencing, hybrid apps and VR/AR are all designed to leverage mobile technology. A solid mobile customer journey can future-proof an organization better than, say, a web journey.
- Mobile phones can be used to unite every other channel. Live chat, in-store, over the phone, text, web, app – it can all be run through a smartphone (and often is). A mobile customer journey strategy is necessary in many cases simply due to the fact that it’s where customers are going to notice discrepancies the most.
The age of siloed, discrete departments is over. Customers experience companies in idiosyncratic ways and use services far beyond departmental walls. What’s more, the expectation is that the experience, messaging and communications are consistent with each and every engagement.
Because we all rely on our smartphones to facilitate everything from buying a pair of pants online to reading reviews about a new car, a comprehensive mobile customer journey is a simple way to create a great experience for every customer, every single time.