Mobile Musings: Limited Response
Mobile devices have changed consumers’ shopping experiences. They’re browsing from not only devices with different screen sizes, but from devices with fundamentally different contexts.
A common approach to overcoming the challenge of engaging users across devices is responsive web design (RWD), which enables brands to offer users optimized experiences based on the mobile device they’re using without having to create different and separate websites. RWD is a set of templates designed and coded to work on all devices, flowing from screen size to screen size, which equates to delivering the same number of templates and data being sent to mobile devices.
Giveth and Taketh Away
RWD’s strength of encapsulating many different experiences into a single site, however, is also its biggest limitation. While the visual style of a page can be readily manipulated, the structure of the content itself cannot be, giving marketers limited options to customize experiences for mobile consumers.
Now more than ever, retailers must consider how to create experiences for their customers rather than designing for screens. The goal of delivering contextually relevant experiences is one of mobile’s big promises that remain unfulfilled today. The ability to leverage not only the time of day and a user’s location — which brands are getting better at all the time — but also a user’s behavior and preferences is key to strong contextual relevance.
However, mobile forces painful tradeoffs and decisions for retailers. They include the following:
- Do you add media to enrich a user’s experience even if it slows page load time?
- Do you personalize the content for returning visitors even if you can’t cache it, thus slowing down the page?
- Should you load essential content as fast as possible, even though it might cause stutter or delay later in the session?
Although many tools help with pieces of the process — e.g., mobile automation, mobile analytics, mobile performance acceleration — as a marketing leader you want to rely on one solution that complements your existing RWD investment without the need to start over or to add more technical resources to the equation.
3 Dimensions of Optimization
I think of mobile experience optimization (MEO) along three dimensions: screen adaptation, conversion optimization and delivery acceleration.
- Screen adaptation: adapting your content or application to the screen size of the target device, whether iPhone or Android, tablet or phone.
- Conversion optimization: creating the optimal mobile experience for each audience and context, woven from the best combination of content, flow and interaction. (And, of course, balancing conversion against brand, satisfaction and customer retention goals.)
- Delivery acceleration: maximizing the actual and perceived speed of experience delivery, including the speed of interaction response. The heavier a website is, the longer it will take to load. Faster pages convert better, and delivery acceleration is a critical piece of MEO. In fact, 64 percent of smartphone users expect websites to load in four seconds or less.
As consumers increase their use of mobile devices to engage and transact with retailers, it’s critical for businesses to allocate more time and resources to MEO. Going beyond simple screen adaptation for mobile experiences and adopting conversion optimization and delivery acceleration techniques is key to improving customer lifetime value. Equipping your brand with the right MEO platform to enable this is an important part of the process.
The right MEO platform can help you improve and react faster, as well as deliver engaging user experiences that drive conversion, satisfaction and loyalty. As we enter the critical holiday season, mobile shoppers will spend even more time making instant purchases. Brands will only have one opportunity to engage and convert these prospects. Only MEO can ensure that your brand is ready for the mobile consumer.
Haresh Kumar is vice president of marketing for Moovweb, a cloud-based mobile platform that delivers experiences optimized for any device.