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Four types of mobile Web experiences to offer customers

January 4, 2011

By Jonathan Dunn

Jonathan Dunn

Jonathan Dunn

Essential in the development of your mobile Web site are decisions about the type of experience you can and want to offer your customers.

Each potential experience can be linked to your business and brand objectives. And there is no reason why any particular approach should not be viewed as an evolutionary step towards a deep mobile Web experience.

Here is a survey of four types of mobile Web experiences you can offer your customers:

The conversion-led approach prioritizes customer acquisition.

Generally speaking, you are looking at mobile as a channel extension of your CRM or promotions funnel.

These sites could be mobile-optimized versions of your contest micro-sites or loyalty programs. And it is likely they are having traffic driven to them via other channels – either mobile such as SMS and mobile advertising or through non-interactive media prompts including print or television ads.

It is fair to say that the conversion-led approach is more akin to a landing page strategy where light-weight sites are used to provide a frictionless continuation of a brand experience.

Key to a successful conversion-led approach is appreciation and iron-willed adherence to a customer-centric value exchange.

Make it very clear what you want consumers to do. Give them an offer that makes it worth their while. Make the design experience suit the medium.

This approach is arguably the best starting point for any brand marketer looking for a sustained mobile presence.

It sets a foundation that can be easily built upon. Its intent is to address the most pressing needs for the widest variety of customers.

The essence of the look-up-led approach is the recognition that a customer visiting your site on her mobile phone is most likely to find a very specific piece of information which she can they apply to her daily tasks or current circumstances.

Contact or location information would be the best example of this, but it would also include price or schedule checking or other product background information such as nutrition information, for example, if you are a restaurant chain or consumer packaged goods company.

With a transaction-led approach you are focussing on driving product purchase. That may mean enabling on device transactions.

But it can also be about increasing purchase intent through more immersive product experiences or bridging customers from device to retail through incentives or concierge-like interactions.

Consumer comfort with on-device transactions is definitely on the rise and you can encourage that behavior by porting familiar shopping chart cues to your mobile site.

Existing account authentication, transaction security and clear progress metering are important. Customer support channels should be prominently displayed and will minimize shopping cart abandonment.

Having on-device ordering with in-store pick up is a complementary feature to direct on-device commerce and one that also stands up well on its own.

Many customers may come to your site with look-up intent. Price comparisons or inventory availability may be their initial focus but by allowing customers to reserve goods on device and schedule pick up at their preferred location can turn window shopping into revenue.

You can also manage that clicks-to-bricks experience through mobile couponing where site visitors can unlock coupons good for their next visit.

Publishers, TV networks and others whose business is based on producing a steady stream of content are the obvious candidates for this approach. But they are not the only ones.

The content-led approach can be the evolution of the look-up-led approach and a companion to the transaction-led approach.

The main attributes of this approach are well-structured category architecture, a deep and searchable content library, multichannel sharing including email, SMS and social media and multimedia content formats.

A content-led approach also benefits from allowing visitors to specify content preferences.

While easier to do on a native application, a minimalist registration option can allow for saved preferences and make for meaningful and frequent visits. That can be a real benefit if you are looking to monetize your content through advertising.

YOUR OWN mobile Web presence may not fit neatly into just one of these categories.

As I mentioned with the content-led approach, combining elements of each may make the most sense given your business and marketing objectives.

What should be front and center regardless of the chosen approach is an evolutionary view where initial efforts are monitored and visitor traffic data is fed back into your content and design strategies and implementations.

The mobile Web is becoming increasingly important and many expect it to overtake native applications as the primary source of customer mobile data consumption. Be prepared. Take advantage.

Jonathan Dunn is manager of mobile marketing solutions at Digital Cement, Toronto. Reach him at

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