Digital transformation was recently a buzzword used during C-level business discussions. Planning a company’s digital future is part of the C-suite’s job, but for many brands, planning rather than action is where the conversations around transformation ended. Then COVID-19 hit, and suddenly, digital transformation became the singular focus for every team even remotely close to impacting a brand’s online experience. The world changed in a snap, and brands who were only beginning to implement their digital futures were years behind, overnight.

It’s been well documented by Mary Meeker and others that, in our post-COVID world, the best performing businesses are those gaining efficiencies through digitization. McKinsey predicts that for many companies to survive the rest of 2020 and beyond, the only option is to accelerate their digital transformation. CFO claims that digital transformation is now a “business requirement” rather than a conversation starter.

Digital transformation

By now, we all constantly discuss our plans for our digital presence. We’re used to reading about the “new normal” for consumers and synthesizing shifts to purchasing behavior in applicable ways for our companies. Our teams have broken down operating silos to reach a new, shared goal: prioritizing the digital consumer. We also see that strong mobile products and digital presence is what will catapult brands ahead through the next few years. But surprisingly, creating mobile-first offerings isn’t always a focal point in our conversations.

This post explores why you should take a mobile-first approach to your digital transformation strategy, regardless of your industry.

What does it mean to be mobile first?

Mobile first doesn’t mean mobile only. It means that the product focus has shifted to prioritize mobile as the main consumer channel, with others coming secondary.

In a mobile-first strategy, a brand’s digital presence is designed for mobile devices first and desktop second. Technology that is specific to mobile consumers—and typically unavailable on desktop—is prioritized in mobile-first strategies, including location data, screen size, camera functionality, and data collection.

Mobile-first design

There are myriad benefits of mobile-first strategies, including:

  • Mobile devices are personal, and so are consumer usage patterns. This insight and use of individual-based data allows for more personalized experiences.
  • Customer loyalty increases due to a more customized, individual experience.
  • Brand information has to be simplified to fit a smaller screen and shorter consumer attention span.
  • Responsive designs so that consumers using any platform can have a beautiful experience with your offerings.

This matters because most worldwide consumers have already gone mobile. 72.6 percent of internet users will access the web solely via their smartphones by 2025. This stat was published in 2019, and we can only imagine how COVID’s forced acceleration of consumer digital adoption has sped up the prediction.

3 reasons mobile drives digital transformation

Digital transformation is all about the customer

Sales follow the traffic. As we already explored, consumers are already using their mobile devices to engage with your brand, and the better your mobile digital presence is, the more likely you are to drive revenue.

Mobile also offers incredible opportunities for brands to build personal relationships with their customers. Google research shows that consumers who use mobile are goal oriented, meaning they expect to get what they need from the experience in a quick and frictionless manner. Knowing that mobile customers expect minimal fluff and prefer an easy-to-navigate experience opens the door to many, many personalization channels desktop experiences don’t offer. It might make your brand revisit its current purchase flow and reprioritize high-value consumer actions, but the work will pay off.

Digital transformation improves customer experience

Companies hoping to stay relevant and competitive through mobile channels need to ruthlessly incorporate the customer into their decisions. This requires changing customer centricity from a theoretical discussion into an action. The only way to get your team to take action on customer centricity is to make sure they have access to information that allows them to make informed decisions, not guesses. But unfortunately, most brands only hear from less than one percent of their mobile customer base, which means the feedback they act on doesn’t accurately represent the majority of their customers.

The silent majority

A focus on mobile-first digital transformation allows brands to hear from more of their customers within the right place and time within their app(s). The key is being proactive in asking for customer feedback rather than waiting for them to raise their hands, and to ask at the right moment within your digital experience in order to give conversations the best opportunity to begin. If you’re not proactively asking for feedback, you’re leaving an opportunity on the table to keep your finger on the pulse of your app customers, improve customer happiness, and boost your bottom line.

Digital transformation relies on customer feedback

If you’re trying to predict the future through customer feedback, a mobile-first strategy is your best bet.

Many mobile customers feel that providing feedback is simply too time consuming, too annoying, and too much of a hassle. It’s much easier for them to simply uninstall your app and move on to the next alternative. Conversely, app publishers may feel overwhelmed by the idea of collecting feedback from too many of their app’s customers because they aren’t confident in their abilities to make sense of it in a way that can help drive their product roadmap. But it doesn’t have to be this hard. There are easier ways to gather customer feedback and turn it into your app’s biggest strength, unique only to your business.

At Apptentive, we leverage a six-step process to help our customers gauge their feedback strengths and weaknesses:

  1. Meet the customer where they are
  2. Communicate proactively
  3. Build a two-way feedback loop
  4. Respond to customer feedback
  5. Let feedback drive your product roadmap
  6. Leverage customer feedback tools

Your steps may look different depending on your starting point, but regardless of what you add to your digital transformation strategy, make sure you connect your feedback channels and touchpoints to center around one thing: the mobile customer

It’s your turn

As you continue forming your digital transformation strategy for this year and the future, it’s imperative that you prioritize your mobile channel. Our experience with economic shutdown and product availability in 2020 has forever changed how humans communicate and do business. Even when the dust settles, there’s no going back to where we started digitally.

Consumers everywhere have had new experiences that will forever shape their preferences and habits. If your brand is to thrive digitally, it’s time for the mobile channel to become your number one focus.

Read more: Mobile ‘Priorities’ That Just Aren’t Worth It, According to Entrepreneurs