Have you been looking at your web analytics data recently and seen a dramatic increase in traffic coming from mobile and tablet devices? Well you are not alone. Monetate Q4 2013 Ecommerce Quarter Report shows that more than a quarter of traffic to large e-commerce sites comes from a tablet or mobile.

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The question is – are you doing anything about it? Research from Econsultancy and Adobe shows that even now, two thirds of companies still haven’t implemented an effective mobile strategy.

Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it

As we enter this new mobile revolution I reminisce about where we were in the early 2000’s. The internet was just taking off and the overwhelming advice from gurus and experts was to create a website. The idea being that the mere fact of having a website would allow you to take advantage of the internet revolution and make big money. Evidently, this was a complete fallacy. It wasn’t just any company that was able to benefit from the internet in the early 2000’s. It was Dell, Intuit, Amazon, IHG, just to name a few, and today these companies are the market leaders in their respective industries.

So what did these companies do differently? Well, these companies cared about the customer experience and invested heavily in creating a better online experience for their customers. They were also all early adopters of leveraging Voice of the Customer (VoC) research to better understand the online experience.

With the mobile revolution, we are at a similar cross road. Marketers are constantly being told mobile is the next big thing and the hype is being further fueled with internet giants like Facebook paying top dollar for mobile companies – Facebook acquires messaging service in $19bn deal. But the biggest misconception is that having a mobile site will increase your sales. The companies that create the best mobile experiences for their customers will be successful and this goes hand in hand in conducting VoC research to truly understand your customers’ needs, wants and desires.

So here are 3 reasons why doing mobile VoC research is not just a nice to have but a must for companies that want to capitalize on the mobile revolution.

1. Web analytics only tells part of the story

One of the biggest pushbacks that I experienced back in the early 2000’s with doing digital qualitative research was that companies felt that they knew enough from their behavioral metrics alone. This is dead wrong. Behavioral metrics are definitely important but they only reveal what your visitors are doing on your site not WHY. From my 15 years of experience, by conducting VoC research you can engage with your visitors and dialog with them through a representative survey to understand their needs, wants and desires. Would you invest in a company if you only had a portion of the financial information? No, so don’t take the same risks when investing in your mobile site by relying solely on your web analytics data to understand the mobile customer experience.

2. VoC Research creates brand loyalty and promotes brand growth

One of the biggest advantages of VoC research is that it allows brands to interact directly with their customers – or potential customers, in the context of their current mobile experience. This gives your customers the chance to engage and respond to your brand, allowing them to participate in shaping the brand. Also by capturing insights in the Moment of Truth (i.e. the most critical time in their browsing/shopping experience) you are collecting the most relevant and reliable attitudinal research on their experience. Therefore, the research becomes an excellent portal through which brand loyalty can be increased, as well as a vehicle to listen to customer needs in order to stay ahead of the curve and promote brand growth.

3. Different platforms provide different experiences

Just because you are running a VoC study on your desktop site doesn’t mean you can use those insights to make decisions about your mobile site. It might seem obvious but:

different platform = different intent = different experience

For example, I might visit the same website on two different platforms, my mobile and my laptop, but have extremely different reasons for visiting. I could visit the site on my mobile device to research a product but go to the site on my laptop to buy. Therefore, just relying on my desktop research to help me understand my mobile visitors is going to lead the wrong decisions to be made in relation to creating and shaping the mobile experience.

Understand the experience with mobile research

Conversion rates for mobile are still low for most businesses. Just like in the early 2000’s this figure only suggests there is a unique opportunity for companies to gain a significant upper hand on their competitors early on in the game by better understanding the customer experience through a mobile VoC research study. Yet as discussed in reason #3 above, this figure could also suggest that the purposes for visiting your mobile website might be really different than the conversion you had in mind. It is is imperative to understand why visitors are visiting your mobile site and not just try and replicate the content and UX from desktop to mobile.