While Apple may still lead the smartphone charge, they aren’t the only player in town -- and you shouldn’t assume that your consumers are all on the same device. Moving forward, responsive design will be a must have for mobile sites, the site that’s designed for optimal viewing no matter which mobile or tablet device is being used.
Consumers are simply going to lose patience with sites that fail to keep pace. Gone are the days of resizing, scrolling and otherwise struggling to view a site depending on the size of your computer or device screen.
Not only are consumers no longer using the same mobile device, they aren’t accessing your site from just one channel. PCs rule the work day, tablets are used in the evening and phones are always there.
Whether it’s online or offline, mobile or PC, marketing efforts and promotional offerings must be fully integrated with an on-the-go user in mind. This means meshing these two worlds by doing things such as introducing mobile devices and tablets to the in-store experience (as a way for consumers to browse and engage) and mapping online and offline shopping profiles.
Trend 3: Seamless Experiences Across all Channels
Thanks to e-commerce evolution, we’re now in the possession of multiple channels to reach consumers, an era that is both a blessing and a curse. But there is no stopping it: consumers expect a completely seamless shopping experience no matter where they are -- at their desktops, on their smartphones and tablets, or on social pages and sites. Thankfully, with emerging tools and technologies, it’s now easier to integrate CRM and multichannel data across all brand touch points.
The phenomenon of "Big Data," while overhyped to some, will actually be a very powerful trend if companies can harness its power and use it wisely. Essentially, if a brand can measure, analyze and directly translate this knowledge into improved decision-making and customer experiences, it will drive improved business performance.
Most businesses have an abundance of useful data, however very few are using this data to provide targeted individual experiences at the right time in order to respond to savvy consumers’ needs. In the coming year, expect to see more brands getting a handle on this to offer customers more targeted offers across all channels, in real-time.
Probably one of the most important channels we’ll see come of age is social media. Because for far too long, marketers have treated social media as an island from the rest of their strategy -- and in turn, have not reaped any benefits of it being a useful sales tool. Going forward, we’ll see more brands using social data to personalize experiences on the website, as well as applying testing and personalization to their own Facebook pages.
In the end, consumers are a mixed bag of personalities, demographics, geographies and psycho-graphics. Every specific piece of data you can gain about each of them, across multiple channels (especially on-the-go channels) is going to be used to create better online experiences.
With the continual evolution of consumers and the emergence of new technologies, we have no choice but to keep revolutionizing the way we optimize the customer experience, and continue finding vital keys to long-term brand engagement and loyalty. I’m looking forward to seeing what really pans out in 2013.