It has become as important today to offer a mobile experience as it is to deliver your website. But how do you simplify the delivery of that mobile experience in the context of the overall customer engagement?

We’ve come a long way since the release of the first IBM Simon smartphone in 1992. Web access is now a standard feature in even the most bare-bones mobile device, and mobile apps are a multi-billion dollar business. And while smartphones remain hot connectivity tools, tablets have made a strong entrance into the market. According to Gartner Inc., by 2013 mobile devices will overtake computers as the most common tool for web access worldwide.

As such, it is imperative that businesses extend their reach to a growing mobile population. Of course with these new opportunities come heavy implications: Make the user experience seamless and you create advocates for your brand and generate return business. Fail to deliver, and you drive the user to a competitor who is only a “swipe” away.

Engage Across All Touchpoints

In order to maintain brand loyalty and customer retention, consumers should experience seamless engagement across multiple touchpoints. If the experience is fragmented by a failure to close the gap between the customer and the business, users will turn to a competitor. It comes down to this: How do companies differentiate themselves in this rapidly shifting mobile landscape? By delivering a superior experience to the end user.

And just as the consumer should have a seamless experience, enabling that experience should be just as easy behind the scenes. Businesses have to empower marketing and IT professionals to manage the experience their companies deliver intuitively without overwhelming them with multi-faceted mobile device support.

Optimize the Mobile Experience

An important first step towards creating an optimized mobile experience is for the business to understand what information or services customers are looking for on their mobile devices. What content do they need and where and when do they need it? How can a company make it easy for customers to do business with them? If customers want to share their experiences with you or their friends, how can you help them do that? Measurement and analytics technologies can help organizations pinpoint and analyze these kinds of behaviors. In some cases, it’s unrealistic to assume that all online content can be available on a cell phone, but by determining what’s most useful to customers who are on the go, organizations can meet customer expectations and deliver outstanding experiences.

Along with knowing what content customers wish to access, companies should determine details about the types of devices customers are using in order to deliver content that’s optimized for their specific phone or tablet to ensure the best experience. For example, applications should be able to interact with a vast range of screen sizes and screen resolutions, be prepared to handle various interaction patterns for touch screens, as well as distinct input sources such as cameras and GPS. Since the mobile market changes at lightning speed, information on the types of devices customers are using should be updated at least each quarter with qualitative and quantitative feedback. While this may seem like an overwhelming amount of information to collect and process, there are tools that can automatically provide details about the devices used to access your mobile apps and sites.

Companies can gain a competitive advantage through the optimal platform to engage with mobile customers.

Optimize the Mobile Design Process

Regardless of the device, when designing for optimal mobile experiences, it is vital to close the gap between all users involved within and outside an organization. If managing an organization’s customer experience is cumbersome and complicated, the end product usually suffers and the end user can tell. Conversely, experiences that can be intuitively managed by the business people in charge translate into optimized and engaging experiences for consumers. Organizations can empower their workforce by consolidating vendors and platforms involved in the process and providing tools that effectively simplify the authoring of mobile experiences.

Along those lines, employees involved in managing a company’s mobile presence should have a baseline that helps them consistently optimize experiences. Namely, the workload can be simplified by equipping workers with the right tools. Look for tools that support easily re-purposing content originally optimized for desktops and provide previews of content on various mobile devices.

Consider a Holistic Approach to Authoring Content

Finally, in order to future proof a brand, organizations should consider taking a holistic approach when authoring web content. Instead of designing web content with traditional desktop users primarily in mind, realize that mobile, social and cloud-based experiences have emerged as equally if not more important.

Final Thoughts

Despite the confirmed boom of the mobile market, according to Forrester, only 18 percent of companies directly engage in mobile strategies. By creating a distinguished mobile experience for customers, organizations can differentiate themselves from the competition and keep those customers coming back, or better yet, convert them into advocates for the brand.