Are You Getting Ahead or Falling Behind?
As new technologies are adapted by consumers they become not only a part of our day to day lives, but are interwoven into the fabric of our society. New technology drives our culture, our economy and our businesses. In the 1980’s we saw the first of a series of personal electronic devices that would permanently change the world around us.
Image via Crunch Base
"Every business should be thinking about building mobile applications today. It's not a fad or passing trend. It's customer service."
The widespread use of the personal computer changed the way businesses and organizations store and manage data. When computers became a standard accessory in many homes and businesses we were introduced to the world wide web allowing individuals to connect with data and information from anywhere in the world. The most successful businesses and organizations quickly found that they could take advantage of this new technology to make information from a remote location available to anyone with a computer and an internet connection.
Eventually the Wall Street dot com boom went bust, but the internet was here to stay and today’s successful businesses still use this technology to their advantage. By 2000 your business or organization was expected to have their own web page so we were introduced to a new question.
“Can you hear me now?”
Everyone had a cell phone and they went from being a helpful device for communication to a fashion accessory. They had fancy names like “The Razor” and you could get a case to match every outfit. While businesses and organizations found the technology useful, consumers were building a relationship with their phones. “Texting” became a verb. Cell phone companies raced to the market with the latest technologies and soon the smartphone was born.
Suddenly for many people their iPhone became their iFriend. Now they could talk to their phone and it would answer! The smartphone also put the power of a PC in consumers’ pockets, but while web pages could be viewed over a smart phone there was a problem. Web pages were designed for computers. They were hard to see on smartphones, difficult to load and even harder to use. As is usually the case frustration lead to innovation and forward thinking businesses adapted to the Mobile App.
"Why are small business owners eager to invest in mobile marketing? Their top motivations were:
Provide better service to existing customers (38 percent)
Attract more local customers (36 percent)
Gain competitive advantage (34 percent)"
While Mobile Apps can serve the same functionality as a web page, they are also designed to do so much more! Mobile Apps work with your iPhone or Android's operating systema and therefore work with the native functionality of the phone. By working with the GPS, camera and other native phone features Apps do things web pages could never dream of. And since native Apps are programmed to work with the mobile device's operating system, Apps also run faster and better than traditional websites and therefore customers prefer mobile Apps.
"Mobile tools such as smartphones, tablets, netbooks and laptop computers are now a primary source of Internet connectivity in highly developed nations...The latest surveys of American adults by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project show that nearly two-thirds connect to the Web via a smartphone, tablet computer, or an on-the-go laptop computer." MSN.COM
The is best demonstrated by Facebook. Facebook is the largest, most visited website in the world. But do you know how most Facebook users access their account with their mobile device? They don’t use the smart phone’s browser, they use a mobile app designed specifically for Facebook. Do you know why? Because Facebook, one of the world’s leaders in innovation, understands that consumers want convenience and ease of use. Providing only a web page is not sufficient to satisfy today’s consumers.
As technology changes so does society. The catch phrase “Can you hear me now?” has been replaced with the statement, “There’s an app for that!” The simple conversion from a question to a statement indicates that consumers have changed their expectations from a request to a demand. Your customers, members, employees, volunteers, and fans want you to have an app. They need to be able to access the information they want through their mobile device. Convenience to them now means mobile accessibility and you will be expected to have it. Businesses and organizations that fail to adapt early will soon find themselves struggling to catch up.