Marketers Need To Focus On Mobile Moments When Designing Apps

Marketers need to stop viewing mobile as another channel like the Web and begin focusing on mobile moments to help consumers along the path to purchase. They also need to budget apps properly, because the cost of reengineering back-end systems is typically higher than expected. In fact, 80% of the cost for most mobile projects goes into reengineering back-end systems, not designing the mobile site, per Josh Bernoff, SVP of idea development at Forrester Research.

Building an application may seem difficult -- but it's not nearly as challenging as tying together the company's back-end systems to carry out the tasks smoothly. "I've never seen a larger gap between what people want to do and what they're able to do as I do today," Bernoff said, suggesting it all comes down to a "mobile moment."

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Bernoff defines a "mobile moment" as any frustrating moment along a customer's path to purchase that a feature on a mobile device can help resolve. The brand has mere seconds to solve a customer's or client's problem and earn their loyalty at the moment they need help.

"Home Depot announced they would spend $300 million to reengineer their in-store delivery systems and mobile, and the next quarter they realized it was more like $1 billion," Bernoff said. "Once the systems are changed they will access much more granular information."

On Thursday at Forrester's conference in Anaheim, Calif., Forrester Research Analyst Megan Burns pointed to Delta Airlines' mobile app that allows consumers to quickly rebook flights in the event theirs are canceled before making their connecting flight. "That's an example of a mobile moment where they're succeeding," Bernoff said. "Starbucks also does well with mobile moments. Interestingly, these companies know their customers better who use their mobile app. You can't use these features without signing up for their loyalty programs."

Mobile moments create a change in thinking in defining who the customer is, what the moments are when they have problems, and how mobile can be used to solve their problems, Bernoff said.

Mobile is often the conduit to help research products, not necessarily to make a purchase. For example, a new feature in the Neiman Marcus mobile app allows consumers to snap a photo, search for a similar item, and purchase it. The technology matches photos to help consumers connect with must-have handbag or shoes. The app initiates the journey to purchase -- a mobile moment helping the consumer find something similar they like.

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