Reinvent the Web to Win the Mobile Moment

Ted Schadler
Vice President, Principal Analyst
January 25, 2017

Last time, we talked about how your mobile website sucks. You and your agency partners took a valiant swing at fixing it using responsive web design techniques. But most of you did that without asking a critical question:

What are my customers trying to get done on their phones?

So you created one-size-fits-all responsive retrofits rather than reinventing your website for the way we live now — on our phones. That's not enough because:

  • Not everyone will use your app. Sorry. We hoped they would. They won't.
  • Your website is or will be majority mobile. Walmart had 70% of web traffic from phones. You need to deliver a mobile-perfect solution.

It's Time To Reconceive, Redesign, And Re-Architect The Web For Mobile Moments

There has to be a better way. We interviewed 59 companies that found have. Their better way, in summary, is to radically overhaul the web's 20-year-old publishing paradigm, and use app-like design and technology practices to deliver app-like mobile web experiences. Three quotes reveal the strategy: reconceive, redesign, and re-architect your site to deliver app-like mobile web experiences.
 
 
 
 
These mobile web experts have stopped being inside-out — and putting anything on the website that someone wants to publish. Instead, they are outside-in and relentlessly focused on helping customers meet their goals. They have reinvented their websites for mobile moments. It's not basic responsive web design. And it's not your old "m-dot" site. It's a thoroughly modern web experience purpose-built for phones. 
 
  • Reconceive the purpose of your mobile website. First, reinvent the purpose of the mobile website. What role does the mobile web play in your customer engagement? It's not the same as your desktop web, and it's perhaps similar, but not identical, to your mobile app. So instead of shrinking your desktop site down with responsive retrofits, start with a blank page, and understand what customers want when they visit your site on their phones. What is their context, and what is their goal? 
  • Redesign your mobile web for mobile moments. Next, reinvent the web design. Customers want mobile web experiences that are simple, immediate, and contextual. In the words of Wyndham Worldwide, mobile web experiences have to move from "clumsy to intuitive." If even 30% of your web traffic comes from phones, it's time to build and optimize two web front ends: one for phones and one for desktops. 
  • Re-architect your web technology for app-like experiences. You will also have to reinvent the technology to deliver app-like mobile web experiences. That means rebuilding big chunks of your website for mobile-first experiences. The best apps load in less than a second and refresh information in the background. People expect the same from mobile websites. Do that, and conversions will soar — Flipkart saw stickiness and conversions rise by more than 300% with its progressive web app, Flipkart Lite. (I believe the future of the web is progressive web app technology — it builds on responsive web design, but adds a whole lot more: home screen icons, web notifications, pre-loading of content for performance, for example).
 
The World Will Spend $1 Trillion By 2021 Reinventing The Web To Make It Mobile-First
 
You should plan to spend between 20% and 100% more on your digital experiences than you are today. It will be worth it if you can improve mobile engagement and conversion rates even a fraction of a percent.
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