Tag Archives: mobile site

The utility company of the future is mobile – today.

electric meter

Virtually everyone in the world is mobile.

That’s a fact.

We spend more time with our mobile devices, than we do our spouses and children.

Sad, but true.

But since we are inextricably tied to these devices, and use them obsessively, it only makes sense that brands should cater to this behavior.

I’m not saying that brands should make us more drone-like, such that we never put our devices down.

What I am saying is that since we seem to draw greater and greater utility from them, brands that understand user behavior, can benefit themselves significantly by paying attention to this trend.

Think about it.

Before you used to have to go to the bank to make a deposit.

And you could only do it during banking hours.

Then came ATMs and you could deposit funds even when the bank was closed.

Today, you don’t even have to leave your house to make a deposit.

You can simply snap a photo of your check with the banking app on your mobile phone and you’re done.

The banking industry paid attention to it’s users and came up with solutions that met them and technology where they were.

A similar opportunity exists for utility companies.

Back in the day, if you had a problem with your service, you’d have to go down to the utility company, take a number, and wait in line to actually speak to someone.

Because lord knows that calling them was a massive waste of time.

A year ago, the best you could do was log into your utility company’s website from your desktop computer to check your bill, input a meter reading or schedule an appointment.

But today, you can pay your bill, connect or disconnect service and input a meter reading all from your mobile phone.

No longer are you tethered to a computer to accomplish basic (and sometimes fairly sophisticated) tasks, you can perform these things on the go.

You’re probably wondering, “why is this fool blathering on about the utility company?

I’ll tell you why.

I just paid my PSE&G bill, sitting in my boxers on my phone.

No. I was not sitting on my phone.

I was on my phone, while I was sitting in my boxers.

Whatever.

My point is that we’re seeing a wave where more and more businesses, especially businesses which offer utilitarian value (banking, utilities, cable) streamlining their offerings for mobile.

And consumers are becoming increasingly discerning about who they patronize, and making these decisions based on how well they meet their mobile needs.

I can tell you that I’m automatically turned off by any brand that doesn’t have a mobile website.

And I don’t just mean doesn’t have a mobile website, but one that auto-detects that I’m using a mobile device and renders the appropriate screen.

So you can imagine my glee in discovering the PSE&G had made the leap to mobile.

I wonder how many more utility companies are following suit.

If your’s isn’t – shame on them.

But I’d imagine that it isn’t far off.

 

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WTF!? It’s 2015. Get a f*@!ing mobile site already!

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I’m f*@!ing pissed!

Why?

I’ll tell you why.

Because it’s 2015 – 2015!! and motherfuckers are still making me view their shitty full sites on my mobile device.

Even though there are more than 6.9 billion mobile subscribers in the world and the fact that mobile browsing has overtaken desktop browsing, less than ten percent of the 700 million websites are optimized for mobile.

So that means even with my beautiful 6 Plus, I’ve still got to double tap, pinch and swipe to view the content of most sites on my phone.

I don’t get it.

Why wouldn’t you want your content to be viewed in a way that is readily consumable by your audience?

I mean, you built a website to put your stuff in front of potential customers, right?

So doesn’t it make sense, now that you know that everyone on the globe has – and regularly uses – a mobile device, to build a mobile site.

Or at the very least optimize your content to be accessible to mobile devices?

There are countless benefits for making a mobile version of your site.

Simpler navigation.

Prominently placed calls to action.

Streamlined options.

Leveraging the utility of native mobile browsers.

Click-to-call.

The majority of which is lost if you’re forcing your users to contend with a full HTML site.

Trust me, if you built a mobile site, you’d have far more engagement and conversions than you currently do.

Don’t believe me?

Check out your analytics.

See how many visits you’re currently getting from mobile browsers.

I’d put money on the fact that you’ve got more visits from mobile browsers, Android and iPhone devices than anything else.

What does it all mean?

It means that if you customize the browsing experience for folks visiting your site from mobile devices, you’re going to see decreased bounce rates, increased time on site, increased page views, potentially higher conversions and more revenue.

It’s a win-win!

If you require convincing that a mobile site is the way to go, you’re probably of the ilk that thought radios, the telephone, and the Internet were passing fads.

If you, on the other hand, know you need a mobile site and don’t know where to start, hit me up and I’ll put you on the right path.

But whatever you do, for the love of God, get a mobile site – STAT!

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Filed under advocacy, mobile, opinion

Home Shopping Apps. HSN’s got the goods. Literally.

Home shopping on steroids!

I’m not an avid shopper.

Every once in a while, I’ll hit the store to pick up an item or two.

Most of my shopping is done online, and in response to a real need.

Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, etc., are when my shopping cap goes on, and I generally handle my business.

So shopping (outside of essentials) is never high on my list of priorities.

But that’s just me.

There’s a whole other world of shoppers, who take shopping very seriously: the home shopper.

If you’re into home shopping, then anytime is a good time to shop.

If there’s a bargain, you’re looking for it.

While shopping used to require getting into the car and heading to a mall, strip mall, flea market, or consignment store, the home shopper now has a number of different outlets for getting their shopping on (and I’m not talking catalogues either).

QVC, HSN and ShopNBC are probably some of the most well known brands in home shopping.

They’ve each got channels devoted entirely to giving shoppers steep discounts on everything from watches to sewing machines.

They also have websites, which allow visitors to browse items featured on the network, as well as other special offers.

But more importantly, each of them has a branded app, which allows you to shop directly from your iPhone, iPad or Android device, while you’re away from your television or home computer.

ShopNBC does the best job of promoting the fact that they’ve got apps.

ShopNBC does the best job of letting you know they've got apps.

The link to the iOS or Android version of their app is conspicuously located in the bottom left corner of the home page, alongside ShopNBC’s other social media links.

Although you’ve got to scroll to the bottom of the page to see this section, the iPhone and Android logos point to the fact that they’ve got apps.

And while they don’t promote the fact that they’ve got a mobile version of their site too, they do.

HSN’s apps are promoted in a similar fashion as ShopNBC, but not quite as well.

Although it's not explicit, HSN lets you know they've got something for mobile.

The mobile phone logo, appears in a banner below the fold of the page, under the title “HSN Everywhere”.

But where HSN falls short in the visual promotion, it more than makes up for it with the breadth and depth of it’s mobile app offering.

HSN has apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android phones and tablets, Nokia, Windows Mobile 7 and offers a mobile web version of their site and an SMS service.

QVC does the worst job of promoting the fact that it’s got a mobile offering.

C'mon QVC! You've got to do better than this! Site map, really?

The link to their mobile app is buried in the site map, located at the bottom of the home page, with no icons and even less fanfare.

QVC only offers an iPhone version of their app, and they don’t have a mobile site at all.

I took each of the apps for a test drive to see how well they were built.

I didn’t buy anything mind you, but I did check out what they had to offer.

As expected, each of the apps let you to make in-app purchases.

They also have a ‘watch now’ or ‘live’ feature that lets you to follow along with the network programming directly from your device.

There is a short time delay between the live show and the mobile version, but it’s not material.

But there are material differences in how the live viewing options work on the respective apps.

HSN does the best job for a few reasons, including the fact that it utilizes the accelerometer of the iOS devices, allowing you to watch in both landscape and portrait modes.

HSN's app is the hands down fave!

The menus and content streams, that frame the viewing area, adjust, letting you expand or collapse the screen to watch in full screen/partial screen mode.

While HSN gives you multiple viewing options, ShopNBC’s live viewing is only viewable in full screen landscape mode.

And unlike the HSN app, you’ve got to quit the video, in order to interact with any other content on their app.

QVC’s iPhone app works similarly to HSN’s and is viewable in both landscape or portrait mode.

In landscape mode, the dash slides away letting you watch full screen.

Sorry QVC, but watching TV on the iPhone simply isn't the move. Make an iPad app!

But after experiencing HSN and ShopNBC’s apps in the larger form factor of the iPad, watching QVC’s show on the iPhone was markedly underwhelming.

Each of these apps had their pluses. But hands down, HSN is clearly the most progressive and forward thinking of these home shopping networks.

They have the most comprehensive suite of options for accessing their brand.

Notwithstanding my critiques, each of these brands are clearly thinking about how to help shoppers get the most out of their connected devices.

And at the end of the day, if you’re a ‘shoppy’, you should be over the moon!

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Filed under apps, branding, iPad, iPhone, mobile, opinion, technology

Why don’t you have a mobile site yet?

Here is the mobile version of my blog.

I met with a potential client today, and they were very excited to show me the site that they had recently released.

The site had a nice stylish design, but when viewed from my iPhone, I was looking at the exact same site – and NOT a mobile site.

Now, of course, I offered my unsolicited advice regarding the utility of a site, not optimized for mobile devices, and the growing trend of search from mobile devices.

This experience underscores what I have observed in most of the brands I interact with.

Many have failed to adopt a mobile web strategy.

I’m certain that this ‘oversight’ stems from the fact that mobile is still not perceived as a significant element in most brand’s marketing mix.

While apps may be all the rage, they really only apply to a small swath of devices, primarily iPhone, Android and Blackberry devices.

Other internet capable devices, or users who haven’t downloaded your app (or aren’t aware of it’s existence among the hundreds of thousands of available apps), can’t take advantage of whatever utility your app was designed to provide.

But developing a mobile website gives you the ability to still reach those users, without having to develop an on-deck app.

More importantly, if your site comes up as a relevant result from a search conducted on a mobile device, when the user navigates to your site, they’ll encounter your mobile you (not your PC you).

If your site it built right, you’ll convert that visitor into a member of your tribe, and they’ll bookmark you, share you or engage in whatever behavior you want guests to your site to perform.

Anyway, if you’re interested in learning whether your recently developed site is mobile-compatible, simply pop your web URL into your mobile browser and check.

If you’re using a open source platform like WordPress, many of their templates contain the option to publish a mobile version too (like this blog).

If it’s not (or if you’re not sure) and you’re interested in learning how to convert, feel free to drop me a line.

Go mobile!

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Filed under branding, mobile, opinion

Go mobile or go the way of the dinosaur.

Ad & Marketing Industry News

Last night, I read an article in AdAge about how both Google and Facebook were staking their respective futures on mobile, and how mobile was increasingly becoming the foundation of their efforts.

The Marksmen are a production unit ahead of their time.

Since 2005, when I started working with The Marksmen, developing applications that could be accessed and utilized from mobile devices (it all started with the Treo), I knew that mobile represented the future of computing.

Notice I said “computing” as opposed to content consumption or the internet, because with the advent of the smartphone, there are fewer and fewer things that one can do exclusively on a PC that can’t be done on a mobile device.

It was while at DOT.TUNES that I cut my mobile teeth.

From there it was DOT.TUNES, the first mobile application developed for the iPhone BEFORE the release of the iPhone SDK, which allowed users to remotely access their entire iTunes library directly from their mobile devices (even if it wasn’t an iPhone – holla!).

I even did a stint at MX Telecom (now OpenMarket), one of the largest mobile aggregators in the world, to learn about the ins-and-outs of the mobile industry, from the perspective of the underlying technology behind SMS/MMS/PSMS/Wap, mobile billing, etc.

Ever since, I have been preaching about the importance of mobile to anyone who would listen.

I tell virtually all the clients I consult, that they need to adopt a mobile strategy.

Set up a basic SMS service.

Build a mobile version (or mobile optimized version) of your website.

Create a brand specific mobile app.

Do anything to incorporate some mobile elements to your brand identity or risk going the way of the dinosaur.

I’m saying, if Google and Facebook are banking so heavily on it, doesn’t it seem to make good business sense?

They’re only multi-billion dollar companies.

Clearly, there is some wisdom to their actions.

WeHarlem knows mobile. Do you WeHarlem?

Recently, I’ve been speaking with Sergio Lilavois, one of the founding partners of WeHarlem, an interactive e-community for those that live, work or socialize in Harlem.

WeHarlem has launched several innovative initiatives directed squarely at harnessing and applying the power of mobile devices.

They have a social media website, WeHarlem.com, which links residents and local businesses.

In addition, they developed device specific applications, for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices, giving WeHarlem users the ability to access all of WeHarlem’s features on-the-go.

One of the most valuable features of WeHarlem’s mobile app, is the Wi-Fi locator, which enables users to find Harlem businesses offering free Wi-Fi in their establishments.

WeHarlem’s strategy involves providing Harlem residents and businesses with bi-directional utility, generating foot-traffic, loyalty and retention.

We’re in discussions right now to help bring businesses even deeper into the fold, by offering services to enable them to more closely connect with their target audiences using mobile and social media technology.

There have been other shining moments, when the strategies I propose actually gain a foothold.

Vincent Morgan, for example, knew immediately that he wanted it all, a mobile version of his primary website and an SMS alert service.

Although he failed in his efforts to dethrone Charles Rangel, he succeeded in rewriting the way candidates utilize the web, social media and mobile in their campaigns.

Anyway, the AdAge article renewed my passion for evangelizing mobile and I will continue to preach the value of mobile to all who will listen!

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Filed under branding, technology