Friday, January 6, 2012

How Might "Mobile First" Apply?

Google has talked for nearly two years about a development strategy it calls "mobile first." The notion has much to do with cloud-based applications and much to do with the growing importance of mobile devices as a key platform for application-based businesses.

“It's clear that we're experiencing a fundamental shift in how we access information,” said Google VP Vic Gundotra, in 2010. “Clearly, the mobile phone is the iconic device of the moment, and we're encouraging a new rule: Mobile First.” Mobile is the key

“When we announce new services for desktop computers, such as real-time search, we will debut an equally powerful mobile version,” said Gundotra.

That rule might not make as much sense for most other businesses whose products are physical rather than virtual. That isn’t to say that the mobile context is irrelevant.

Most firms conduct some marketing activities, and the mobile venue increasingly is important, even if indirectly much of the time (perhaps 40 percent of all Facebook interactions now occur on mobiles rather than PCs, for example).

For any firms using Facebook, that means being aware that a growing percentage of activity occurs when people are out and about, on devices with small screens, and in a context that is distinct from a desktop PC environment.

In a growing number of cases, that means being alert to the mobile commerce, comparison shopping and other activities that pertain directly to people engaged in the act of shopping.

The notion of “mobile first,” not too strictly interpreted, might make sense for any firm contemplating the ways it markets and communicates with prospects or customers. For retailers, the imperatives might be more stark. People already are using their mobiles to compare prices when inside stores.

The point is that, for many firms, it is a reasonable question to ask how  "mobile first" might apply in product development, sales, marketing, customer service or fulfillment.

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