The Next Phase in Mobility: What Consumer Companies Should Consider

We see six essential elements for determining and executing a superior consumer mobility strategy:

  • Consider the digital mobile consumer as a new customer segment – one that may very well require new products or services, and (for sure) new ways of TCS Digital Mobile Consumer Studymarketing, selling to them, and serving them after the sale. About three times the number of “leaders” in our survey (82%) said they made the digital mobile consumer a unique market segment than did laggards (only 28%). And many more leaders (85%) created a new product/service offering for this segment than did laggards (30%). Even after segmenting consumers by which ones use mobile devices, you may find that some are far bigger users of the devices than others. 
  • Segment consumers not just on their value but also on the extent to which they are “in motion” and need different product features in each step of their consumption process. Progressive sends weather alerts to drivers to warn them of bad weather ahead – a mobile feature that will help consumers avoid accidents. Geisinger and Humana’s mobile apps or mobile websites remind patients of important medical appointments and prescriptions they need to refill. And during medical emergencies, the mobile apps of Humana and Aetna direct a consumer to quickly find the right medical specialists and facilities. In these situations, the consumer’s need is indeed urgent, and if they’re “in motion” (meaning in an unfamiliar part of the country or state) the importance of such mobile apps becomes even greater.
  • Look broadly at mobile technology – not just at today’s popular smartphones and tablet devices. In addition to developing mobile apps for consumer’s mobile devices, auto insurance companies are experimenting with mobile instrumentation that they can install in your car. Other industries are following suit – particularly those that stand to gain substantially by tracking the way a consumer uses its product or service (a goal of health insurers).
  • Determine what data and analysis of that data is required to provide a superior consumer experience. Starbucks has a grand vision for how mobile technology and “big data” can reshape the coffee shop experience – that is, how by knowing the reading, music, food and other habits of the patrons of each store, it can tailor the offering to suit those interests. One of the biggest differences between leading and lagging companies in our survey was in how they use consumer and other data to tailor their responses to them (see Exhibit IX-5). Leaders were more than four times as likely as laggards to send promotional offers to consumers’ mobile devices based on where they were geographically located in their shopping process (i.e., their proximity to their stores); more than five times as likely to use real-time GIS and consumer data to interact with consumers; and more than three times as likely to change pricing for consumers who were “in motion” and shopping.

 Exhibit IX-5: Q17 d,e,f,g,h/Leaders and Laggards:
Comparing Them on They Way They Market to the Digital Mobile Consumer

Exhibit IX-5: Q17 d, e, f, g, h/Leaders and Laggards: Comparing Them on The Way They Market to the Digital Mobile Consumer

  • Tailor mobile consumer experiences to the type of device (e.g., smartphones or tablets). This is especially important for companies whose consumers are more likely to be “in motion” when they use mobile apps or mobile-optimized websites. Nielsen’s research in 2012 found that consumers use smartphones and tablet devices differently in some ways. In the U.S., smartphone users were much more likely to use those devices while they were “on-the-go,” as Nielsen put it – e.g., to locate a store (73% of smartphone users do this vs. 42% of tablet users), use a shopping list while shopping (42% for smartphones vs. 16% for tablets), and redeem a mobile coupon (36% smartphones vs. 11% tablets.)26 In our survey, the leading companies were more likely to tailor their mobile apps to tablets or smartphones than were the laggards: 25% of leaders’ mobile apps were developed just to run on tablets vs. only 17% for the laggards. And by 2015, leaders project that 23% of their mobile apps will be designed exclusively for tablets vs. 16% for laggards.
  • Experiment quickly, but be prepared to make major changes in products and consumer-facing processes eventually. Companies such as State Farm, Humana, Progressive and Starbucks appear to have started their initiatives by putting themselves in their customers’ shoes, and working back from that – rather than essentially trying to retrofit the way they operate today and miniaturize it for a mobile device. Starbucks, for one, is rethinking the whole store experience for consumers given that it can get a strong sense of what visitors want to read and listen to while they’re sipping their Caffe Mochas. Even the global tire maker that we spoke to has found that responding to mobile consumers is changing its view on its role in the consumer purchasing process. (See Exhibits IX-5 and IX-6.)

Exhibit IX-5: Q9/Leaders and Laggards: Degree of change in products and
processes TO DATE to respond to digital mobile consumers

Exhibit IX-5: Q9/Leaders And Laggards: Degree Of Change In Products And Processes To Date To Respond To Digital Mobile Consumers

Exhibit IX-6
: Q10/Leaders and Laggards: Degree of change in products and
processes companies will have to make by 2015 to respond to digital mobile consumers

Exhibit IX-6: Q10/Leaders And Laggards: Degree Of Change In Products And Processes Companies Will Have To Make By 2015 To Respond To Digital Mobile Consumers


The opportunities from responding effectively to consumers who increasingly use powerful mobile devices to research, buy and use their products are substantial for many industries. But the learning curve is also substantial, which is why waiting to see what shakes out can be a mistake.

26 Nielsen article.


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