I think nearly everyone I know besides my Grandma has a smart phone in his or her pocket or purse. The remaining few folks I know that still have a phone that’s “just a phone” are leaning toward a smart phone on their next cell phone upgrade. In essence, a growing percentage of the population has a mobile, pocket-sized computer on hand at all times and they are using that tool to conduct more and more of their lives.
I recently stumbled across the chart above on InternetRetailer.com that shows what people are doing with their smart phones each week and the statistics represented there got me thinking. Specifically, there are three stats that I want to look at more closely. The first is that 99.5 million people use their smart phones each week to access content each week. The second is that 63.1 million use their smart phones each week to access the Internet. The third stat of note is that 15 million people buy stuff on their smart phone each week. These stats are indicated by the little green arrows on the left side of the chart above.
Why do these statistics give me pause? Let’s look at them one by one.
99.5 million people use their smart phone to access content/information each week. Chances are good that this statistic refers to a mix of the stuff a person can have on their smart phone. For example, this might include accessing the personal information that they store in handy smart phone applications, downloaded documents or
63.1 million people access the Internet via Smart Phone each week. Your customers are connected to the Internet most all of the time. This trend has created what the industry calls the “addressable customer”–meaning they are engaged and plugged in all the time. They are online, they are savvy, and they are consuming information at an alarming rate.
15 million people buy stuff on their smart phone each week. This is the one we’ve all been waiting for–how many people buy using their smart phones. While the number is smaller than you might expect, my gut tells me that this number will grow, and most likely, will grow exponentially over the next few years as more and more people make the leap to buying the stuff they need and want on their phones rather than waiting to log on to a computer.
What do those statistics mean to you as a B2B organization?
Your customers want to buy online using their smart phones. Like I said above, my gut says this number will grow astronomically as the B2B world catches on and provides ways for their customers to buy online using their mobile phones. Making mobile commerce functionality available to your customers is essential for ongoing growth and continued success in your industry, regardless of what you sell.
Your Internet presence–traditional site and ecommerce site–needs to be easy to use and content-rich. Smart phone owners are on the Internet all the time as they search for the best information available on most any subject–ecommerce purchases are not excluded from this trend. This means that all of your websites–ecommerce or not–must deliver quality content that cannot be found anywhere else on the web. Moreover, your ecommerce site must be optimized for a mobile commerce experience. Otherwise, you’re risking that customers will go to a competitor with a robust mobile commerce site available.
Content matters–and your customers want content from you. Smart phone owners access content using their phones each week and it’s your job to make sure that they have what they need. Would your business benefit if you developed a business-specific smart phone application and deployed it to your sales force? What if your customers could log in remotely from their smart phones and place orders easily without needing to go to a specific URL first? Could your FAQs and product specification documentation be offered in a stand alone app that customers could install on their phones? What about short videos that show how your product is assembled or how to trouble shoot the product when it isn’t working right? You get the idea. Your customers want easy to use content in all formats.
What’s the prediction? Your B2B customers will begin to demand mobile commerce capability in 2013 and beyond. Mobile commerce is growing and its impact on B2B organizations will only continue to grow as a result. Planning your mobile strategy now will ensure that you are ready when the demand for mobile commerce increases.