If someone asked you what’s the one thing you can’t live without, what would you say? While previous generations may have responded with their television or cars, the majority of Millennials and Gen Xers actually respond with their mobile phones.
This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise, seeing as our phones can do pretty much anything from paying for our groceries, hailing us a ride, and unlocking our cars. Our phones have become extensions of ourselves, acting as our connection to those around us. With that in mind, brands have had to follow their consumers to mobile platforms in order to make sure that customers can experience their brand in whichever way they prefer.
To help you stay ahead of the mobile curve and give you some inspiration, we’ve arranged a hand picked list of the top mobile customer experiences. Let’s see how some of the biggest brands get their experience into the palms of their customer’s hands.
Zara's Mobile Experience Brings Mobile Design to Another Level
In case you’re not familiar, Zara is one of the largest international fashion brands, with a value of around $11.3 billion. While the clothes they sell can stand up against the likes of Gucci and Prada, Zara’s clothing sells for relatively affordable prices and are famous at bringing a product from design stage into stores within a two week span.
This intense competition with high luxury brands makes it a necessity for Zara to represent their brand through all possible channels: online, in-store, and especially on mobile. Lucky for Zara, they do a phenomenal job of bringing their brand’s online look and feel onto mobile devices.
Zara's Mobile Imagery Delivers a Consistent Look and Feel
With easy navigation and stunning on-brand visuals, Zara’s desktop experience showcases product categories, making it easy for shoppers to find what they’re looking for. This gives new visitors a very quick visual overview of everything the brand has to offer, as well as what they represent.
This was easily translated to their mobile experience. By focusing so thoroughly on visuals and maintaining a consistent feel, Zara managed to effectively extend their brand image to mobile devices. This is extremely important for ecommerce merchants, as they need to make sure that their beautiful desktop website looks just as stunning on mobile. Having a gorgeous desktop design and not carrying that through onto mobile may leave the mobile users with a disappointing perspective on your brand.
If You Want a Mobile Experience Like Zara's, Use Previews
Many ecommerce themes on popular platforms like Shopify have built-in mobile demos that can give you a great peek at what your site will look like on mobile phones. Use these to make sure your site is responsive and gorgeous. There’s nothing worse than visiting a brand’s site on your phone only to leave disappointed with a non-responsive landing page.
Nike+ Mobile Apps Have Got You Covered Wherever You Go
Nike is another fantastic example of a world-renowned brand that has caught mobile fever. That iconic swoosh, synonymous with athleticism and style, has launched Nike to becoming one of the most recognizable brands. However, with so many customers, covering so many products and industries, Nike’s customers can’t be defined under a single persona or use case. With this in mind, Nike had to make sure that their customers could interact with the brand however and wherever they wanted.
Nike Created a Suite of Apps With Their Customers in Mind
Nike’s solution? A suite of Nike+ Apps. Nike+, Nike+ Fuel, Nike+ Run Club and Nike+ Training Club (among others) are all available for download for Nike users.
These easy-to-use apps allow customers to track their runs, get training, find new workouts, keep up to date on new sneakers and track a bunch of other activities. By making so many solutions for such a wide variety of their users, Nike ensures that their brand presence exists wherever their customers go.
If You Want a Mobile Experience Like Nike+, Build Your Mobile Experience Around Your Customers
This same idea of tailoring your mobile strategy to your customers can be applied to almost any business. Instead of just creating a mobile shopping app, Nike went above and beyond and provided an ecosystem for their products to help their customers live an active Nike lifestyle.
This philosophy can also be applied to your own business! If your customers are posting your products on Instagram, allow them to upload or submit these photos to your site. If your customers are checking your store frequently then maybe a shopping app is the way to go, allowing for quick and optimized searching. Regardless of which solution you choose, the goal is to be as inclusive as possible and to build your mobile experience around your customers - not against them.
Starbucks Earns 5 Stars When it Comes to its Mobile App
It would be criminal to write an article on mobile and not include the Queen of mobile experience herself, Starbucks.
Over the years, Starbucks has continued to increase in popularity, becoming a worldwide powerhouse of caffeine distribution. With that growth came a very loyal following of caffeine lovers. However, Starbucks wanted to extend their brand experience out past the doors of their coffeehouses, and the way that they did it, went above and beyond everybody’s expectations.
My Starbucks Rewards Uses Mobile to Create a Unique Brand Experience
To both reward their extremely loyal customers and transform their customer experience into a lifestyle necessity, Starbucks launched the now famous My Starbucks Rewards program. As a mobile-first program, it has an incredible edge over many other “card only” loyalty programs. This app allows customers to see how many Stars they have, how they can earn more, and what rewards they can redeem while also allowing customers to order ahead with mobile pay.
The Starbucks app became so popular that the program now has over 10 million active users and mobile payments through the app account for over 20% of Starbucks’ sales. By using mobile to add a whole other touchpoint to their business, Starbucks didn’t just extend but rather added a completely new branch and experience to their business.
If You Want a Mobile Experience Like Starbucks', Keep Your Mobile Strategy In-Line with the Rest of Your Brand
This success could not have been achieved if the app was not so seamlessly integrated with the rest of the Starbucks experience. When a company aims to go mobile, they should make sure that the strategy actually makes sense and fits into their business.
So many products these days come out with an accompanying app that feels clunky and tacked on. Having an aspect of your business that isn’t on brand or takes the customer out of the experience can tarnish their opinion of you and even interrupt a sales process. Whenever you do decide to go mobile, make sure that it is as fluid and in line with your brand as Starbucks Rewards is.
Glossier Navigates Itself Away From the Crowd with its Mobile Experience
Hailed as “a beauty brand inspired by real life”, Glossier was founded by beauty editors who ran a very successful blog called IntoTheGloss. Using their vast knowledge of beauty products (which they gained from testing and reviewing them) the co-founders decided to launch a beauty line that accentuated “real girls, in real life”.
Now, with over 7 years of success, they have become recognized as experts on not only the beauty industry but on how their customers shop, as well.
Glossier Introduces a Mobile Navigation That Better Portrays Their Brand
Using this expertise, Glossier decided to break away from the crowd by introducing an interesting navigation menu to their mobile site. Most websites are optimized for mobile using something called a “hamburger menu”, which expands along the side and allows customers to see a number of subcategories.
While this formatting was basically industry standard, Glossier likened it to attaching a manual to the site that no one is going to read. As a result, they opted for a mobile application with a similar look and feel to Instagram UI similar to Instagram.
They found this format to be more effective because it clearly lays out exactly what Glossier sells and who they are as a brand for any new customers exploring the app. You don’t have to click around to discover what makes them unique - it’s simply right there for every visitor to see.
If You Want a Mobile Experience Like Glossier, You Need to Choose the Best Fit for Your Brand
By optimizing their site for their users and not just following conventions set out by other brands, Glossier lowered their bounce rate, increased their conversion rate, and increased mobile average order value. The lesson here is to become experts on your business and choose what’s best for you when it comes to mobile.
Not every solution will work for every business, and you will need to use your expertise to decide whether or not an app, a neat menu design, or optimized images are the strategy that best fit your business. As with the Starbucks Rewards App, your approach to mobile needs to be in line with all of your other brand experiences.
Vegetable + Butcher Serve Up a Beautiful Mobile Experience
Vegetable and Butcher (V+B) is all about making a healthy lifestyle easy to live. Since they know that life can be busy and unpredictable, they’re committed to delivering meals to your doorstep that are full of wholesome ingredients sourced from local farmers. They do a great job of providing you with the menu ahead of time, allowing you to select varied schedules, and tailoring delivery times to your schedule.
Clearly, Vegetable and Butcher acknowledges how busy their customers are, and as a result those same customers are looking for on-the-go solutions.
Enter their beautifully optimized mobile website. As I mentioned earlier, consistency is key on mobile. This means that every aspect of a mobile experience should be optimized and not just the menu or the images. V+B took this into account when setting up a rewards program, and chose a program that is well-designed for mobile use. Their customers don’t have time to deal with parts of the site not loading or buttons that are hard to click. With the ability to expand for a nice, full view, V+B’s rewards program can also be hidden so that it doesn’t interrupt the browsing experience. This gives customers the autonomy to engage with the program at their leisure, putting the emphasis on their experience with the brand as opposed to simply marketing the program.
If You Want a Mobile Experience Like Vegetable and Butcher, Make Sure That All Aspects of Your Brand Keep Mobile in Mind
Making sure that all aspects of your site are optimized for mobile use if very important when migrating to mobile. This could be a live chat feature, a rewards program, or a discount coupon modal. Whatever it is, if it’s not optimized for mobile it runs the risk of sticking out like a sore thumb and pulling customers out of your mobile experience.
Great Mobile Experiences Elevate Your Brand
As mobile commerce continues to fuel the fires of mobile engagement, it’s safe to say that today’s brands either need to go mobile or go home. Each of the brands we’ve discussed today have used expertise, industry knowledge, and brand awareness to take their mobile experiences to all new levels.
Whether you’re building an app or a mobile website, they each have taught us that brand cohesiveness, customer inclusivity, design, and optimization are all imperative when going mobile. With these tools at your disposal, you’re well-equipped to begin designing a mobile experience that’s as engaging as it is effective.