Article

Terrence Stoker
Terrence Stoker 30 March 2016

Why Businesses Must Recognise the Impact of Mobile Devices

As mobile devices spread, so their impact will, too. It's time for more businesses to start operating with customers' phones in mind.

Today, mobile devices are everywhere. Smartphones and tablets are so numerous many wonder how they ever lived and operated without them. From being able to summon a taxi to store important data for your business, smartphones have become an essential part of everyday life. We sometimes feel vulnerable if we don’t have such a device on our person, at all times.

Businesses that do not recognise what smartphones and tablets mean, however, will be left behind. Too often, businesses get stuck in a mindset that says “what worked before will work in the future”. This is a dangerous perspective and could hurt any business’ longterm goals.

The coming of the smartphone

TechCrunch outlines some predictions from research conducted in 2015.

By 2020, globally there will be 6.1 smartphone users led by huge growth in less mature markets. And with 6.1 billion smartphones in circulation, we will see a tipping point of sorts: smartphones will finally overtake the number of active fixed line subscriptions worldwide in 2020.

That is a staggering number of phones, especially given that people sometimes own more than one. This is, of course, unsurprising: prices drop and Internet access is now widespread.

Smartphones aren’t just having an impact in developed nations. As the Financial Times points out “the mobile phone is to sub-Saharan Africa what the steam train was to 19th century Europe: the mechanical workhorse driving social and economic transformation.”

Mobile phones have helped to drive the African economy in multiple ways: since fixed lines require infrastructure often unavailable in African countries, mobile phones have helped citizens stay connected and informed. This has meant more foreign investment, since phone companies recognise a market here, thus driving the economy upward.

Businesses must take a stand

Businesses all over the world need to recognise the impact of mobile devices. A recent survey earlier this year showed that 66 percent of consumers are far more likely to shop at retailers offering in-store mobile technology retail experience.

Roula Vrsic, a business leader, points out how mobile devices can aid retail stores:

Tablets are flexible enough so that retailers can use them as kiosks, for smart displays, and at the point-of-sale (POS) throughout the store. Self-serve kiosks provide immediate stock and product information to consumers without them ever having to ask a sales associate for help.

But this doesn’t just affect retailers. All businesses benefit from taking a more proactive approach to mobile devices. Recognising what your customers work with and how they interact with their world can only benefit your business.

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