Getting the basics right and making the mobile web pay
Working on a product like goMobi, naturally I follow mobile conferences pretty closely and one thing seems certain: the “native apps versus mobile web” debate is a thing of the past. Both Facebook and Twitter recently revealed that mobile web vastly outweighs access from native apps. As the pendulum swings back in favour of the mobile web, the dialogue has shifted away from whether you need a mobile specific website. We are no longer arguing the need for context sensitive content. The web went global, then social, and now it’s going mobile.
As the rate of adoption of mobile web skyrockets ― it will eclipse access from the ‘fixed internet by 2013, says Gartner― more businesses are looking to provide mobile specific web sites to their customers than ever before. And they’re turning to familiar suppliers to help them. If you don’t have a mobile offering for your customers you’re not positioned to exploit this massive opportunity and you are missing out on a potentially important differentiator.
Covering the basics - 3 vital things a mobile solution must cover off
For small to medium businesses, their need is to get a mobile presence that puts their business on every phone. It needs to be easy, fast and the end result should be a great fully functional mobile website – features like click-to-call, mapping and directions, mcommerce, couponing and reservations are all a given. For hosting companies, the issue is not just to offer a great product that your customers want, but also to offer value added services that increase ARPU and that provide long term revenue streams for your business.
That means you need a resource efficient solution that won’t impact on your margins. In our long experience working with hosting companies, any solution needs to cover at least the following on the technical side:
1. It should be simple to integrate into existing offerings – we’ve seen typical integrations in just 2 days and we support direct integrations, CPanels and Parallels, which can be faster.
2. Ongoing product release management should be fully automated and managed by the supplier – we update goMobi regularly with zero impact on our partners and their customers
3. The supplier should provide full marketing support and tools such as free trials which can be automatically converted to paid subscriptions - we’ve seen 40% of customers who trial goMobi buying the service
Making it pay
But that’s not all you need to think about. How do you effectively monetise a mobile web offering? Many of our partners are effectively selling goMobi as a value added service on top of their existing offerings. But there are other entry points also available. What about proactively providing your customers with a mobile site based on existing data, such as static demographic data from registrations, or an existing desktop site? Imagine the up sell potential if you could automatically create a mobile specific site not just for customers that have a desktop site with you, but those that don’t based on existing information such as registration data.
In an industry that relies on a reseller model, you also need to effectively manage and report on your downstream partners. Things to think about in a potential solution include the ability to offer a white label solution, customize for each sub reseller, and report for each sub reseller.