The consumer shift to using mobile devices has been one of the most important trends for businesses to get to grips with in recent years and it proved to be a popular topic at Econsultancy’s Digital Cream London event.

The key themes and findings from the roundtable discussions have been published today in our free-to-access Mobile Experience Trends Briefing, sponsored by IBM Tealeaf.

Alongside details of the trends that emerged from the event, the briefing includes best practice tips, case studies and market data.

A separate report highlighted the scale of the challenge facing businesses, as despite the massive growth in mobile traffic almost half (45%) of companies still don’t have a mobile-optimised site or app.

According to IBM Tealeaf VP of mobile product management, Bill Loller:

The overriding message from this year’s Digital Cream is that a viable mobile strategy is not rocket science, but it does require a brand to have visibility into the customer experience, a sensitive, flexible approach and clear business objectives.

To app or not to app?

One of the key themes discussed at Digital Cream was that many companies are unsure whether to focus investment and time on native mobile apps or to optimise sites for the mobile web. 

As well as continuing to be popular among CEOs, the opinion of apps among in-house mobile teams is that they can still provide a richer or more focused experience than can be offered on a mobile optimised website (mobile loyalty cards is a good example).

Yet, there are some pretty clear benefits to mobile web and mobile web apps over platform-specific apps.

HTML5 is helping developers produce sites that work better on smartphones. And other widely held beliefs about apps – that a majority only get used once, and half have bugs – are also seeing them fall out of favour compared to HTML5. 

For these and other reasons discussed in the report, some businesses are deciding to drop mobile apps altogether.

The rise of m-commerce

Many ecommerce businesses report good traffic to their mobile sites, but lack of mobile site optimisation and the complexity of the m-commerce journey is a significant cause for drop-outs and consequent loss of revenue.

Transactions and payments are key subjects of debate for mobile, both in the context of closing the m-commerce journey, but also with the rise of mobile wallets and using devices to buy goods in the real world.

Another, perhaps more frustrating, trend noted by retailers is ‘showrooming’, the behaviour of customers looking at products in-store, checking prices, then leaving to make the purchase elsewhere. 

A consumer survey carried out for Econsultancy’s How the Internet Can Save the High Street Report found that 43% of consumers in the UK (and 50% of consumers in the US) have used their mobile phone to compare prices and look at product reviews while out shopping.

Have you used your mobile to compare prices and look at product reviews while out shopping?

Other key trends…

The full Mobile Experience Trends Briefing includes more information on these and other key themes, including the importance of simplicity in a mobile world, how advertisers target mobile users and the array of mobile-related challenges facing businesses.