Mobile and Emerging Technologies

The Need for Speed: A Product Approach for Mobile Apps

A global pandemic requires a quick response and accelerates digital transformation. The brands that can operate with speed and agility win in this environment. As consumers rely on their mobile devices now more than ever, mobile device and mobile app usage are surging. 

eMarketer predicted US adults spent over three and a half hours per day on mobile apps this year and expect this number to rise in 2021.  

McKinsey suggests new behaviors will become norms. 56% of BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) and 45% of grocery delivery users plan to continue using these services after the pandemic 

A responsive and resilient mobile product strategy is a must in these conditions.

Panic is Not a Strategy, But Viewing Your Mobile App as a Mobile Product Is

A typical project starts with a defined scope and timeline. Shifting to a mobile product approaceliminates those constraints and gives you the speed and agility needed in today’s world.  

mobile product approach is built upon fast iterationManaging a mobile product is about researching new ideas, iterating quickly, and using those learnings to move in the right direction. A mobile product runs its course until it no longer meets the needs of your business. 

The winners in this environment move fast. Microsoft’s platform allows companies to create new mobile apps and workflows in hours or days, not weeks or months. Twilio can transfer a call center to the cloud over the weekend. The best way to achieve this sort of speed and nimbleness is through a mobile product approach

Nike’s CEO John Donahoe describes how suddenly digital platforms became the only way to interact with customers once stores shut down.  Nike deployed a chatbot to support users in their mobile app and to enable store employees to connect from home. Pinterest and other retailers had to reimagine the fitting room. Pinterest launched a computer vision experience inside of their mobile app for consumers to try on lipstick virtually

Nike and Pinterest likely did not have some of these recent updates at the top of their backlog before the global pandemicBut with a mobile product approach, they were able to pivot in a new direction. It is not too late to join them. You can start making changes today to manage your mobile app as a mobile product and adapt to this new reality. 

Shifting Gears to a Mobile Product Approach 

A successful mobile product needs an owner. Budget and resources can slow down any mobile product‘s dreams. Whether you monetize your mobile app or collect insights, you must prove the mobile product‘s value to keep it alive. A mobile product owner serves this role and understands the needs of the business.  

For any mobile product to be successful, you must listen to your usersUser feedback should drive the decisions for your mobile product. You may not be able to get out in the field right now, so look for other ways to connect with users. In-app feedback and surveys can be excellent ways to monitor user pain points and areas of friction. A/B testing is another way to target audiences and gradually roll out features.   

Mobile tech debt needs to be managed and addressed. Legacy, bloated technology stacks can slow down even the best mobile products. Try leveraging a more modular architecture and dedicate teams to your most important features. Reusable frameworks and components can expedite your development needs. Code analysis and performance monitoring tools can also increase code quality and decrease development time.

Release early and often for mobileMeasuring results and gathering feedback helps develop your strategy. The top mobile apps have a regular release cadence. Automate as much of this as you can, and encourage small updates instead of holding back for one big releaseIt shows your user that you are listening, and it keeps your team sharp when it comes to deployment.  

Native mobile app solutions accelerate a mobile product approach. Top brands choose native mobile app solutions to offer the best experience and performance for users. A native mobile app provides long-term stability and reliability, which is crucial for a mobile product approach. Building directly on the platform allows you to push updates quicker and access the latest features. Platform alignment speeds up development and maintenance over time and provides a solid foundation to achieve your vision.  

We’re Here to Help 

Perficient’s Mobile Solutions Group specializes in Mobile Product and App Development. We partner with mobile product management and engineering teams to build and evolve your most important mobile product initiatives.  

Get started today. Our Mobile IQ℠ evaluates your current mobile experience, operations, and technology to deliver the best possible user experience. 

About the Author

Jonathan Crockett is an experienced mobile technology leader that understands how technology makes the business better. He is a Director of the Mobile and Modern Web Solutions group for Perficient.

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