Not much happens from a desk top computer these days. Lap tops travel to and from work places. Smart phones are constantly in and out of pockets. When people have a few minutes to spare in a day, they will be searching online for a product they are after, a recommendation, a comparison.
The trend towards mobile technology offers a number of challenges and opportunities for businesses.
This is crucial. Check with your webmaster that your site is set up for easy access and reading on mobile devices and smart phones. You can't test every single device there is, but at the very least ensure the site looks clean and essential information is available. Bear in mind specifics such as iPhones, iPods and iPads not running Flash.
There are a growing number of mobile phone CRM apps available, offering a range of functionality. iPhones have generally been a second runner to more business oriented devices such as the ubiquitous Blackberry. But Apple has released a number of CRM apps tailored towards a number of different business segments, including MyCRM, SalesNOW Mobile CRM and Sales CRM Ezi.
Mobile CRM is fast becoming an essential tool for sales teams. But its benefits do not end with sales. It is streamlining many aspects of business in an era where meetings, pitches and core business are often carried out off site, from home and in a virtual space.
The world of eCommerce is embracing fully transactional mobile platforms. Leading developers such as Nextnation, Venda and mBlox are rolling out platforms to enable complete mobile usability. The aim is to provide extensive multi-media content, interaction and transactions to mobile phones that are also completely secure.
It means, for example, that a customer can search, select, order, pay and access follow up service all from their mobile phone. Customers already expect this level of mobility and any eCommerce business not offering it will quickly be left behind.
As would be expected, developers in Japan are taking mobility into more quirky and unexpected areas. The country's fascination with vending machines has lead to a number of developments. These include vending machines that act like smart phones (with screens displaying product that customers touch to order), along with machines where customers use their phone, PDA or iPad to make a purchase.
The mobile advertising space continues to be fiercely contested. Google's acquisition of giant network AdMob last year put them in a powerful position. It is now getting in the vicinity of 2 billion requests per day. But there are plenty of competitors, including Yahoo, Microsoft, and of course Apple, who want to make sure they get their piece of this pie. Industry projections estimate mobile advertising will be worth $13.5 billion by 2013.