Mats Carduner, co-founder, president and CEO of fifty-five, explores the necessity of a strong mobile presence in today’s business climate.

From reports of Samsung’s profit surge, to the incredible success of Facebook’s Q2 results and the sale of Apple’s billionth iPhone, the message is clear – online, mobile content is the future.

Over 90% of people in the UK own a smartphone and spend up to 2 hours a day browsing online. Businesses are not just competing with other brands for attention, but breaking news that appears on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Recent studies have found that our attention span is rapidly decreasing, reaching an all-time low in 2016 of just 8 seconds. In this battle for likes, shares and impressions, traditional marketing approaches are becoming obsolete.

The gulf between the online shopper and the real-world shopper is like nothing retailers have seen before, presenting both a challenge and an opportunity to businesses. On average, over half of the people who physically enter a shop leave having purchased something. For online retailers, that number of paying visitors drops to 2%.

Customer behaviour must now be measured using completely different metrics, where maintaining the quality of a customer’s experience – from start to finish – is just as important as the product you’re selling.

The adoption of a mobile strategy is integral to future success, providing a tool for reaching customers on a highly personalised basis. In 2016, data and technology are commodities in ample supply. Consumer engagement and attention are the resources in short supply.

So how can businesses carve out a brand identity in this already-crowded space?

Encourage Engagement

In today’s world, the customer must feel as if they are buying a small piece of the bigger picture each time they return to your website. This involves a carefully curated online presence, from the original content you share to the people you choose to represent your brand.

The power of the smartphone is in bridging the digital and the physical. From the recent Pokémon GO phenomenon to Snapchat’s worldwide success, using technology to interact with the real world on a personal level has never been more popular. The Internet of Things will only further blur the lines between the real and virtual worlds.

Mobile as a platform

It’s no good to have a mobile strategy that’s developed in isolation from the core brand. When the attention span of the browser is so brief and the space so crowded, being succinct and useful should be at the top of your agenda.

What can you offer that no one else can? Why should the customer choose to return to your content, your website or Twitter page, rather than others? Answering these questions is key, but the ease and speed at which a user interacts with your brand via their mobile must be a single conversation across all channels.

Build an army of influencers

Businesses should leverage the power of the technology at their disposal to better understand their audience.

Use this insight to better include your customers. Look for the community of ambassadors who identify with your brand and everything it stands for.

This is a group that will actively share photos, videos and advocate on your behalf, so it’s vital to make the most of this collective power. It can do much more for your business than your marketing team could ever do on its own.

Do more than offer ‘service with a smile’

There’s a reason why chatbots are becoming increasingly popular. It’s because they bridge the two worlds seamlessly, providing the personalised response to queries faster and more efficiently than a human service.

They hint at the future, where automated services improve rather than confuse the customer experience. Regardless of what your business provides, the customer is still king. Investing in customer service and user-centric technology is a sure way of building online support.

The shift to mobile has nearly ended and any business that hasn’t already begun the process of adoption will fail. Developing brand awareness relies on the seamless fusion of digital presence and personal touch.