Mobile First

February 10th, 2014 by Azur Digital

In this article, we share on the opportunities behind choosing mobile as first channel when devising new market strategies.

The New Default Form Factor

“Of the 10 million people in Egypt who access the mobile web, 70% of them are mobile only — they never use the desktop internet.”

In the MENA region more than anywhere else, mobile is increasingly becoming the default Internet access channel.

This is actually very good news for businesses as mobile touchpoints enable greater customer engagement and interactions with a brand.

Phone with Burberry app
Burberry broadcasts live fashion shows exclusively on mobile, allowing viewers to purchase and even personalize products.

Middle East businesses are yet to capitalize on such potential and offer mobile-friendly experiences to this ever increasing share of consumers.

A Mobile First strategy therefore represents a tremendous opportunity for any company seeking to differentiate and gain first mover advantage in this region.

Reaching the Customer Anywhere and Anytime

“86% of smartphone owners say they use their phone while watching television, and 41% say they do it every day. The numbers are even higher for tablet owners.”

Phone with shopkick app
Shopkick app encourages users to discover products of nearby stores and visit them via a rewards mechanism.

To many marketeers, mobile is THE dream channel. It enables a virtually permanent connection with the customer!

A well thought (and well executed) app can transform a mobile device into an indispensable companion that will profoundly modify long-established consumers’ habits.

The flipside being a poorly designed app could seriously harm the brand perception: the average lifetime of an app, from download to neglect (or delete!) is less than 30 days.

The Shopping Interface of Tomorrow

“According to a recent study by researcher TNS Global, more people in the UAE shop online using their mobile phones than via personal computers, in contradiction to the global trend.”

Tablet and phone with Nespresso App
Nespresso launched its own capsules, machines and accessories ordering app.

Online shopping attractiveness in the Middle East is being fueled by the explosive growth of smartphones.

Whilst the local e-commerce offering is still limited, consumers in the region are increasingly comfortable using their device to order products and consume paid-services.

In addition to enabling users to fulfill instantaneous needs (product search, purchase, pre-order…), mobile raises the bar of customer targeting (personalized and geo-localized messaging, coupons and promotions push…).

Increasing Convenience and Confidence

“71% of France, Germany and Sweden smartphone owners use their mobile to research products. 90% of those who used it while in a store looked at a competitor’s website.”

Two phones with Fnac app
Fnac app enables users to access detailed product information when in store, read reviews and staff recommendations, build online wish lists etc.

Next to providing the convenience of accessing information on-the-go, mobiles are increasingly being used to build confidence when purchasing. They are becoming a supporting tool for purchase decision making, allowing to compare pricing, read reviews and consult friends.

The opportunity here is to help your prospect customer be confident in the product and your services: provide augmented product information, reviews and blogs on YOUR website, suggest potential alternatives and more importantly, communicate on your added-value services.

Successfully establishing this trust will facilitate up/cross-selling and loyalty building.

B2B: Enabling Your Teams

“78% of enterprises surveyed by Model Metrics planned to deploy tablets by the end of 2013, and 47% of them to use tablets as tools for their sales force.”

Tablet with Ducati app
Ducati’s DCS app helps customers and dealers configure and order motorcycles. It facilitates communication and streamlines order process.

Mobility has become a central focus of CIOs, who today speak more of User Experience than Security concerns. Smartphone and tablet adoption and  the implementation of “Bring Your Own Device” IT strategies largely contributed to this mind shift.

Enterprise mobility can enable significant operational efficiency and also facilitate decision making based on real-time information.

Another benefit for enterprises is mobility tends to foster employee engagement and it can also showcase the innovativeness of your company.

Where to Start?

When it comes to mobile, it is not a case of “one size fits all”. Understanding the “mobile-propensity” of your target audience (combination of the actual gain and ability to use the new channel in practice) should prevail over the urge of launching an app. Ideally, how to go mobile should align with your overall business strategy and carry medium-term objectives to justify the usually costly investment. Careful planning is therefore required and a great User Experience is crucial.

The following Azur Digital services can help your organization confidently and effectively capitalize on the unique mobile opportunities of the MENA region:

  • Mobile Opportunity Identification & Assessment
  • Mobile Project Scoping
  • Business Case Building & Planning
  • User Centered Design & User Testing
  • Mobile Project Control


Content Strategy for Mobile, Karen McGrane, Nov 2012
The Multichannel Retail Handbook, Chris Jones, Jan 2013
Burberry’s Multichannel Innovation; 3 Tips, Ernan Roman Direct Marketing, March 2013
IMRG – MENAP B2C e-Commerce Overview 2012