A month ago I was phoneless for four long days. I sort of enjoyed being off the grid during the first two days, unable to be reached, yet able to access social media on my iPad. By day three withdrawals began, but I wasn’t missing the basic functions of the phone – calling or text – I was missing the Internet and my applications.
It first hit me when I was driving and needed to find exact directions. I was at a loss without Google Maps. Another painful reminder of my phone dependence occurred when I was at the grocery store, where I had a great idea for a dinner, but no phone to look up a recipe. My phone has become my crutch to look up information in the spur of a moment versus planning in advance. It’s an interesting insight for businesses to consider: how can your mobile program make your customers’ lives easier? Over the past year some companies have begun capitalizing on the crutch mobile accessibility plays in our lives and are planning on integrating more value in 2013.
- Starbucks. This mobile first organization will be testing wireless charging pads in their Boston stores. What a genius concept. Your phone is dying and you don’t have a charger. Why not stop at Starbucks to enjoy a cup of coffee and charge your phone for free? They are providing customers a phone charging crutch that will in turn create a profit.
- Walgreens. To keep their photo processing business relevant Walgreens partnered with Facebook to create the app Print Worthy. The app allows customers to print off photos the way they are used to seeing them—with Facebook comments and likes. From vacations to baby announcements, the elusive 18-34 demographic is used to sharing meaningful moments with their social networks. Walgreens saw an opportunity to be a crutch in capturing memories and is now offering a new way to scrapbook photos and life milestones.
- Blackberry. The company is planning for the long-term with the launch of the Blackberry 10 by partnering with VISA to become the ultimate crutch. Blackberry 10’s partnership shows their insight to the fact consumers don’t use phones primarily for communication, but utility. VISA customers will be able to use their Blackberry 10 as a payment option anywhere you can already tap your credit card to pay. Though mobile wallet payments have not caught on as fast as anticipated, the convenience of only having to carry your phone versus an entire wallet is not that far away and a partnership with one of the dominant credit card companies is setting Blackberry 10 up for success.
These companies didn’t only create mobile marketing campaigns to push messages to customers; they created mobile solutions that bring customers to their business for a unique reason. How can your company leverage mobile to make your customers’ lives easier?