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2021 digital strategy: why is mobile still number One?

The business road ahead is paved with uncertainty. As we continue to grapple with the global pandemic, there are more questions than answers: How will we bounce back? What does the future of retail look like? What can we do today to secure tomorrow?

Against this backdrop, there is one fact that is beyond question: We are now living in a mobile first society. And the businesses that realise this and act on it will flourish – the ones that don’t will disappear. If you think about any aspect of life in 2021, we reach for the mobile first. For news, for business updates and e-commerce, for live sport and music, and most importantly in these challenging times, for staying in touch with family and friends.

With so much reliance on mobile phones, the ability to develop best-in-class digital experiences has never been more important. If your mobile application isn’t creative, state-of-the-art and engaging, you can bet that your competitor’s is. This is where Rakuten DX can put you ahead of your rivals – by helping you turn your great challenges and ideas into great digital experiences. You bring the challenge or the idea, we’ll create the app.

Whatever your specialism, whatever your sector, digital experiences simply have to be to be at the heart of your business strategy in 2021.

“An estimated 500 million new applications will be created as companies seek to grow and nurture their businesses through digital platforms”

The digital rush: make sur you’re at the front

As a result of this mobile first society, we are seeing a Digital Rush where companies, especially small and medium ones, are creating more and more digital experiences, often multi experiences, primarily through mobile applications.

In the next few years, an estimated 500 million new applications will be created as companies seek to grow and nurture their businesses through digital platforms. So, you need to stand out from the crowd – and we can help you do that. Our expertise is rooted in innovation, creative problem solving and delivering best-in-class and secure solutions for a premium digital experience. And we can help you tap into our major global ecosystem, spanning marketplaces, distribution and users.

This digital rush has been powered by the high market penetration and growing tech capabilities of smartphones, a trend set to continue with the growth of AI, VR, AR, and 5G with its accompanying bandwidth and latency. Hand in hand with this is the opportunity to leverage the IoT network and unlock edge computing capabilities. So, the time to focus on digital experiences is today. Tomorrow is too late.

Your business needs the ux factor

If you want to stay ahead of the competition, you need to invest in UX design. And with relatively small mobile screens, it’s essential that the UX design ecosystem experience is the best it can be. This is why our Rakuten global ecosystem has a strong focus on research and innovation in this area – UX is the magic dust that will make your application fly.

A good example was our 2019 Davis Cup campaign. There are, of course, many ways to engage app users, but personalisation takes things to another level. In this case, we created a Davis Cup fans mobile app for each specific user profile. The first tab gave users the ability to adjust their content by selecting their team(s) preferences, whilst the second tab delivered all the latest tournament news.

Whether you’re in tennis or telco, media or music, you need to engage with your customers in the most effective way, creating membership and loyalty. With best-in-class UX and UI, you are in a strong position to succeed.

But it’s an ever-changing landscape and we always have an eye on the future. Which is why we’re working hard on tools that can generate application code or modify applications so that individuals and businesses with limited developer skills can turn ideas into digital experiences in rapid time. And we’re helping companies monetise fast with a more personalised UX/UI experience and an ecosystem to support it.

Of course, you need to make it easy for people – they are looking for a frictionless experience, and we’re starting to see new technologies like progressive web apps that are blurring the lines between app and website. Last year, Apple unveiled the latest version of iOS featuring App Clips, mini apps that can run on the device without being installed. And Android Instant Apps does the same job. This is a big opportunity and one to watch.

Building a platform for success

Against this backdrop, our job is to develop platforms that will enable businesses to leverage new services immediately on the mobile app, with local capabilities and UX design research.

As the demand for apps continues to grow, this will only come into sharper focus as we support our business partners on their  digital transformation journey.

Of course, this journey has a physical as well as digital footprint, and companies need to consider multi-experiences – closer links between the mobile and physical experience. A good example is our own Rakuten Mobile case study where we transformed the in-store experience for mobile customers. We’re now seeing sectors expanding into new areas, such as sports brands teaming up with lifestyle brands to expand their proposition. This is a trend that will expand rapidly in 2021 – so, someone may click on an app to check on their favourite football team and end up buying some new furniture from a connected retailer. We’re going to see more and more of this.

The rapid development of technology makes this a fascinating arena, but to be successful you need to go beyond the hardware. Leveraging the ecosystem, maximising the value of your data and, ultimately, engaging your audience to drive loyalty, will all be key to success in 2021 and beyond.

To find out more about how we’re helping companies create best-in-class digital experiences go to: https://rakuten-dx.com/contact