Smartphones are Opening a New Self-Service market
Recent statistics emerging in the market indicate that the percentage of South African cell phone users with smartphones has more than doubled over the past year. It is predicted that smartphone penetration in South Africa is likely to reach 80% by the year 2014. (Gartner).
In South Africa, the smartphone market is largely dominated by BlackBerry, which currently has 45-50% of the market.
With a range of low-cost smartphones on the market and low-cost mobile data bundles, the mobile phone is opening up a vast new self-service market. Customers could be allowed to activate mobile services, check their airtime and data bundles, view a bill, order a new handset, and update their details from their handsets.
With their larger colour displays and friendly touchscreen or Qwerty keyboard input methods, smartphones allow for deep interactivity and functionality simply not possible on other mobile channels. The rapid growth of South Africa's tablet market is also spurring demand for mobile access to self-service solutions.
A large number of businesses are now finding that mobile apps are the missing link between the online world and their bricks and mortar businesses.
There are hundreds of thousands of mobile apps available, with the bulk of them being free. They can be used to monitor weight, locate the best bargains, and even keep an eye on the kids at home.
Why are apps popular? Mobile apps allow users to bring consistency to their use of online tools. One app can be downloaded to a cell phone, a tablet pc, and often a notebook computer as well. With cloud computing growing, a user can store everything in one place, then access that data from a variety of equipment, all seamlessly.
Think of how customers connect with your business, and there’s bound to be an app that can help make that connection even easier. Because apps are free, consumers lap them up, even if they rarely use them. Give them a good enough reason and they will regularly use your app, and your business will grow because of that use. Mobile apps could well be the future of self service and in catering to the smarter consumer.