When To Choose Responsive Web Design Over Mobile Apps In Asia
The increasing affordability of smartphones and wireless Internet is driving the exponential growth of smartphone adoption across most Asia Pacific countries. Brands must develop compelling digital marketing strategies in order to engage these technology-empowered customers, as many of them will have their first digital interactions with brands through a mobile device, not a desktop.
With this goal in mind, cosmetics retailer Maybelline chose responsive web design over mobile apps to connect with digitally savvy consumers in 10 Asian countries: Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The reason for this was two fold:
- Increase its reach among the target audience. Maybelline’s target audience is females between the ages of 15 and 25. The company’s objective was to reach out to as many customers who know the brand as possible and raise awareness among those who don’t. Responsive design helps them to serve all segments — the growing number of smartphone and tablet users and the large existing installed base of feature phone users.
- Ensure fast time-to-market without increasing the burden on local teams. Building native mobile apps for each country would have had two implications. First, it would have been complex, costly, and slow to develop, optimize, and regularly update apps for at least two OSes (iOS and Android) per country. Second, Maybelline would have needed to manage a separate content management system (CMS) for each country’s mobile app in addition to the existing CMS for the desktop website. This was a significant obstacle, as the company did not want to employ additional, dedicated resources in every country to manage the mobile CMS and its associated complexities.
Maybelline hired Infosys to implement the solution. The time-to-market was the most critical parameter for Maybelline. This is why Infosys used a template-based and agile development approach to design and deliver responsive websites for all 10 countries within three months. My recent report covers more details on how this solution was built and lists some of the early benefits for Maybelline. It is based on Forrester’s IDEA framework.
Rather than jumping straight to the solution as many companies do, Maybelline clearly determined its business objectives first and let those lead them into choosing the best technical solution. This is how other eBusiness professionals in Asia Pacific must approach their mobile strategy too. I look forward to learning from your own experiences developing a successful mobile strategy to reach customers in Asia Pacific.