September 30, 2011, 12:00 AM

The next step

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While companies will move at different paces through these phases, depending on business strategy, mobile objectives, industry sector and mobile philosophy, for all e-business professionals it's time to be proactive. For each of these four phases, there are three high-level steps to consider: information architecture, designing new services that take advantage of context, and testing the impact of those experiences to improve the customer experience.

Taking the lead

It will be important for e-business teams to take a leadership role when enabling these steps, as context will open up new opportunities to influence purchase decisions and increase conversions and drive sales—but only if real-time data is available, content and information are properly tagged, and the proper relationships and road maps are in place with key partners. For example, a retailer must not only know where a competitor's store is, to identify when a shopper is in the rival's store, but must designate that retailer as a competitor.

What all this means is that in the near future consumers will voluntarily give up some privacy in exchange for the benefits of mobile convenience. Companies selling media, services and products will be allowed to use contextual information to provide highly personalized experiences that consumers view as simply too convenient to pass up over privacy concerns.

This shift will produce disruptive business opportunities, changing the fundamental way mobile fits within the consumer ecosystem.

Julie A. Ask is vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research Inc., serving e-business professionals. Her research covers telecommunications and consumer mobility. Her blog is at Context will open up new opportunities to influence purchase decisions and increase conversions and drive sales.

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