As mobile device usage and web browsing explode, and head to overtake desktop usage, it’s becoming essential for small businesses to “go mobile.” Whether this is done by creating a mobile app or a mobile website, here are five reasons that small businesses can no longer afford to ignore the mobile world.
1. Connect with Customers Anywhere
This reason is the most obvious, and also the most powerful. Having a native mobile app or mobile website allows a small business to connect with customers at any time. This means that whenever customers want to interact with your business, they can. And the fewer barriers there are to interaction, the higher your sales will go.
Those businesses that haven’t gone mobile are losing opportunities continuously throughout the day from mobile users. On the other hand, small businesses with a mobile presence maximize their opportunities to be found and provide value to customers that are on the go.
2. Drive Customers to the Store and Keep Them There
70% of people contact a business after a search on their mobile device. If your business’s mobile site appears among search results, and is easy to browse, chances are good that you’ll be getting more store traffic and leads from it. If not, you may be somewhat invisible to customers that are out and about.
On a related point, once customers are already in your store, they often consult their mobile device to comparison shop. Understanding what they see when they do that is critical, because 39% of walkouts are influenced by smartphones. Ensure that you are aware of customers’ in-store mobile experiences, and adopt strategies that reduce the risk of walkouts.
One strategy adopted by certain retailers is to offer bundled products in-store than can’t easily be compared to offerings at other retailers. Being creative with mobile strategies is a plus, but being aware of mobile customer experiences is a must.
3. Increase Productivity
Mobile isn’t just about customers – it can have a huge influence on your business’s ability to operate. Apps that allow your employees to navigate, communicate, check inventory, and manage workflow can all make your business run more smoothly and efficiently. If your business has a large number of field operatives (e.g. a plumbing service), or just has a workstation that’s located in an inconvenient spot, mobile apps can offer a quick way to enter data, take purchases, and accomplish other simple tasks. Analyze your processes and look for tasks that mobile apps can make easier – you’ll be glad you did.
4. Avoid Lost Business and Get Recommendations
Bad mobile experiences are expensive to small businesses. 57% of users won’t recommend a business if they don’t like the business’s mobile site, 66% won’t return to the site if it gives them trouble, and 40% will ultimately head on to a competitor site.
If your site isn’t optimized for mobile users, consider it probable that users are having a bad experience on it. Get your mobile experience working smoothly, however, and you not only get increased business, but you’ll get referrals from happy customers (instead of funneling them to your competitors).
5. Grow Your Business
Mobile search queries have grown by a factor of five in the last two years. This means that mobile represents a huge new arena of opportunity. Accordingly, small businesses that go mobile ahead of others can expect to enjoy a share of new business that is larger than their ordinary market share.
For example, SeamlessWeb, a company that allows users to order takeout food delivery from local restaurants, saw mobile orders increase to 25% of all transactions after they released a mobile app. It’s likely that a portion of these orders would have been placed anyway through a desktop, but were placed through a mobile device for convenience. But another portion may very well have been placed by customers that would not have submitted an order if not for the ease of the mobile app.
Growth like this will be enjoyed by early movers in the mobile space. If you’d like to see similar gains in your business, start today and get ahead of the competition.