The smartphone has become so ubiquitous to everyday life it’s easy to forget that the device has been a game changer for communications and commerce. The best part is that the little rectangle in everyone’s pocket still has gifts to give in the form of improving interaction with target audiences and accomplishing the goals of an organization. This post will discuss a few of the hows and whys for making the most of the mobile market.
To make the most of the mobile market, business owners must first understand why mobile devices are so important. The value of smartphones goes beyond the idea that people can shop from their phone. According to recent research from Google, eight out of 10 shoppers use their smartphones while they’re shopping to research products and prices before they buy something. Furthermore, they trust the information they get from their phones over the information provided by store employees. In fact, one in three shoppers say they use their mobile device for information instead of asking store employees.
There are a lot of ways a business can take advantage of mobile devices that don’t involve the expensive and potentially troublesome issue of developing Android and iOS apps. While it may seem counterintuitive at first, 65 percent of shoppers prefer to use a store’s mobile website rather than a store app. What this means for business owners is that they need to ensure that their website’s are mobile friendly and contains the update information that shoppers want to know. According to the Google Shopper Marketing Council survey, 80 percent of smartphone owners use their mobile devices to find prices, store hours and directions, product reviews and information, and store sales.
Setting up coupons for mobile devices (e.g. on a website, Facebook, or through SMS) can bring in a lot of business. Last year, 29.5 million smartphone owners used mobile coupons, and some analysts believe that total will reach more than 47 million by 2014. According to a report from Business Insider, “mobile coupons are being used across the gamut in retail: 41% of mobile coupons users said they had redeemed coupons at the grocery store, 41% said they redeemed coupons at department stores, and 39% at clothing stores”.
Advertising a business through mobile devices is another inexpensive way to turn the public’s smartphone addiction to an organization’s advantage. Google advertising rates for mobile devices are lower than similar ads on traditional websites. Since many people underestimate the power of mobile advertising, the bidding competition is less intense. Business owners may not think their customers are using their phones for too long while they’re in a store, but according to Google, half of the shoppers they surveyed said that they were on their smartphones for more than 15 minutes while in the store.
Using location-based check-in services like Foursquare, Facebook Places, Yelp and Gowalla is another way to take advantage of mobile devices. According to research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project, nearly 20% of smartphone owners used geosocial apps. These services let people share their location with friends in their social network and helps users discover new places. One benefit of using these platforms is that they are easy to implement and they immediately give a company a mobile presence that can be used for special offers, word-of-mouth promoting, and customer loyalty reward programs. In essence, every time someone does a check-in, they’re sending free advertisements for a business to all their friends. There’s also an SEO benefit, since each check-in also creates a backlink to the company’s profile on the platform, which shows search engines that a business is trusted by locals.
Whatever marketing strategy a business chooses to employee, it’s important that the mobile market be considered; it may very well affect the bottom line. Shoppers spend 25 percent more in a store when they frequently use their smartphone to help with shopping. And since it’s clear that customers are checking the internet while they shop, it’s more important than ever to ensure that customers are being engaged on social media channels. Allowing negative reviews, inaccurate information, or old content to remain on a site and social media channels may the factor that costs a business clients and customers.