Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Shashi Bellamkonda, Adjunct Professor Georgetown University

Shashi Bellamkonda, Adjunct Professor Georgetown University

By Shashi Bellamkonda

The mobile revolution isn’t only having a profound influence on the lives of consumers, it’s also changing the way business owners—especially small business owners—are marketing their business.

Research has found that 42 percent of small business owners say it would be a huge challenge to operate their businesses without mobile services. An additional one-in-three business owners say their businesses could not survive without some type of mobile service.

So how can small businesses stay ahead of the mobile curve?

Think about how you, as a consumer, go through your day with your smartphone or tablet. You may scan comments, compare prices, and shop on the go. As you work, sit in the doctor’s office, ride the train, and even stand in line at the grocery store, it’s never been more important for the businesses you frequent to have your information up-to-date and accurate across all online channels. Gleaning analytic insight on all this mobile Web activity and seeing what kind of content, feedback and posts are driving the most engagement will be key.

Location is even more critical for small businesses. From a small business owner’s perspective, these are people who are living in or visiting your area, searching for a specific product or service, and who are hoping to discover a local answer to their mobile searches. In the case of restaurants, 64 percent of these mobile searches convert to real business within the hour. That’s a huge opportunity for a business looking to attract new customers and tap into the potential of mobile marketing.

Furthermore, today’s generation of hyper-connected consumers are also looking for faster ways to check-in and check-out to make a purchase. Thus far, acceptance of mobile wallet technology is split along generational lines. Those younger than 35 are more inclined to pay via smartphone and more than 60 percent expect their mobile devices will eventually replace cash and credit cards.

Some small businesses have held off accepting credit cards due to high transaction fees, believing it would put a significant dent in their profits. To address this challenge, mobile payment companies are charging less per transaction than credit card companies, and offering a direct savings for small businesses.

Not only will small businesses be able to satisfy this growing demand for this convenience, they will have the opportunity to analyze what products are or aren’t selling to better understand customer demands and learn about their buying patterns, then use that information to improve service and manage inventory.

While mobile marketing has already come quite far in just the past few years, there is much more that small businesses can take advantage of in 2014. With almost every device available being built to connect to the Internet, smartphones and other mobile gadgets will bring marketers and users together to create experiences, encourage and influence purchases and make copious consuming a little easier.

Is your business equipped to market to the mobile consumer?

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