Why You Need to Take Your Business Mobile

I read an amazing stat last week that grabbed my attention:

  • 80 percent of consumers’ time spent on smartphones is in apps. (Flurry Analytics)

There is no lack of data out there pointing toward the importance of smartphones and apps and mobile in general. As a small business owner, you should definitely take notice and consider what your mobile strategy is, or consider whether you even have a mobile strategy. Think mobile doesn’t apply to you or you can safely ignore it for a few more years? Think again. Mobile has definitely arrived and understanding what “taking your business mobile” means has never been more important. I’ll list some more stats below to drive my point home.

mobile business trends
photo credit: gailjadehamilton
  • The majority of people in the U.S. and most other developed countries now own smartphones (Comscore)
  • As of January, 2013 there had been 40 billion app downloads from the Apple App Store (Techcrunch)
  • 90% of 18-29 year olds sleep with their smartphones; 95% of people use the phone for something just before going to bed; Half of people check their phones immediately if they wake up during the night (Online Psychology Degree)
  • 40% of mobile searches are for local business (Google)
  • 61% of customers who visit a mobile unfriendly site are likely to go to a competitor’s site (IAB)

Looking at this data from a purely defensive standpoint you may think having a mobile app or a mobile website is becoming table stakes for doing business in today’s on-the-go, hyper-connected marketplace. I would agree with you there for sure. But I also see great promise looking at it from a slightly different viewpoint. And that is, these devices offer unique and powerful functionality that can be used to create engagement opportunities that haven’t existed until now.

A specific example is utilizing smartphone push notifications to drive loyal customers into your business with specials and deals. No Groupon, no Living Social, just you talking directly to your loyal customers. Part of the reason these mobile based techniques are so effective is because when people are on their smartphones they are actively engaged. People do not simply own smartphones, they continually interact with them. Compare that sort of engagement dynamic with traditional passive advertising methods like television and radio.

The fact is, smartphones and apps are quickly becoming the primary source for consumers to find everything they need whether it’s services, physical and digital goods, or information. And when it comes to making transactions while on the go, be it making a reservation, ordering food, buying tickets or pretty much anything else you can think of, apps offer the smoothest most optimized experience by far.

So this brings us to the ultimate question: why, if there is so much value to be had from a mobile presence, do so few businesses pursue one? Up until now the answer has been obvious. Aside from submitting an entry to services like Yelp! or creating a Facebook or Twitter profile, it has been cost prohibitive to stake out a mobile presence. Now, technology has evolved and made it cost effective for businesses of any size to create their own mobile apps and mobile optimized websites. Mobile is already set to become the key marketing channel of 2013. The intelligent business owner will make sure that they are ahead of the curve. If you are a small business owner and don’t have a plan to take your business mobile, it’s time to start planning!