Last year, 16 percent of holiday shoppers did all or most of their holiday shopping via their smartphone or tablet — up from 3 percent in 2011. In addition, some studies show that more than half (53 percent) of shoppers who own smartphones and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of those who own tablets used their devices to research and purchase holiday gifts.
While mobile commerce, mobile apps and QR codes have been around for several years, many retailers are still not availing themselves of these important marketing and sales tools–or are using them ineffectively. And that reluctance to harness mobile, or inability to leverage it, may be costing businesses sales.
Make More Money – Mobilize Your Business
To help you make the most of mobile, I’ve put together a list of ways you can improve your sales via the use of mobile apps and mobile commerce.
Action #1: Make sure your website is mobile-friendly.
If you’ve been in business for any longer than 10 years, I’m willing to bet you’ve learned value of internet presence. Over the last five years, businesses have learned the importance of having a mobile friendly website, i.e. you have a mobile version of your website. Twenty-two percent of all local Google searches are done from smartphones. The bottom line is that if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you’re missing out on traffic.
The fact is businesses that have optimized mobile sites gain an average of twice the traffic and engagement per user than those without a mobile optimized site. It doesn’t matter if you’re a big store like Macy’s or a small neighborhood boutique, your website should be fully mobile web-optimized. If your business has an online retail component, a mobile site where product info and checkout is simple for customers to view and navigate is key for increased mobile web sales.
Action #2: Develop a cross-platform mobile app.
To maximize your mobile sales, you need to cover the mobile landscape from all ends. That means having a mobile app for all platforms in addition to your mobile website. If you have the means, I recommend deploying apps on iOS, Android and Windows devices and an HTML5 mobile web app to cover all other devices.
Action #3: Use QR codes.
I know that might sound silly since QR Codes aren’t exactly the hottest thing out there when it comes to mobile commerce. As with any new technology boom, there are going to be marketing tools that work, like apps and mobile websites, and technologies that just don’t catch on, and QR codes definitely fit in the latter category. However, in the correct context, I believe QR codes can enhance the shopping experience of your customers. If you’re running a typical brick and mortar shop QR codes on signage can keep your mobile customers in the store.
By scanning a QR code, customers can be taken to online product pages, where additional information on the product is available, including item comparisons, reviews, price comparisons and the option to buy instantly. The bottom line: By integrating the online experience with the physical one, retailers have a greater opportunity to retain both the customer and the sale.
Action #4: Check out social gifting apps.
Earlier I mentioned having your own app developed. That’s a pretty big step to take if you’re a small business in the retail arena. The cost of having an app developed can often times be prohibitive so you need to consider other options. One such option is third-party social gifting apps such as Wrapp and Treater that provide a means to send gifts conveniently via mobile.
Small retailers that participate with these third-party apps will take advantage of revenue-boosting mobile strategies that might otherwise be too expensive or difficult to implement. These apps make it easier for retailers who wouldn’t have otherwise been able to leverage an app to get into the mobile space — and reach more customers than ever before.
Action #5: Embrace showrooming.
I personally hate going into stores because there’s a delay that you don’t find when shopping online. Salespeople using iPhones or tablets on the showroom floor to assist and check-out customers [known as "showrooming"] work because they are a non-invasive approach that help customers at the point of purchase, and it benefits both the customer and retailer by making the in-store experience fast and efficient.
Action #6: Deploy mobile cash registers.
With new technology from companies like Moblized, shop floor service assistants can checkout customers anywhere within a store. You can drive immediate purchase decisions, not leaving customers to change their minds, and reduce lines at checkouts and hence barriers to paying.
Last year’s mobile sales were bigger than the year before. The smart money is on that trend continuing. You don’t need to utilize all of these tips to be successful in the mobile marketplace. Just doing a few of them will probably move the needle for you and your business. However, if you do take my advice and do all of these things, you might have to consider the possibility of navigating the pains of expanded growth because your business is almost assured to be more successful. I’m cheering for you as always so if you have a question or comment, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.