By Kristen Gramigna
In 2013, smartphones reached the point of “critical mass,” meaning more Americans owned one of the devices than didn’t. Now that we’re in 2015, Forrester research predicts that the so called “mobile mind shift” among consumers will continue to change the norms of how consumers share and find information and make purchase decisions. Here are simple ways to make your small business more mobile.
1. Confirm maps listings are accurate.
Forrester predicts that a businesses’ ability to connect with customers during relevant mobile “moments” will dictate competitive advantage in 2015 and beyond. At its most basic level, this means ensuring customers can find your business when they’re in close physical proximity to it. If you haven’t confirmed the accuracy of your business’s online listing with various location-based search engines lately (particularly Google), now’s the time.
2. Design your website for mobile relevance.
Having a mobile website isn’t simply about whether your screen size automatically accommodates a mobile device. It’s ensuring the information presented to a mobile user addresses what they want to know or do efficiently.
Analyze your website and social media metrics to understand which devices your customers use and what pages they visit the most on their devices. Then, consider where an optimized mobile website might enhance customer experience. If your mobile users tend to have low-conversion rates, for example, it may signal that your current site makes it difficult for them to make a mobile purchase.
Similarly, if your site uses forms but mobile customers have issues finding a secure Internet connection, you may be presenting unnecessary roadblocks to functionality. If you market to customers via email but require that they log in once they’ve clicked on your email promotion in order to access the mobile site, it’s not conducive to mobile.
3. Boost your ubiquity through mobile apps.
Once your site is made mobile friendly, consider whether you can heighten the experience further with a native app. Though data from Flurry indicates that consumers spend more than two hours a day on mobile apps compared to about 22 minutes a day on the mobile web, you can gain insight for potential app interest by analyzing your site’s user metrics.
For example, experts at Creative Bloq recommend that if the majority of website visitors arrive by way of direct traffic, an app may add inherent usability value. Though creating a native app is accessible to nearly any small business budget, the challenge is identifying which app features are likely to lead to continued engagement. (CIO magazine cites research indicating that 78 percent of all apps are abandoned after just one use.) Based on what you know about your customers, create a list of five key features you want your app to perform. Test this “minimum viable product” (MVP) version of your app with your employees and best customers for feedback regarding functionality and the degree of value it provides.
4. Make your business model mobile.
Making your business mobile also includes incorporating the tools that empower you to connect with customers at the most important “moments” — during search, when they’re ready to purchase, and when they’re compelled to leave a review of their experience. Think about how you can insert mobile into your business model for enhanced customer experience.
For example, an affixed point-of-sale check out process can be replaced with mobile point-of-sale devices that allow your sales team to “meet” the customer when they’re ready to checkout. If you operate a business that lends itself to “selfies” (like a salon, restaurant, or a child’s dance or music class), consider offering customers a mobile discount that they can access once they snap a selfie on their mobile device and share the image on social media. If customers call to place reservations, consider how you can make that process more conducive for mobile, with automatic check in, or functionality that connects the mobile user to your business with the tap of a button.