What does 2015 hold for small businesses when it comes to mobile technology? A growing number of companies will be left behind unless they start investing in mobile business, warn two Forrester studies reported by Mobile Marketer.
While most businesses—even huge enterprises—currently view mobile technology as just another channel for doing business, Forrester says that smart businesses are investing in re-engineering their companies for a future in which everything goes mobile. The report identifies a huge gap between companies that really “get” mobile technology and those that don’t, and predicts that this gap will increasingly widen. Here are some takeaways:
- Mobile is moving fast. Even Forrester analysts expressed surprise at how fast customers are adjusting to the new mobile world. Currently, 18 percent of consumers expect to be able to get information or services from businesses immediately, no matter what. Another 30 percent are transitioning to this expectation.
- Apps are less important. Interest in apps is declining, and Forrester predicts app downloads will decrease next year. Instead of trying to develop your own app or get customers to use your app, work to engage with customers on third-party platforms such as social media or other places where they already spend time.
- Privacy matters. Tap into information that customers share, such as on social media or review sites, but be careful. Privacy is a big concern for consumers, especially when using mobile technology, and Forrester predicts it will be a big differentiator for businesses. Make sure your customer data is secure and your privacy policies are clearly stated, regularly updated and frequently shared with your customers.
- Think fast. Forrester says more and more mobile technology interactions will consist of “micro moments”—in other words, quickly glancing at a device to get information or confirmation. Pushing out notifications by text messaging or using geofencing technology to deliver mobile offers is one way small companies can insert themselves into these micro moments to gain sales.
- Watch the wallets. While mobile wallets like Apple Pay have been slow to take off in a big way, Forrester says companies need to prepare for the “mobile wallet era,” which is coming faster than you think. Even if you’re not sure you should incorporate Apple Pay into your POS yet, keep up on the industry so you’ll be ready to act when it’s time.
What’s the overall takeaway? Don’t expect customers to come to your business—instead, you need to go to them, reaching out with information, offers and service wherever they are.
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Maria Valdez Haubrich
Maria Valdez Haubrich is Chief Liaison Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.