Businesses all over the world would have never thought that the power of commerce would shift into the hands of the customer, literally. Mobile devices are the new access points with customers using mobile for practically everything from conducting searches to mobile commerce transactions.
Nicholas Carlson of Business Insider points to research findings pulled up by Benedict Evans of Enders Analysis which reveals that smartphone sales hover at 600 million units. And it’s not just about devices; it’s also about exploding revenue. By 2013, mobile networks saw about $1150 billion worth of revenue. Further, the share of web traffic on tablets and phones reached 8o percent.
Businesses don’t need any more reasoning to go mobile.
If you are a business owner looking to make a place for yourself in this rush for mobile, some of these tools will really help. The tools listed below are a mix of mobile apps, web-based apps, and other technology solutions.
Tools can be mixed and matched depending on your business, of course.
It’s surprising how we managed to live and do business without CRM systems in the past. Excel Spreadsheets anyone? Well, that was then. Now is the time for CRM solutions, and most of the good ones have already gone mobile-ready.
Starting from the top, both Salesforce.com and SugarCRM have mobile-ready CRM deployment available for businesses of all sizes. If you are a very small business, you can still use Mobile CRM solutions such as Base, Zoho, or Nimble.
CRM systems help you to keep track of every customer interaction, call, meeting, task, and all the details pertaining to every customer. On mobile, you can manage this information on the go.
You don’t really need an introduction to mobile apps. The smartphones are “smarter” because of the apps, and that’s true for most of the leading operating systems such as iOS and Android. There’s an app for almost any aspect of business you want to manage. Customers are certainly embracing apps.
Danyl Bosomworth of Smart Insights alludes to Google Think Insights on Mobile, which concludes that more than 26 percent of consumers depend on branded apps. More than 89 percent of consumers’ time is spent consuming online media and 11 percent of their time is spent on the mobile web.
Today’s customers are “mobile happy” (and app happy) as Chantal Tode of Mobile Marketer puts it. You can stay in touch with your contacts, schedule and share your calendars, take notes on the go, use maps to navigate your way to client meetings, keep track of flight schedules, and automate various business functions with apps.
There are apps that help you manage virtually any part of your personal or professional life:
Of course, we aren’t doing justice to the overwhelming number of apps available for possibly every business function or task. As for adoption of these apps, it’s a matter of your choice. Does using a particular app provide a clear advantage to you? Do any of the apps have the promise of saving you time or making your work processes better?
Mobile Point of Sale
Truly, everything worth knowing or using is on a march to Mobileville. What used to be bulky and sophisticated ecommerce solutions are turning the overall user experience into pure delight with mobile-friendly and accessible solutions.
Offline stores can give their customers mobile routes to check out right at the store. Online stores now have shopping carts optimized for mobile. Heck, you can even whip out your mobile device and pick up payments on the go for your products and services using solutions such as Shopify’s POS on the Cloud.
As for mobile payments for your goods and services, a couple of other tools you can consider are Sage Payment Solutions and Square.
Mobile Everything Else
Of course, your business depends on a whole lot of things such as a sustainable web presence, ability to collect leads off the web, and creating better customer experiences on mobile through design best practices.
If you were too late for the responsive design bus, consider using a quick solution such as BMobilized to create an instantly mobile version of your existing HTML-based website.
Thankfully, digital marketing also embraces the shift to mobile, and almost every conceivable marketing element – catering to traffic, analytics, and conversions – is already mobile-ready. Whatever you do, start with a mobile responsive design or dedicated mobile pages for your web assets. Landing pages, opt-in forms for newsletters, offers, social media networks, and everything else you might use for digital marketing can all be implemented as easily as plug and play for mobile platforms and devices.
Content, too, is mobile-ready now. Calls can be routed to your Skype or your mobile number while you are on the go. You could hire virtual assistants (and literally any skilled professional) on the move. Take notes, set up reminders, and even semi-automate redundant tasks.
The rise of mobile dictates the time for change. Businesses now have to adapt their entire business strategy to be centered on mobile, and that’s good news because customers could be just a search away. It’s just that you have to be ready for what’s coming. Customers are already mobile and if you aren’t ready, they aren’t interested.
How are you running your business on the move? What web apps, mobile apps, or mobile solutions have you started using for your business?