Nearly 72% of the population in the US has smartphones according to comScore. That number is expected to balloon to 90% by 2016. These devices are changing consumer behaviors and expectations from businesses. Consumers want more personalized information on deals and offers, more secure transactions, and better ways to engage with businesses. In fact, according to some of our studies over 70% of smartphone owners use their phones during the shopping process often or every time. With so many consumers using these devices you with think it would be a major priority for small businesses to utilize mobile technology to engage with their customers. It really hasn’t happened yet on a broad scale, however we are starting to see some indications this will be changing in the near future.
According to our recent small business survey, mobile technology is starting to play a bigger role with small businesses and this trend is expected to continue going into 2015. Below are some key highlights from our study:
Small Businesses View Mobile Payment Systems in a New Light
There has been a lot of press lately about mobile payments and the influence Apple Pay will have over this segment of the market and there should be. They are a game changer. We are starting to see that small businesses are making traction in this area. Nearly, 33% of small business surveyed currently have the ability to accept mobile payments. This number is up 32% from the prior six months and is expected to grow 50% more over the next twelve months. When we asked businesses that currently accept mobile payments what percentage of their sales over the next 12 months they expect to transact this way, over 50% stated more than 33% of their sales. Many business owners view the benefits of mobile payments as a way to reduce costs and increase customer satisfaction.
Mobile Management is a Top Priority for Small Businesses
Being able to accept mobile payments is one thing. Many businesses also want the added flexibility that mobile technology brings. This is especially true in the restaurant segment where using mobile devices for ordering is becoming more popular. When we asked about mobile technology one of the most important factors with POS systems is mobile capability. Small businesses view ordering, scheduling appointments & being able to see dashboards reduces costs and provides an advantage over competition.
Reputation Management is Critical but Challenging
Many small businesses recognize the importance of maintaining a positive reputation, however it still remains a challenge. Over 60% of small businesses surveyed that have a process for consumers to provide feedback view it has had a positive impact on their business. This is great however, over half stated it is too time consuming to manage on their own especially on the social media side of things. This leads to the last point.
Small Businesses Need Help and Will Listen
Small business owners know they don’t have the time or knowledge to manage everything nor do they want to. They are looking to their partners to provide the expertise and guidance. The top areas small businesses stated they want help with include online media (50%), ecommerce (25%) and listings management (18%).
Small businesses will listen to new providers, however when being pitched a new product or service, small businesses want pricing information, how the product or service will benefit their business illustrated by case studies or demos and all their questions or concerns addressed.
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