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The power of mobile for SMEs

Mobile’s not just all about the big boys. Nik Maguire, senior mobile solutions consultant at 2ergo, discusses the power of mobile for SMEs .

The last few years have all supposedly been ‘the year of mobile’. However, the reality is that we’ve been there for a long time. Some businesses have adopted strategies much quicker than others and some are much further along the journey. Now is the time for all businesses to sit up and take note. For many SME business owners, mobile marketing is seen as something that large enterprises use to reach their mass audiences. However, this is not the case. With the rising ownership of smartphones in the UK currently standing at 50 per cent of the population (ComTech), there has never been a better time for SMEs to embark on a mobile strategy. Done correctly, it can be the perfect way to target potential or existing customers as you can add a personal touch. The main stumbling block is the initial cost – not always high but sometimes a problem when it comes to ensure that a mobile strategy brings good value to a small business, while being a worthwhile investment. However, the benefits far outweigh any initial problems. 81 per cent of smartphone owners now use their mobile phone to help them shop (Brandbank), while 24 per cent of UK smartphone owners are using their phones to compare prices in store (Mobile Planet). Finding a link between consumer research and purchase is the biggest challenge but obtaining the data and insight on who is redeeming vouchers will really inform a long term SME mobile strategy. Mary Portas’ recent campaign to reignite the UK’s high streets has received much media attention lately, with many people blaming e-commerce for the death of many traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ stores. While it is true that more and more people are now shopping online, it doesn’t have to be all doom and gloom. Businesses who can create strong multichannel strategies are faring better than most and not seeing this typical desertion of one channel for another. For example, a robust mobile strategy can help to drive people back into the high street, utilising location-based offers and loyalty promotions based on previous purchases. Recent research by Google shows that mobile search queries have grown by 3000 per cent in the last three years, making mobile hugely relevant for SMEs – people are looking for local information while they are out and about yet many businesses are still failing to capitalise on this. We have recently launched TikTap, an innovative mobile technology solution for SMEs. Retailers hook up a small pod to their EPOS systems, which forms the hub for all of their mobile solutions, including offers and incentives pushed out to customers. Customers simply download an app onto their smartphone, choose their desired offer and tap their phone against the pod to redeem it. It is a great example of how retailers can use mobile to work with the resources that they already have, fostering customer loyalty at a relatively low cost and driving people back into the high street. It is also a great way to generate valuable data, including customer buying pattern insight and voucher redemption insight in real time. The most important thing for SMEs to remember is that mobile isn’t just for larger businesses. 50 per cent of people in the UK own a smartphone yet 70 per cent of companies are yet to optimise their sites for mobile (eConsultancy). Successsful businesses will be those that can be quicker and more agile, adapting their strategies to be more flexible. Mobile provides the perfect platform to do this. Mobile image via Shutterstock

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