Why A Mobile App May Be Good For Your Small Business

As smart phone adoption increases in America (estimated to be over 50 percent by the end of 2011 according to Asymco), more and more consumers are turning to their mobile devices as a source of information when shopping.

What does this mean for small business retail store owners?  Consumers are no longer taking the traditional route of walking into a store, speaking to a sales associate and making a purchase.  They are using their smart phones to find more information and make better decisions than ever before.  It is not uncommon for a shopper to conduct price comparisons with your competitors while inside your store.  If you own a retail store you may want to consider adding an easy to use mobile application that your customers can use to create a better, and more interactive experience.

Why Mobile Applications?

According to a survey conducted by Demandware:

  • Only 12 percent of retailers have a mobile application available to consumers to download, while  23 percent of consumers currently use mobile applications when shopping and 50 percent plan to do so in the near future.
  • 38 percent of consumers use their smart phones to check in-store product availability with 52 percent expecting to do it in the future.  Only 29 percent of retailers allow consumers to use this feature.
  • 62 percent of consumers say that they intend to use their smart phone to make a purchase, while only 32 percent of retailers allow online purchases using a smart phone.

What Retailers Can Do

A traditional transaction based shopping experience is no longer an option for retailers as consumers now expect a more interactive shopping experience with the brands they shop with.  Some things you may want to consider are:

  • Use QR codes in your product displays where consumers can check reviews and pricing for that particular product. Many retailers may balk at this but consumers are doing it anyway, you can now make shopping with you easier and much more informative.
  • Have an in store tablet device.  Have a tablet computer on display at your front counter where consumers can read reviews, log in to your online store, and even watch a customer testimonial video for that product.
  • Use Twitter and Facebook.  If you have an active Twitter and/or  Facebook community, offer deals and sneak previews to your loyal fans using these platforms.  Want to increase your followers and likes even more?  Have in in store monitor mounted on the wall that has your live Twitter stream or Facebook stream for shoppers to see.  Allow them to follow and like you right from the store.
  • Have a mobile application available to your customers where they can check product inventories, make purchases or to read reviews.

Making The Consumer Experience Easy and Interactive

Moving beyond just the traditional shop and buy mentality that most retailers are still holding onto can give your retail business a competitive advantage.  By creating an interactive experience as well as becoming a resource for your customers, your business will stay at the forefront of consumer shopping trends and keep customer engagement high.


Big Commerce.  Online E Commerce and Shopping Cart platform.  Offers mobile shopping features.

Delivr.  Free and easy way to create QR codes


image credit:Stuart Miles

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CEO at 3Bug Media
Gary Shouldis is the founder of 3Bug Media, a web marketing company that helps businesses create 360 Marketing Strategies to dominate their market. His blog is read by over 20 thousand small business owners a month and has been featured in the N.Y. Times Small Business, Business Insider and Yahoo Small Business.