For small businesses looking for more opportunities for growth in the years ahead, there's one definite trend that can't be overlooked – everyone is developing a mobile presence nowadays, and those who don't are in serious danger of being left behind.
Newsday recently shined some light on the growing trend of mobile business in the United States, including a tidbit from International Data that by 2017, more consumers will access the internet via their mobile devices than with traditional personal computers. Any business that doesn't adapt within the next four years will be missing out.
"It's the preferred method of consumers to engage businesses and brands, especially small businesses," Skoop CEO Dan Giacopelli said.
Mobile banking and mobile financial services have reached record heights. eMarketer estimated that U.S. mobile commerce sales rose by 81 percent in 2012, reaching a total of nearly $25 billion. That number is expected to rise by another 55.7 percent in 2013. By 2016, mobile commerce is expected to account for 24 percent of all retail sales – that's $86.8 billion.
Newsday explains a number of strategic elements to be aware of before designing a mobile site. Like any creative project, it requires knowing one's audience – companies must know their demographics, understand their interests and keep tabs on how they like to receive information, such as through emails, calls, texts or mobile alerts.
Next, a business needs to have a budget in place for deploying mobile content. A mobile site can be as cheap as $500 to build, whereas hiring an independent app developer might cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Businesses are using a variety of strategies to drum up support for their mobile sites and apps. Among their initiatives are contests, coupons, loyalty programs, text message campaigns and marketing on sites like Foursquare. Not all of these methods are essential, but employing one or more of them will certainly help to drive interest among consumers.
There's a boatload of money to be made in the mobile world. According to an Oracle study recently published by Forbes, global mobile commerce will total $1 trillion by 2017, and ecommerce spending on mobile devices will be the No. 1 driver of mobile purchases. No business wants to be left behind when mobile devices render PCs obsolete. Every business that wants to survive until 2020 is adapting to the technologies of our changing world.