Holiday Shoppers Are Going Mobile: Is Your Small Business Prepared?

The only smartphone or tablet application you may not encounter this holiday season is the one that is capable of carrying your packages.

The marketplace has gone mobile, with everything from price-checking apps to map apps that show you where to find that sought-after item inside a particular store. In fact, the amount of mobile shopping this holiday season is expected to increase by about 40 percent.

Is your small business prepared to capture your share of the mobile business?

As with anything that’s worth your hard work, if you don’t know why it’s important, you’re less likely to put the effort into the task. Many small business owners are simply not aware of the impact that mobile and online commerce will have on buying trends this upcoming holiday season and in the future. Others lag behind because of the costs associated with mobile optimization. But it may be well worth the money to move into the mobile arena because small businesses can’t afford to lose revenue from customers on the move.

The recently released Deloitte Annual Holiday Survey of Holiday Spending Intentions and Trends identifies this as the “big thing” for 2013: more consumers are shopping mobile and local! In fact, 66 percent of shoppers plan to shop locally at small businesses, independent retailers or boutique shops, which are not part of national chains. The survey also says that one-third (34 percent) of consumers’ budgets will be spent at local stores. That is a serious chunk of change for a small business.

But just how will those consumers spend that stash?

Deloitte’s survey identifies a key finding in the buyer’s arena: smartphone ownership is now at 61 percent of consumers. With increasing smartphone ownership comes consumer-driven digital shopping, which greatly expands the base of shoppers that retailers can access via mobile devices. The survey goes on to report that among smartphone owners, nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) plan to use their devices for holiday shopping. And this is how they’ll use them: to search for store locations (56 percent), check and compare prices (54 percent), and obtain product information (47 percent). And these men and women love to shop-til-they-drop. Deloitte’s Annual Holiday Survey says that these mobile maniacs plan to spend 27 percent more on holiday gifts than non-smartphone owners!

Here are some steps you can take to optimize your mobile presence:

  • Make your small business mobile site K.I.S.S. approved (Keep It Simple Stupid). Why? Think about how most of your buyers navigate through your mobile commerce website. With their index finger! Make everything easy to find and easy to use. It’s a mobile site, so keep content to a minimum.
  • Make sure to register your small business or start up on all online and mobile directories. This will increase consumer awareness of your site and increase SEO. The catch? There is none. A lot of this “claiming” activity is free.
  • Post, tweet, share, comment, and “like” regularly. Social media platforms can generate and increase consumer engagement. Online word-of-mouth is a priceless marketing tool that must be utilized, especially during the holiday season. Do remember that word-of-mouth is a double-edged sword. Make your customer’s experience full of holiday cheer.

About the Author: Susan Solovic is THE Small Business Expert. Sign up for Susan’s Success Tips Newsletter and get your free copy of “Smart Marketing Strategies for Small Biz” ebook.

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