As many small businesses now know, to stay competitive these days, you need to be mobile. But being mobile is not just about having a mobile-friendly website. (Though if you are a retail or service business, having a mobile website is a must.) It means connecting with on-the-go customers and employees – and helping mobile customers and employees to connect with you (and each other). And these seven mobile applications can help small and midsized businesses do just that.
1. Mobile geo-targeting (marketing & sales). With the rise of beacons and geo-targeting, “it’s become increasingly easy to target key users with location-specific, time-sensitive messages via mobile apps,” says Johan den Haan, CTO, Mendix. “For example, by integrating geo-location technology into a mobile application, businesses can send special offers to customers who are in close proximity to stores.”
“By using this approach, small businesses can decrease spend, narrow their focus and deliver targeted ads to consumers at the right time and place,” adds Roger Hurni, chief creative officer & managing partner, Off Madison Ave.
Furthermore, “combining geo-fencing with SMS texts allows you to connect immediately with customers who are near your business,” says Ashley Orndorff, market research analyst & copywriter, Visual Impact Group. “Set it up for your loyal customers and send them a text about a sale built just for them, a special event or a flash sale when they are oh-so-conveniently close to your store. You'll make them feel special, and by leveraging both exclusivity and scarcity, they'll be more likely to stop in for a purchase or two.”
2. Mobile customer loyalty programs. “Create a mobile app for your loyalty rewards program,” says Orndorff. “Customers who download the app get access to exclusive deals, early bird specials and more.” To make the app even more effective, survey customers (or have the app do it) to find out which rewards they prefer. “Not only do you obtain valuable information to better your business and offers, but your customer feels more appreciated and valued as well,” she says. It also “increases engagement and revenue.”
“Punch cards have long been away to reward loyal customers, with some success, but prove to be frustrating for both the seller and the customer in tracking the punch card (punches, purchases, lost cards and zero purchase reporting),” says Dawn Crowder, owner, Carolina Clover, which sells jewelry and gifts. “We sought a smarter mobile solution for both the customer, who is always carrying her phone and loves a good coupon, and us the seller to gain insight to our loyal customers and communicate with them and reward them,” she explains.
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