Small Business Goes Mobile: Giving Your Customers Options
One of the first questions to consider when starting a business is your hook. What can you offer that the competition doesn’t have? Customers have always valued innovation, quality and service, but in today’s increasingly high-tech world, nothing is more critical than convenience.
Modern customers love their devices. The abundance of smart phones, tablets and laptops you see out in the world is proof of that fact. Consumers have become accustomed to round-the-clock access to information, products and services, and the most successful small businesses are the ones that track and adapt to these trends.
If you’re in the planning stages of starting a business, neglecting to account for the mobile world could be a costly mistake. Where a website offering online sales was more of a frill ten years ago, today it is practically mandatory. Not only do customers expect online access, they want to be able to use your website on whatever device is currently available.
What does this increased emphasis on mobility mean for small business owners? First, it means that website design — preferably for a website that is smart phone friendly — should be an integral part of your marketing budget. It’s important to be aware of how customers will be using your website, and to plan accordingly. If your site is primarily informational, for example, the text should take center stage.
Another important website issue, especially when dealing with online sales, is to choose a shopping cart platform that is straightforward and easy to use. Shop around and test several platforms before deciding on a service. Some entrepreneurs make the mistake of going with the cheapest option here, and later find that their sales suffer. When customers have to go through too many log-ins or even more than a couple of pages of registration, they are more likely to simply find another site from which to make their purchase.
It isn’t just your customers who need mobility, however. You and your employees need to be connected as much as possible. Modern tracking and database options enable small businesses to view and analyze metrics from anywhere. Whether you are starting a business in the sales or service industry, answering questions and fulfilling orders as quickly as possible is the key to gaining customer loyalty.
Look into database programs and website tracking that offer mobile access via smart phones and other devices. If you have employees who telecommute — an increasingly popular option that can help save on the cost of utilities and office space for your business — the right software and mobile devices can keep you and your workforce connected while offering customers efficient, convenient service.
In some ways starting a business today is far more complicated than in years past, but all the complexity technology adds it makes up for in increased convenience, mobility and efficiency for both you and your customers.