M-Commerce

6 Reasons Your Small Business Needs M-Commerce (and 6 ways to get in the game)

Just when you got the hang of e-commerce, they had to go and change the game on you again with “m-commerce”. What a pain, right? Actually, it’s not so bad. You might even see a sales bump out of it! What is “m-commerce” (aka mobile commerce)? Techopedia offers this definition:

“[M-commerce is a term that describes online sales transactions that use wireless electronic devices such as hand-held computers, mobile phones or laptops.”

Or, as a normal person might put it: M-commerce is buying stuff with your smartphone. Even more broadly, m-commerce is connecting businesses with their clients on their mobile devices.

M-commerce is huge; everyday it’s becoming a larger slice of total sales recorded. Some estimates put it close to $10 billion dollars. You can find wealth of very interesting stats, but the takeaway is that LOTS of consumers are spending money on transactions that are somehow related to their mobile devices.

Not convinced your small business should get involved? Read on and we’ll give you six good reasons to hop in and six ways to go about it:

1. To Boost Sales – Coupons

A very simple way to get involved with m-commerce is to text your customers coupons. If you’re savvy, you can even set it up so they get a coupon when they walk into your store! (And if you’re not too savvy, hire a specialist like us to handle the details).

You have to be careful with texting in general, though, given that it may cost some folks extra money to receive a text, and many people don’t like to pay a fee to get spammed. If you’ve gotten clearance from the customer beforehand, however, this can be a great way to share deals with them. Just make sure you have a clear opt-out at the end of your messages!

Our solution is to provide your business with an app, where you can send a push notification to the customer. Push notifications are generally seen as less intrusive because the customer has chosen to download your app.

2. To Reward Customers – Loyalty Cards

Many people are unhappy with the pile of loyalty cards filling up their wallet, and have become resistant to sign up for a new card with a new merchant (even if they shop there frequently). Digital loyalty cards are the answer. All customers have to do is download a quick token which can be scanned at the POS, and they’re good to go. However, if your customers like having a wallet that appears full because it makes them look like a baller, you can give them all your old loyalty cards when you make the switch to digital.

3. To Open a New Avenue for Sales – Mobile Storefront

You (or a company like App Development Solutions) can set this up as a simple mobile website, or you can create a native app for it. Keep it simple, keep graphics light, and make it very easy for clients to purchase through. This works great for small purchases. Think of a small concert venue that sells $20 tickets. If they create an app that displays a notification when a new concert is announced, people can see it, pop open the app, check out a simple ad, and click to grab tickets. They can even have tickets delivered to their device, and just present a bar code on their screen for scanning on the night of the show.

Another obvious example is Apple’s App store itself. You see a game title, a rating, and a price. If you want, you can click to read more. And a purchase is only a click or two away. Be like Apple – they seem to be doing okay, financially.

4. To Learn About Your Customers

Apps are wonderfully flexible. One interesting use is to collect data about your customers. If you’re independently wealthy, and you don’t mind if your business fails, this probably doesn’t interest you. But for those who depend on their small business to make a living, it can be very valuable to learn more about the people that buy your products. An app can utilize these connections and voluntarily collect valuable information.

5. To Process Payment

Need a portable card reader? Just use your phone. Want customers to be able to pay without having to take their card out? Just use their phone. Payment processing is undergoing a revolution, and it can make your small business a lot more efficient. How? Well, if you’re a wedding planner, for example, you could plug Square’s tiny card reader into your phone, and process a payment while you’re visiting a client in their home. Or, you can use it to make friends pay up instantly on their bar bets. Cashless society – here we come!

6. To Engage Customers – Apps (in general)

Hopefully these tips get your entrepreneurial juices flowing and show you some of the benefits of m-commerce. There’s lots of opportunity to get in touch with your customers, boost sales, and make things easier for everyone involved. And if not, at least you learned a new buzzword. Go make someone feel out-of-the-loop!