The holiday season has arrived. As shoppers get ready to stampede big box retail stores on Black Friday, small business owners everywhere are preparing to kick-off the all-important holiday shopping season with a more personal and localized approach onSmall Business Saturday, Nov. 30.
Mobile shopping is anticipated to play a huge role this holiday retail season. In fact, an independent Deloitte study suggests that smartphone owners will spend approximately 52 percent more than non-owners on gifts this year. For small business owners, a few simple, inexpensive mobile marketing strategies can help you successfully promote your business, improve productivity and boost sales.
1. Make your local presence known. Small Business Saturday is all about "shopping local." On-the-go consumers often use mobile devices to locate nearby businesses, find offers and compare prices. In fact, according to a recent Nielsen study commissioned by Google, 93 percent of people who use their mobile device to research a product or service go on to complete the purchase.
To capitalize on this trend, make certain that potential customers can easily find your business through mobile searches, ensure that your emails are optimized for mobile reading, and boost your presence on social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, frequently viewed via mobile devices. Simply allowing people to dial your business number directly by tapping on it on their smartphone screen can go a long way.
Location-based services such as Foursquare, Yelp, Facebook and Monitter.com, a site that lets you search Twitter for specific search terms based on geographic location, can also help you attract local customers with targeted offers, gifts or discounts. Businesses using Foursquare can reward customers for shopping in-store, while also encouraging them to share the news across any number of social networks for increased brand awareness.
SMS messaging is also an effective way to connect with both new and loyal customers. Small businesses can set-up a system that allows patrons to opt-in to receive text messages about special offers or services, holiday sales, coupons and new products.
2. Mobilize the retail shopping experience. Break free from time consuming payment processes, carbon copy credit card receipts and stationary point-of-sale stations with mobile payment solutions. With smartphones and tablets, you can also look up inventory or communicate with employees in the back of the store for immediate assistance. Employees can take photos of hot products and use mobile devices to post directly to social media sites such as Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram to spark conversations with followers and drive additional traffic into your store.
3. Help improve productivity with mobile apps. According to a Small Business and Entrepreneur Council study, small businesses save more than 725 million employee hours annually with mobile apps. For business owners who manage multiple locations or are always on-the-go, the right technology can make or break business. T-Mobile can help your business find productivity-enhancing applications that best fit your needs based on your industry, job function and business priority.
4. Use mobile to build community togetherness. Customers shop Main Street to show community support and boost the local economy. This Small Business Saturday, mobile affords you the opportunity to inform and attract local customers, while also letting consumers know that you care about their community.
Inspire customers with promotions that cater to your local community, provide a neighborly experience or promote local traditions. In your mobile outreach campaigns, help customers get involved with the community by suggesting they bring in a can of food for a local food drive or participate in a fundraiser to benefit a local school or organization.
5. Follow-up. Small Business Saturday is a great opportunity for a quick boost in sales, but be sure to take advantage of this day as a way to create ongoing success throughout the year. Enhance existing customer loyalty programs with mobile rewards, coupons and other special offers through ongoing social media and mobile marketing campaigns.