Mobile Searches–The Next Small Business Paradigm Shift

Local Search Marketing-st paul and mobile searches

Mobile Search Paradigm Shift

You’ve seen the powerful statistics for mobile searches.  Yet, you don’t really see how mobile searches will directly affect your small business operations?

Mobile searches and purchasing are the next small business paradigm shift. Let me say that again, mobile searches and purchasing are the next small business paradigm shift.  I invite you to read the following post.  Learn why the shift to mobile accessing e-commerce will change the entire way you do business in the next 18 months.

A Mobile Experience with Your Business…

To understand this paradigm shift, you must start with a question.  The question is not, “How do I adapt my business to mobile screens?”  The real question is, “What do my customers want from a mobile experience with my business?”

Today, customers control the buying process.  Mobile access gives them even more power over the buying process.  To understand the changes involved, let’s look at how the mobile customer differs from your traditional online customer.

Mobile Access to Your Website Information… 

Only ten percent of local business websites are mobile friendly.  If someone were to view your business website on their mobile phone would it look like the website on the left or the website on the right? Mobile searchers have made it very clear.  They will not return to a business site where they have a poor mobile experience. 

Local Search Marketing St Paul Mobile searches

Adapting your website design to be mobile friendly is the easiest part of making your business mobile friendly.   Does it load fast?  Is the text simple and clear?  Are the buttons big enough for people to operate with their thumbs?  Can you automatically call from your mobile site?  In a future post, I will show tips and tricks to adapt your current website to make it more mobile friendly. 

What does your website look like on a mobile devise?

Mobile Stages in the Sales Process…

Every business has a sales process or sales funnel through which customers flow from initial interest to ultimate purchase.  Successful businesses understand their online sales process.  They use online techniques like emails, special bonuses and other online tools to convert potential customers into buyers.

The use of mobile access in the purchasing process changes the sales dynamic.   What do you do with the customers who are in your store and use mobile access to check prices and options from your competitor?  

Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke calls this “the new era of price transparency.”  Others called this “showrooming.”  Best Buy, the technology giant, has been forced to change its business model largely in reaction to “showrooming.”  Almost half of the mobile users use their phones inside the stores to check prices and competitive options.  Where does “showrooming” fit in your sales funnel?

With mobile, we no longer see a linear e-commerce path that begin and end on the same device.  Many start and complete their purchase on a phone.  Others start on their mobile and end up buying in store or on a different device.  Small businesses will need to learn how and when mobile searches fit into their sales process.

Mobile Searches Demand a New Sales Expertise…

Will you or your staff need retraining in light of mobile searches?  73% of the smart phone users would rather use the phone than deal with retail staff.  Sears, the giant company everyone left behind, is providing free Wi-Fi to drive shoppers to their stores where they can compare prices, place orders or pick up in store orders.  They also experimenting with iPads and iPod Touch devices.  Clerks can use these devices with customers to find a product, check inventory or place an order online.  The mobile shopper will force a new type of salesmanship.

Mobile Search Advertising…

It may seem like the mobile buyers have gained huge advantages over the small business seller.  However, the small business owner can use the same mobile tools to make their products and services more attractive to the mobile buyer.

With mobile search ads, you can reach consumers when they’re searching for your product in the physical world. When a consumer types “buy jeans San Francisco,” he’s asking a question which good ads will answer.  Remember, convincing a shopper who’s searching for a flat-screen TV on mobile from inside a major retail store to instead buy online from you could be as simple as adding “We’ll remove your old TV!” to your mobile search ad!  Mobile ads will not be your traditional media ads!

Conclusion

The paradigm shift has started.  It is clear from the above elements that how people buy, when people buy, the shopping experiences in stores, the sales process, and retail staff are going to change significantly in reaction to mobile searching and purchasing.  

Some forward businesses are now saying, they want to design their business for mobile first because of the dramatic shift mobile is bring to the buying process.  The change is coming and it is coming more rapidly than experts predicted.  These changes will overtake our small business world in less than 18 months.  The question is:”Will your business operations be mobile ready?” 

In the next post, I will share a free resource you can use to test your current website.  On this site, you can see what potential customers see on their mobile devices when they view your website. 

If you would like to read an excellent resource on the mobile revolution, check out Google’s free e-book, The Mobile Playbook.

What is your biggest concern with the paradigm shift to mobile searches?   

 

 

 

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