Mobile Technology as a Starting Point for Your Digital Transformation
Today, the top 500 merchants can credit 40% of their sales to mobile platforms. It’s a phenomenon that’s only increasing. Sales over mobile apps more than doubled between 2014 and 2017.
Many business owners may take the savvy steps of nurturing a social media presence and leveraging whitehat SEO to their advantage, but don’t stop to consider whether they are targeting the right platforms.
It would be wise to make the most of mobile opportunities and focus on delivering a streamlined experience to customers, so here’s how you can take charge of the mobile revolution.
Mobile Payments Should be Part of Your Offer
Online-only retailers offer a distinct advantage in their ability to take orders online and deliver them directly to a customer’s door. But mobile payments don’t have to be reserved exclusively for online businesses.
Whether you’re a pizza parlor, a hair salon, or a brick and mortar retail outlet, setting up a system where your customers can pay through their phone and pick up their product or receive their service at your store will usher in a new era for your business.
It also cuts out the middleman by reducing the need for your staff to handle billing in person.
The idea of mobile payments can be applied to walk-in customers as well. The ability to make a payment with the swipe of a phone is marvelous.
The NFC (near field communication) technology that made it possible is one of the most convenient new innovations in brick and mortar commerce, and it lets your customers know you’re willing to go the extra effort to stay ahead of the curve.
Creating a Point of Sale system that facilitates mobile wallet services like Square, Google Pay, and Apple Pay may have a bit of overhead, but it will pay off in the long term. And it’s likely to become the standard rather than the exception shortly.
Integrate New Digital Touchpoints
Have you ever asked yourself what the touchpoints are between you and your customers?
If their primary way of getting in touch with you is by walking into your store, calling your office, or sending you an email they never get a reply to, you’re way behind.
As digital technology matures, the customer’s expectations are growing. For many businesses, this means investing in their very own app.
Most users today prefer instant contact via chat, so, having a chat channel directly integrated into your app is a great way to start, but that’s just scratching the surface of what a customer-facing app can accomplish.
Touchpoints go both ways. With an app, you can easily communicate back with them through push notifications, interfaces personalized to their browsing habits and shopping history, loyalty rewards programs, and social media integration.
An app allows you to directly engage with your customers, and the options are wide open.
You’ll want to make sure you understand the app development process before you take the plunge.
One thing about app development you should know is that it’s not your job to understand the technical side of things – you need to understand the business side of developing an app, and learn to determine how to hire the right professionals to build your app.
Keeping Your Team on the Same Page
Conference rooms and mandatory in-house company meetings are already considered old-school. If your staff needs to all be present at a certain place and time, you’re almost always going to be bleeding efficiency somewhere.
Communications software allows your team to all be present for important debriefings without actually having to be present. Transitioning your conferences and presentations to apps like Viddy, Skype, and Tout is an important step for any modern business, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune.
Workplace communications tools like Slack can create a more productive environment, and they’re more versatile than traditional texts, emails or messaging services.
The important part is sitting down and putting a system in place for inter-office communications.
An ecosystem with countless different messaging platforms is going to quickly turn into chaos. You don’t have to develop a customer-facing app only – invest in your own in-house app and keep everyone in the loop with push notifications.
Sticking to one system allows for cleaner communications, less confusion, and better archiving for when you need quick access to information.
Banking Right Through Your Phone
Mobile payment tools can significantly improve your point of sale system, but you’ll likely want to move your internal finances to mobile-friendly alternatives as well.
With the ability to access your sales numbers or expense figures right through your phone, you’ll have a finger on the beating heart of your company financials.
Most of the biggest banks have their own dedicated mobile apps now, whether it’s Chase’s Jot interface or Wells Fargo Mobile For Business.
This isn’t a phenomenon that’s reserved for owners, managers, and accountants either. Account expense software like Zoho, Concur, and Workday integrates a robust desktop platform with mobile tools.
Your employees won’t have to waste their time-saving paper receipts or filling out expense reports once they get back to the office. Instead, they can just scan the information right through their phones.
Best of all, these platforms allow the people who hold the purse strings to receive reports on where the money is being spent practically in real-time. And if you need access to more detailed information, it’s accessible on the cloud through your work computer.
Updating Your Website
A mobile app is great, but even the newest phones have limited space, and not every customer is going to want to download your app to their device. All businesses should make responsive design a critical component of their website development policy.
Responsive frameworks like Bootstrap make it easy to put together a web site that works ideally across a variety of platforms. Making sure it’s optimized is also important if you want it to be ranked well and have visitors.
It’s just about putting a system in place for your web designers and making sure they stick to it. Establishing policies now will save you a lot of trouble in the future.
Bridging the Gap Between the Real and Virtual Worlds
Today’s digital world is deeply intertwined with ours. We use our phones for everything – calls, texting, ordering food, purchasing items and software, reading the news and much more.
Businesses realized that they have to become a part of the mobile world as well, and there’s really no better way to engage your customers than with your very own phone app.
The possibilities are almost endless: GPS tracking built into your customer-facing app is a great way to remind them of when they’re passing by your store, you can send them push notifications with new offers, hot new deals or discounts, increasing your business opportunities considerably.