The Mobile App Bandwagon: Small Business Savior or Gimmick? | Innovation Insights | WIRED

By comprehending the benefits of digital to one’s business in the form of a mobile/native app, fledgling enterprises can easily reap the advantages of lower overhead costs and time, diminishing administrative demands, increased user engagement and exposure, and overall larger profits across the board.

According to a recent 2012 study from the Small Business and Entrepreneur Council, 78 percent of small business owners about 1.28 million have cited that they’ve saved an estimated 5.6 hours a median of 4.0 hours per day on the job simply from their firm’s use of mobile apps. Clearly, it’s evident that time does indeed translate into money. With the amount of hours of man power saved using apps, the translation into a dollar amount is certainly positive. The report delves deeper by providing an approximate number for savings in the form of $275 a week and $14,317 per year – a staggering figure for anyone with a small business or start up.

The concept of integrating apps into small business operations also has its fair share of marketing advantages. A New York Times article cites the following example

As Mobile Revolutionizes Commerce, How Marketers Are Taking Advantage

App MarketingApps are also bridging the gap between brick-and-mortar retailers and e-commerce sites. Essentially, they have opened up new marketplaces in which both marketers and consumers benefit. For consumers, apps create a personalized digital environment that is extremely user-friendly.On the marketers’ side, apps provide a direct communication channel with their customer as well as access to real-time, user-level data that helps brands understand their customers’ journey. As a result, marketers become better equipped with knowledge of when to push out notifications, coupons, and deals, as well as deploy in-app targeting and update pertinent brand and consumer information.In many ways, apps have changed the role of the e-commerce site with their ability to facilitate research either by expediting the process with a quick scan of a QR code or by sifting through personalized content within the app itself.A great example of a branded app fulfilling timely consumer needs is American Apparel’s mobile app because it complements the in-store experience with outfit pairing suggestions, sale information and interactive product labels made accessible via QR codes.

Location-Based Mobile Marketing is Where It’s At for Consumers

Use of a geolocation feature is more than a nice-to-have option on a smartphone or tablet — its use has become a routine part of a consumer’s daily life. With U.S. smartphone penetration at 74% and rising, this represents a significant market share of the U.S. buying population.
Geo-Location Tied To Consumer Behavior

What’s especially interesting to marketers is that, aside from seeking directions to specific place, geolocation-enabled activities are most often directly related to consumer-related behavior. Whether it’s looking for a good place to grab a drink or researching a specific product in a retail store, customers have come to rely on their mobile devices as vital sources of information upon which they make an increasing number of decisions about how to spend their time and money.

Trend reports also show an interesting tipping point, consumers are now more likely to “check out” information that’s related to their current location rather than share or “check in” with their current status.
Checking Out Info, Rather Than Checking In

This means that there is a decrease in activity for check-in services such as Foursquare and social hubs like Facebook and an increase in consumers’ preference for marketers to nudge or push relevant, personalized content to their devices in real time. (That’s why Foursquare’s latest iOS version relies more on push alerts.) Alert-based ads and product information fit this appetite for content well and provide genuine value to consumers.

In fact, a nifty infographic provided by MDG Advertising shows that a whopping 72% of consumers say they will respond to calls-to-action in marketing messages they receive within sight of the retailer. With only 23% of retail marketers using some type of geotargeted data in their mobile marketing, there is a huge opportunity to give customers what they want when they want it.

Retailers are under threat by the internet.

Retail Under threat from the internet

The Internet has changed everything — especially when it comes to shopping for consumer electronics such as TVs. The Internet now is the place where most consumers start their shopping, by checking specifications, reading reviews and comparing prices.

“No matter what I want to buy, I go to the Internet first — get an idea what the product is, what the price is,” said Syed Akhter, professor of marketing at Marquette University. “And as online retailers have figured out, once I go to their place, they make it so attractive for me in terms of price, in terms of assortment, in terms of varieties, that I say, ‘OK fine, I’ll buy it from you.’ That is what is happening.”

In other cases, consumers might first search the Internet, go to a retail store to see a product in person and then hunt online for a lower price — a practice called “showrooming.”

Unless a bricks-and-mortar appliance and electronics business has something special to offer the consumer, it will lose out to competitors, industry analysts say. That’s what happened to American TV, Akhter said.  American TV was undone by the Internet – Apps prevent that

Retailers are under threat by the internet.

Big Box or small time, the Internet has changed everything. Business must get mobile apps to survive.

“They didn’t have what we call in marketing a compelling value proposition,” he said. “That means I did not have any reason to go to their store. They were not…READ MORE
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