There are 3.8 billion smartphones in the world, meaning just shy of 50% of the global population has access to a powerful mobile device. These devices make up more than half of all web traffic and video views, and in the U.S., adults spend an average of four hours a day on their mobile devices. With this kind of user engagement, it’s no surprise that mobile is the platform driving many business innovations. Entrepreneurs in all industries should remember that the future is mobile.
Are you looking to improve your marketing, for example? Meet users on their mobile devices. Email marketing is often held up as the gold standard, but data shows text messaging has major advantages. Research indicates that texts have a 98% open rate compared to email’s 20%, and the 45% response rate of text is miles ahead of email’s 6%. Data also highlights how consumers use their devices while shopping in physical stores, as nearly 70% of shoppers prefer using their phones to answer questions over asking an employee.
Marketing and retail aren’t the only industries mobile is taking over, though. Telehealth is an increasingly popular subset of healthcare for convenience and safety reasons, and patients are leaning on their mobile devices to stay in touch with providers. Around 70% of patients want the option to communicate with providers via text, and messaging services can increase patient satisfaction by up to 96%.
As mobile’s considerable capabilities continue to improve in all segments, it’s vital that entrepreneurs incorporate mobile technology into their interactions with customers. There are so many ways to embrace mobile, and these four innovations are good places to start:
1. Protect consumers.
Mobile devices offer a wealth of information about user behavior. And while many companies use this information to create more targeted and effective marketing campaigns, it can also be used to protect consumers. Here’s just one example shared by Max Bichsel, vice president of U.S. business at Gambling.com: “Regulating mobile gambling and sports betting will protect consumers against offshore operators who don’t need to follow any laws and raise capital to fund problem gambling programs. With mobile, operators can easily monitor customer behaviors when they are in a mobile app, providing a more responsible gambling experience while promoting better business practices for all parties.”
Entrepreneurs in all industries can learn from this example and use mobile platforms to look after consumers’ well-being. Retailers could send text messages to customers to confirm large purchases, for instance, or fitness centers might send reminders to users about making the most of their membership before it expires. No matter what steps you take, however, it’s vital to adhere to state and federal regulations regarding mobile communication and acquire customer consent beforehand.
2. Keep physical spaces clean.
Masahiro Hara invented QR codes in 1994, and by the aughts, they were a marketing staple. Unfortunately, consumers never took to them quite like marketers did, and by 2012, they were already being called a fad. That all changed when germs became public enemy No. 1 and consumers began to prefer digital interactions over physical ones.
Jared Isaacman, CEO at Shift4 Payments, explains: “[Before the pandemic, QR code-based payments] never really took off. Throughout the pandemic, we obviously saw people pulling up menus with their phones. But then they’re also paying via QR codes. They’re even ordering with QR codes. I think some of that is here to stay because it’s just convenient.” It’s convenient, but it also reflects the touchless future. Each time your business removes a physical touchpoint, you remove a means for disease transmission and offer a more seamless experience—and customers will notice.
3. Offer cashless payments.
At the onset of the pandemic, 92% of small businesses added contactless payment options. Even as vaccinations become more widespread, consumers will continue to look for these options, and entrepreneurs across industries will need to provide them. Cashless payment is safer because it reduces the spread of germs, of course, but it also has other advantages.
When you accept cashless payments, you can process more customers through fewer checkout lanes. Research also indicates that cash transactions are four to five times slower than card payments, and some data shows that contactless payment can be as much as 10 times faster than other methods. By accepting payment via mobile devices, you’re also ensuring that customers never pass your business by because they forgot their wallet or need to reload a debit card. Plus, mobile payments carry additional data about user habits and preferences that can be useful to your marketing team.
4. Transform the shopping experience.
The pandemic devastated many in-person retail establishments, and the ones that survived will need to deliver a superlative experience to reestablish themselves. In a recent report, 76% of consumers said they wanted access to personalized in-store experiences via their mobile devices. Entrepreneurs in retail must meet this demand by using mobile to help customers find, research, and compare items. This will also help them try on products virtually, share images with friends, and more.
One of the most well-known examples of this is Warby Parker. The company revolutionized the retail eyewear industry by allowing people to try on glasses virtually on their phones, ship the glasses to their homes, or visit a brick-and-mortar store.
As emerging mobile components transform retail, however, it’s crucial for stores to preserve privacy. More than 32% of consumers wouldn’t trade data security for a better experience, so entrepreneurs will need to prioritize both to appeal to as many customers as possible.
Mobile technology has a lot to offer consumers, which means it also has vast potential for entrepreneurs who find innovative ways to incorporate it into their businesses. To start tapping into mobile’s potential, look at the four use cases above—but don’t stop there. Mobile technology has something unique to offer every business, and yours is no different.