umb skin1 Web Content Viewer

umb skin2 Actions

Business owners should prioritize their online and mobile presence

Date posted:  10/30/14 10:45:00 AM Mobile shopping is expected to boom this holiday season.

In the vastly competitive trade of retail shopping, small business owners need to take advantage of any opportunity that presents itself. While it can be hard to decipher how to improve the position of one's venture, there are steps most business owners can take without breaking the bank.

A recent study released by the CFI Group, a global leader of insight behind the American Customer Satisfaction Index, stated small business owners should examine - and try to improve - their online presence and mobile platform.

Why is an online site and mobile platform so important heading into the holiday season?
The survey, which polled 1,000 consumers in a sponsored study by eBay Enterprise, found 70 percent of consumers have used a smartphone when buying a product in the last six months. And that number is expected to increase dramatically as time goes on. The CFI Group expects mobile shopping to reach an all-time high this holiday season.

"We're witnessing an unprecedented rise in the popularity of mobile shopping and that is likely to increase as shoppers turn to their devices at home and in brick-and-mortar stores this holiday season," Sheri Petras, CEO of CFI Group, said in a statement.

The 70 percent of respondents who have used a smartphone when buying a product is up from 59 percent in 2013. Additionally, more people expect to make purchases using a smartphone in the coming year. More than 40 percent of respondents said they plan to purchase goods or services with their smartphones in 2015.

"A strong mobile strategy will be the determining factor between this year's retail winners and losers," Petras said.

According to CFI Group, a large portion of shoppers are using their smartphones for two reasons: to compare prices and to read about product reviews.

Mobile applications or mobile browsers?
More than half of all respondents - 54 percent - said they use both mobile commerce sites and applications on their smartphones. However, consumers were twice as likely to prefer shopping using a mobile website than an application they would have to download.

"Integration is key to success," Petras said. "Retailers need to meet their customers at all shopping channels, especially mobile, if they want to be competitive this season."

Ninety-three percent of consumers who use a mobile device to research a product or service end up making a purchase, with the majority of those buys occurring in the store, according to a study released by Think with Google.

Another outlook for a robust shopping season
Along with the study from CFI Group, IBM has projected online shopping will be at an all-time high for this coming holiday shopping season.

"Without question, this will be a strong holiday shopping season," Jay Henderson, director of strategy for IBM ExperienceOne, said in a statement.

IBM stated online sales should increase 15 percent over the five days from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday. The largest increase on a year-over-year basis for mobile shopping should come on Cyber Monday, with predictions of a 15.8 percent growth compared to the previous year. Thanksgiving is next in line, with a projected year-over-year sales growth of 15.6 percent.

Black Friday, typically the best day for in-store shopping for retailers, should see a mobile shopping increase of 13 percent, according to IBM.

A few suggestions for business owners
With the Internet fueling a ton of product research, consumers are becoming savvier than ever before as they start creating their holiday shopping list.

That's why Reach Local recommends business owners make sure their online presence is as clean and concise as possible. This entails deleting any expired promotions that might be floating around the web or updating social media accounts with seasonal images.