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Mobile apps have already been proven to be valuable business tools, and technological development means that now they are viable options for small businesses as well. Thanks to new products and services tailor-made for smaller businesses, SMB's can have access to resources that would be impossible a year ago.
For example, Apptive focuses on helping small and medium sized businesses create and manage their mobile apps. It's essential for businesses to utilize these nifty little gems to gain an optimized presence on smartphones.
It can be difficult for some small business owners to see the benefits of building a mobile app, however, but there is plenty of hard data that strengthens the case that small businesses need mobile apps.
First, there is a rapid shift away from run-of-the-mill phones to smartphones. Anecdotally you've surely noticed this trend; everyone you know and everyone you see seems to have an iPhone or an Android device. Well, studies back up what you're seeing. Nielsen recently released a study with some very interesting but hardly surprisingly results. They found that:
• 62% of 25-34 year olds reported owning a smartphone.
• 18-24 year olds had the next highest smartphone usage rate at 54%.
• 35-44 year olds come in right behind that with 53% reporting smartphone ownership.
Other interesting data points from Google we've taken notice of lately include:
• Mobile searches have exploded by 4X since 2010, to over 100 billion mobile searches in 2011. (People are looking for a lot of information directly from their smartphones, often about local businesses, where to go and what to do)
• 30% of all restaurant searches are done on the mobile phone.
• 70% of smartphone users use their device while shopping in-store
• 53% of searchers purchase as a result of a smartphone search
• 95% of smartphone users have searched for local information
• By 2013, more people will use their mobile phones than PCs to get online
A study was just released by eMarketer looking at time spent by people each day with the major media types. They found that people are now spending more time on their smartphones each day (1hr 5mins) than they are with newspapers or magazines.
In a study conducted last fall, Flurry Analytics found people are now spending more time in native apps vs. the mobile Web (94 minutes per day in apps vs. 72 minutes per day for mobile Web).
Looking at these numbers from a purely defensive standpoint you may think having a mobile app is becoming table stakes for doing business - that is, a necessary thing for doing business in today's on-the-go, hyper-connected marketplace.
However, there is an opportunity to look at it from a slightly different viewpoint: these devices offer truly unique functionality you can use to proactively grow your business. One specific example is utilizing push notifications to drive loyal customers into your business with specials and deals. Pushing these to customers' smartphones is especially useful in creating "real-time" business opportunities. Have empty appointment slots, or empty tables? Send a time sensitive push notification to those with your app and fill those appointments or tables in a couple of hours.
Those were just a few of the things pertaining to the important role mobile apps are playing now for small businesses. Visit us today at Apptive.com to learn more about how an app can optimize you for mobile and help grow your business.
This article was written by Chris Belew, Co- Founder and CEO at Apptive. Apptive is a company dedicated to enabling businesses to harness the power of smartphone apps, quickly and economically.