Small businesses are facing a mobile challenge. While consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to shop, share and socialize, small businesses seem reluctant to mobilize, making it harder for them to leverage their mobile audience.

Mobile Optimization for All

Defining mobile can be challenging in itself. Most, if not all of us regularly use a mobile device to email, share documents, and engage socially across media. Additionally, most small businesses encourage the use of mobile devices in their business operations. However, when it comes to optimizing small businesses to engage with customers through a mobile interface, the stats are troubling.

According to a recent survey of small businesses in the UK, respondents indicated that they don't see the value of mobile for business or don’t think that mobile is relevant to their industry or business. 

  • Approximately 61% of small businesses currently do not have a mobile search strategy, leaving consumers unable to find them via a smartphone device. 
  • 39% of small businesses have no strategy in place for mobile optimization.
  • 20% of small businesses report using mobile solutions, like QR codes, mobile-optimised websites, dedicated apps, and text message marketing, for their businesses

In the US, the stats aren't much better. According to a survey by ControlScan

  • 49% of SMB eCommerce merchants know their websites are not currently optimized for mobile devices
  • 82% of ecommerce merchants don’t know whether a purchase on their website comes from a mobile device or a PC. 

Small Business, Big Opportunity

Overall, small businesses were fast to capitalize on social media, beating out larger companies who got stuck in bureaucratic red tape and governance issues. So why can’t they capitalize on mobile in the same way? Optimizing for mobile has become easier and more affordable. Popular website bulders like Go Daddy are mobile-friendly. Mobile analytics can be obtained from within Google Analytics. And social advertising provide unique options for mobile users. 

Mobile is only going to continue to grow and in order to compete with larger retailer outlets, small businesses will need to ramp up their mobile presence. The mobile experience is the customer experience.  A new eMarketer report estimates that 102 million consumers will use their smartphones to shop this year while 94 million consumers will use tablets to shop. It's clear that companies that create engaging experiences for mobile users will be poised to take advantage of shoppers who use tablets and smartphones.

For small businesses in particular, the time is now. A small investment in mobile whether it's in mobile marketing, mobile site optimization or mobile eCommerce can have a big impact. 

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