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7 ways small businesses can benefit from mobile apps

Jennifer Lonoff Schiff | May 3, 2016
Small business, mobile marketing and customer experience experts share their tips and advice regarding how mobile applications can help businesses to better engage with customers, keep employees connected and boost the bottom line.

“Our customers make a qualifying purchase in our store [and] gain a punch through the mobile app that counts toward a larger reward after 10 punches, [when] they receive pre-programmed coupons,” she continues. “For example, if they check in on social media they can receive a coupon on their store purchase that day through a push notification.” Through the app, customers also receive a birthday coupon and “we’ve missed you” coupons if they haven’t shopped at Carolina Clover in a while. “It is all automated with options we can turn on and off, which we love and is definitely a smarter solution to the old paper punch card.”

3. Mobile scheduling and reminders. If you are a service business, such as a salon or an exercise studio, use a mobile app to allow customers to make appointments or sign up for classes via their smart phone or tablet. Then use text or SMS messaging to confirm appointments or classes and to send reminders.

4. Mobile payments. “You may have noticed [Square,] the little white [cube used for mobile payments], migrating from farmer’s markets to businesses of all kinds,” says Craig Bloem, founder,  FreeLogoServices.com. Square, and similar mobile payment solutions, “allows small businesses to swipe credit cards and handle other business transactions via phone, tablet or even a sleek point-of-sale stand. It is a big timesaver – no need for a bulky register or customized payment system. [And] it allows businesses to take payments on the go in seconds.”

Another advantage of using a mobile payment system for business owners is that “mobile data can be integrated with other apps (via the cloud) far easier than traditional methods,” says David Mercer, founder, SME Pals. “Transactions records are fed straight into other parts of the business, run by different technologies, like accounting, tax and marketing apps, making the entire business more automated, efficient and streamlined.”

5. Mobile communication and collaboration. “Communication and connectivity is key for small businesses,” says Dan Ward, cofounder of mobile app development firm Detroit Labs. “Slack is a great example of a communications platform that can help to minimize email and enhance collaboration. Slack’s mobile app allows you to stay connected wherever you are. It’s incredibly cost effective for small businesses, too.” 

“Apps like Slack are great to use on your mobile phone, and [they] enable team collaboration and prioritization of projects for companies of any size,” says Bloem. “They allow you to interact with each other, collaborate and share documents and information all in one place when everyone is on the go.” 

Similarly, “Dropbox is essential for small businesses for document sharing,” says Ward. “It offers private folders, shared folders, team folders and the ability to access everything on the go with a great mobile app. Gone are the days of dedicated shared drives and a VPN connection just to access a simple document.”

 

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