30% of small businesses fail in their first year. This can be attributed to several reasons such as not offering a unique value proposition, not having a definite revenue model or not having enough capital. But, one of the most overlooked causes is ‘rigidity’. Failure to adapt to new technology and keeping old strategies alive which may not sit well with customers is a primary reason why many small businesses do not flourish.
A mistake that several SMBs make is not taking advantage of the widespread smartphone culture and the ease and popularity of apps. A mobile app may not seem commonplace when we speak of SMBs, but the truth is small businesses have finally realized the importance of having an app. Hint: It has to do with improved customer experience.
Companies that make less than $7 million in sales and have 15-500 employees are considered small businesses. SMBs can be brick and mortar shops or web businesses. This includes salons, spas, restaurants, coffee shops, cafes, pubs, bars as well as professionals such as doctors, dentists or lawyers who operate as small businesses.
According to Oracle, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for better brand experience, but only 1% feel that vendors consistently meet expectations.
This explains why 67% of SMBs have an app as of last year. An app is the best way to connect businesses to their customers and induce loyalty in their customers. Apart from this, there are several other reasons why small and medium businesses are adapting to modern technology.
Here are 5 reasons why SMBs are moving towards a mobile app:
1. Digital interactions drive sales for small businesses
Three-quarters of Americans own a smartphone, and digital interactions directly influence 56 cents of every dollar spent in a brick and mortar store. 58% of customers use their smartphone inside stores to look up product information and 54% compare prices between two similar products. Being able to control what information their consumers see through an app is a significant factor in why SMBs are choosing to go the app route.
Related: How digital signage and beacons allow customers to look up and compare products
2. SMB apps keep consumers engaged and increase customer loyalty
Customers associate SMBs with an app with better in-store experience which explains why 66% of businesses without an app see a decrease in customer loyalty. Mobile apps especially native apps create 2x the new user retention. A user is 2x as likely to return to the store within 30 days. Building a loyalty program is also easier with an app (Source). Customers can check in to see how many points they have accrued and respond well to notifications letting them know what they can redeem their points for. Jaspare’s Pizza, a restaurant app, offers a great loyalty program that allows its customers to unlock a loyalty card after 10 visits.
Related: How can small businesses promote their products without a website
3. Apps help SMBs improve their services
A mobile app is a two-way street. Not only does it allow SMBs to promote their products effectively but it also enables customers to leave their valuable feedback. Zeger Fitness, a health and fitness app, has an e-commerce feature that allows fitness enthusiasts to purchase merchandise from its app and also offers them a chance to get in touch with them.
The average Android user checks their smartphone every 12 minutes. Businesses can capitalize on this by asking for customer feedback at the right time and following it up by a support call if needed. 97% of consumers have reported that they become more loyal to a company that implements their feedback. In fact, customer-driven inventory is also surfacing as a new way to utilize customer feedback as seen in Amazon’s 4-star store.
Related: How SMBs can mimic Amazon 4-star store experience with a beacon powered app
4. Small businesses can analyze and fine-tune campaigns in real-time
Unlike other channels, a mobile app can let small businesses know how their campaigns are performing in real time. They can then fine-tune these campaigns to achieve the ideal customer behavior. Apps also offer powerful analytics that can help businesses develop a customer persona. The analytics can also provide an insight into whether a business’s marketing efforts are in synergy with their sales.
Related: Get the most out of Beaconstac analytics for your small business
Gazdagrét, a local Hungarian app, is used to provide its users with information about a local neighbourhood in Budapest. Users are kept up to date about local events, public transport, and new shops. Consumers are reportedly ecstatic about receiving contextual information which explains why location-based or proximity marketing is a great way to evade spam and provide contextual content to customers.
Spam is one of the reasons why Google is shutting down its Nearby service on Android that let marketers send beacon notifications without an app. An app, on the other hand, can cut through the noise and ensure that customers have a great in-store experience. From the minute they walk into the store, beacon notifications can chime in greeting them and letting them know what’s new at the store. In fact, existing customers are 50% more willing to try new products. Beacon notifications can also be used to send out relevant coupons. More than 80% of consumers perform a mobile search to look up coupons in-store. By integrating it with an app, SMBs can further improve a customer’s in-store experience. A beacon powered app is also capable of personalized recommendations based on purchase history and creating novelty experiences for customers at the store. Think ‘Talking Mannequins’, personalized digital displays, a cashier-less checkout, store pick-up and indoor navigation. Macy’s, Walmart, Target among other retailers have adopted beacons in their store to provide a seamless shopping experience. Small businesses can implement the same given that beacons are a cost-efficient way of running proximity marketing campaigns.
Related: How SMBs can use beacon powered apps to enhance location-based marketing
5 of the best app builders in the market for small businesses
- Zoho Creator
- Good Barber
- Bizness Apps
For small businesses who want to offer their customers an app without investing in one
58% of small businesses do not have an app at the moment. The reason for that is the capital required to invest in app development and maintenance. 46% choose to have their staff build an app and 38% experiment with an app builder software (Source). While that may work for some, a bad app experience can put off customers from returning to the store. Also, enabling location-based marketing without a real developer’s help is difficult. That is why we recommend leveraging NearBee on Android and iOS both.
Related: Best proximity marketing apps of 2019
What is NearBee?
NearBee is an app built both for Android and iOS that scans Physical Web signals and displays them as notifications on smartphones.
Related: What is a beacon and how can it help SMBs?
How can SMBs leverage NearBee?
Small businesses that already have an app
For SMBs that already have an app, the NearBee SDK can be inserted into it transforming it into a beacon powered app.
Related: Why NearBee can increase the ROI for SMBs running proximity marketing campaigns
Small businesses without an app
For small businesses that are still not convinced about the need for a full-fledged app but want to adapt and take advantage of mobile culture, start asking customers to download the NearBee app on their respective App store. All the local businesses in the area who run beacon powered campaigns can benefit from this.
Related: How small businesses can encourage customers to download NearBee
NearBee is a great alternative for businesses that want to provide their customers with relevant and contextual notifications without spending any effort in app development or maintenance. A future update of NearBee will also allow it to morph into the business’s unique branding when a customer enters the store. Not to mention, customers will also be able to follow businesses and receive updates even when they are not in the range of the beacon.
Related: What can NearBee do for your business?
Download NearBee on iOS and Android right now.
If your small business is looking to adopt new technology, let Beaconstac help you go the distance. Talk to an SMB expert today to get started.