Mobile technology and small business

We asked our Zintro experts to comment on how small businesses are using mobile technologies to drive growth and innovation. We also wanted to know about roadblocks. Here is what they had to say.

priyashmita guha, a business consultant, says that mobile technology is one of the cheapest ways to promote a brand, especially in the retail/online space. “It helps companies spread their information to prospects faster and the conversion is higher. Today, start-up e-commerce companies are actively using SMS to drive home traffic and conversion. The cost of acquisition and conversion is one of the lowest in that space,” she says. “Companies like Techgig, and Snapdeal are using it actively in India to reach their customer base and update them on the latest happenings. Creating apps have become a cheap option that helps to drive traffic.”

Patrick walshe, a mobile consultant, says that during the past five years, mobile usage has become an increasingly complicatedecosphere. “However, it is clear that small businesses are experimenting with mobile via daily deal sites; various mobile products offered by tradition newspapers and local directories; and local mobile destinations like Patch and Everyblock,” he says. “But, small businesses do not have the time nor the technology required to optimize mobile spending. And there are other roadblocks, too.”

Walshe thinks that major roadblocks are the buy and sell end of the sales buy. “In other words, they start at the selling end. Most retailers or small-medium businesses are companies with boots on the ground. These organizations haven’t trained or incentivized their sales forces to sell their digital properties,” he says. “In the publishing business, most senior sales managers will tell you that their sales forces are simply not interested in or equipped to sell digital products. And these are industries that have to re-invent themselves.”

Walshe points out that remuneration is also an issue. “Digital retail properties sell for dimes versus traditional media dollars. So at the local retailer sell end, there is not much incentive for traditional sales forces with strong local relationships to include mobile in their offerings,” he says.  “The hyper-local mobile products in the retail market that target SMBs (daily deal sites like Groupon, social media sites like Foursquare, local publications like Patch and Everyblock) have not shown that they can build sustained business advantage, which is a function of their inability to attract and grow ad revenue. This lack of a well trained, well connected local sales force is a significant barrier to growing ad revenue from SMBs.”

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