When we think of online shopping, companies like Amazon come to mind, or possibly large brick-and-mortar stores that also have a major internet presence. Local retailers and mom-and-pop shops don't seem to fit in with the concept of e-commerce, but a new study strongly urges owners of these businesses to enter the digital marketing age. In BIA/Kelsey's "Mobile Local Shopping and Payments: A Virtuous Cycle," the financial services firm suggests that there are plenty of opportunities for small business owners to integrate mobile into their overall marketing strategy.
"Contrary to what some may believe – mobile's largest opportunity is in helping, rather than hindering bricks and mortar businesses through mobile assisted offline shopping," said Michael Boland, senior analyst at BIA/Kelsey, in the report. "E-commerce and m-commerce only comprise 7 percent of U.S. retail spending. The rest is offline. The growth of smartphones – now at 63 percent penetration in the U.S. – is turning mobile into a critical utility for local shoppers."
So how can mobile influence the 93 percent of purchases that take place in-person? According to the report, local merchants can utilize geo-targeted alerts, loyalty programs and mobile payment options to drive purchases. BIA/Kelsey's analysis also offered four case studies that highlighted how integrating mobile into a small business can increase sales. One of the vendors, an Arlington, Virginia-based food truck, engages in local internet marketing to notify customer's of the truck's location and uses a mobile card reader to accept credit card payments.
Local merchants that want to effectively reach their client base should consider partnering with an internet marketing firm such as Key Media Solutions.