6 ways SMB’s can harness the power of mobile

I spend a lot of time working with the business community on integrating mobile into their operations – mostly focused on how these companies can use mobile to increase their bottom line.

Here are six ways you can begin to use mobile in your business to either save money or make money right away.

1. Use SKYPE
This might seem simple but I’m floored by the number of companies that don’t use this tool. Maybe it’s because of its previous limitations around connecting from a mobile device but that is not an issue any more. If you aren’t using SKYPE or a similar service, you are spending too much money on long distance or video conferencing.

2. Give everyone a smartphone
Start with customer support and sales but quickly get one of these cheap machines into everyone’s hands. The shift is on in business from one based solely on product availability to how (and how quickly) you service your customers.

3. Ubiquitous WiFi
Bring WiFi to your business – not because you want your customers to connect and loiter (which is not a bad idea) but because you can now use that internet connection to power the mobile phones you just bought your team. This allows staff to service customers where they stand – show them product videos, customer testimonials even accept payments – without concern about wracking up their cell phone bills.

4. Accept payments where your customer stands
Bring the cash register to where the decisions are being made. It is often a long walk of contemplation from the time a customer decides to buy something and pays for it at the back of the store. Strike when the decision is made by pulling out a connected device and a dongle from Square and get payments flowing before buyers remorse sets in. Use this type of system for distributed workers who are on-site – think plumbers, electricians or contractors for example.

5. Connect to inventory in real-time
How many times have you been in a restaurant or retail business and wanted to order or buy something only to find it is sold out or on back order? This happens regularly but it is the time between asking for the product and realizing it isn’t available that mobile helps avoid. Know if you are out of the product with real-time inventory on device and have a plan to get them the product from another one of your physical stores, from the internet or even from a competitors store nearby that carries it.

6. Use tablets as mobile kiosks
Let’s face it, the breadth of product you can carry in a single location if you are a small retailer is nothing compared to what is available on the internet so USE the internet. Become an affiliate of products that you don’t carry but fit your store’s niche and offer to help your customers purchase it via a mobile device or kiosk. You satisfy the customer by finding the product and get affiliate commission for a product that you don’t even carry.

Whatever business you are in, start looking for ways to bring mobile in to help make an impact on your bottom line – it doesn’t need to be complicated but should always focus on giving your customers a better, more seamless experience.

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I’m Rob, the founder of UNTETHER.tv and I’ve spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I’ve helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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