By Daniel Hunter
Small businesses in Great Britain are ramping up use of mobile devices, but the majority are not leveraging mobile solutions for business, according to a new survey from Constant Contact, Inc.
Of those surveyed in May 2013, 66 per cent are currently using a mobile device in their business operations. And while the majority are using smartphones and tablets, only 20 per cent report using mobile solutions, like QR codes, mobile-optimised websites, dedicated apps, and text message marketing, for their businesses, with most reporting no plans to start using mobile solutions in the future.
These findings echo those of a recent Email Marketing Census from eConsultancy that revealed 39 per cent of businesses have no strategy in place for mobile optimisation.
Despite the ongoing surge in mobile usage, of the respondents not using mobile devices or solutions, 59 per cent report that this is because they believe mobile is not relevant to their industry or business. Other popular roadblocks included not having a work or business-related smartphone (43 per cent), a lack of customer demand for mobile payment solutions (31 per cent), and lack of customer demand for mobile communications (27 per cent).
When asked which mobile solutions would be considered in the future, the most popular responses were “none of these” at 55 per cent, followed in a distant second by social media marketing (18 per cent), mobile-optimised business website (10 per cent), along with creating a dedicated mobile app for customers (10 per cent).
“There seems to be a big disconnect with small businesses’ perceived value of using mobile for business and the growing consumer usage of smartphones,” said Annette Iafrate, UK managing director at Constant Contact.
“A recent survey from Nielsen found that 68 per cent of UK smartphone owners used their device to check email in the previous 30 days, and frequently use their smartphones for text messaging, social networking and perusing the mobile web. There will increasingly be missed opportunities for businesses not taking advantage of this growing trend.”
When businesses who use mobile devices or solutions were asked about specific ways it is being used, 17 per cent of small businesses report using mobile for social media marketing and 15 per cent for email marketing. Still, most mobile marketing methods are largely being left untapped, with 69 per cent of businesses saying “none of these” methods are being used. Text message marketing, mobile couponing, mobile-based loyalty programmes and mobile deals all received single digit responses.
Here are other ways these early adopters are embracing mobile:
Advertising through mobile devices:
- Only 7 per cent of small businesses report that they are currently advertising through mobile.
- The overwhelming majority of small businesses, 80 per cent, are not utilising mobile/social advertising and have no plans to do so.
- Six per cent have never utilised mobile advertising but have plans to do so in the next six months.
Advertising through social platforms:
- 19 per cent of small businesses are currently advertising through social platforms, and an additional 9 per cent plan to start in the next six months.
- 60 per cent have never advertised through social media platforms and don’t plan to start in the next six months.
- 17 per cent of small businesses report having a mobile-optimised website.
- Of those, the majority (51 per cent) have social-media-enabled features, while others are leveraging individual product listings (37 per cent), menus (34 per cent), payment processing (27 per cent) and customer reviews (22 per cent) on their mobile sites.
- Another 12 per cent of small businesses plan to create a mobile-optimised website in the next six months.
- The majority of respondents, 62 per cent, have never had a mobile-optimised website, and do not plan to create one in the next six months.
Mobile-/tablet-based payment point of sale:
- Only 6 per cent of small businesses are currently using a mobile- or tablet-based payment point of sale system, with another 6 per cent planning to start in the next six months.
- Most respondents, 80 per cent, have never used a mobile- or tablet-based payment point of sale system, and do not plan to start in the next six months.
Mobile apps for business and operations:
- The majority of small businesses have never used mobile apps to manage operations (74 per cent) or general business activities (73 per cent), and do not plan to start in the next six months
- Only 10 per cent of small businesses are currently using dedicated mobile business apps or mobile apps to manage operations (accounting, inventory management, CRM, employee management).
- Further, only 7 per cent of small businesses plan to start using mobile apps for operations, and another 7 per cent plan to start using other mobile business apps in the next six months.
“Whilst most small businesses have yet to leverage mobile solutions in their businesses operations, those that do embrace mobile will have a distinct competitive advantage,” said Iafrate.
“Understanding how to market with a mobile mindset will be essential to small business success moving forward. The good news is that is does not have to be difficult, and there are many resources available to small businesses looking to learn more.”
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