New Shopping Habits: When Your Clients Go Mobile

How do you know that you’re making the right move?  As a small business owner you’re always evaluating and deciding, watching and then doing, discovering and then digging in.  You’re a shopper.

mobile device shopping

Every piece of software, office equipment and service that you purchase for your business is a shopping experience:

  1. How did you find the item or the service?
  2. What did you compare it to?

You have a certain type of shopper’s behavior — the same is true for your potential clients.

The question is: What are their shopping habits and how can you become a more integral part of it? When making the most of your clients shopping experience here are two new behaviors to consider.

#1: Quick Mobile Searches 

As long as the mobile internet connection is strong, then it’s nothing to whip out that smart phone and run a quick online search for the item you’re interested in. I do it often, especially when I’m out with family, clients, or friends (that’s just about everybody). While they talk to the sales associate, I search and discover other locations and prices for the same item. Of course, price isn’t the only factor (and often times its not even the primary one) in a purchase (customer experience goes a long way).

But here’s the deal: as we put our cell phones to greater use, your mobile web presence becomes more important to your business.

Can shoppers discover the right kind of information about you on the spot (i.e. location, reviews, price range, hours of operation)?  Do you have a web presence and is it mobile friendly?

#2: App Savvy Clients

In “5 Internet Marketing Predictions for 2012” Susan Payton laments about our inability (in the U.S.) to use our “phones to pay for things.” Since mobile spending is fun when you can find the right app, I understand her complaint (and I’m excited about her prediction that there will be “more effective apps in 2012”).

One of my favorites, so far, is the Starbucks app (new to me). It tracks your gift card money, so no matter how many cards you receive for your birthday they’re all logged into the same place (once you set it up).

It also tracks your purchases (as long as you use the app or the gift card to pay). It gives you points and rewards (like free soy milk, free refills on certain drinks) that’ll keep you coming back for more. It’s a smart and fun little app.  I like it so much that I found myself at the grocery story trying to pay with my cell phone (didn’t work).

The Exceptions May Be Your Clients

It’s true that everybody doesn’t have or even like Androids, iPhones and Blackberries — I know some people who still prefer a simple flip phone. So before you go out and spend money on designing an app for your company, check your market.

  1. Who do you serve?
  2. How do they usually find you?
  3. And how do they find other businesses and services similar to you?

If they are heavy smartphone users, then it’s time to set up that mobile friendly website and start brainstorming about that app; of course, it has to smart, easy to use and fun or it’ll just get lost somewhere on your phone (you know that place where glitchy apps go to die).

The Point

Internet connections for cell phones are stronger.  Shoppers are mobile and more tech savvy.  Is your web presence in front of this trend? Behind it? Or Missing in action?

Mobile Device shopping Photo via Shutterstock


Jamillah Warner Jamillah Warner (Ms.J), a poet with a passion for business, is a Georgia-based writer and speaker and the Marketing Coordinator at Nobuko Solutions. She also provides marketing and communication quick tips in her getCLEAR! MicroNewsletter.

5 Reactions
  1. To find out how mobile-savvy your customers are, take 10 minutes and watch customers at your business. Count how many phones you spot and note what type of phone. Current US stats show that smartphones just passed feature phones in acceptance, so if you just have average customers, half have internet access at their fingertips.

  2. I would also add the importance of geo-location apps. Even if a business doesn’t have their own branded mobile app, check-in style apps (FourSquare or SCVNGR) can provide some added value. It can help a business understand whether their customers are connected via geosocial marketing. Ultimately you have to find where your customers are and connect with them that way.

  3. Jamillah–
    Thanks for mentioning my post! I hope I’m right about this year having better apps for shopping. I haven’t seen any groundbreaking innovations thus far…have you?