Friday, October 12, 2018

The Obsession, The Smartphone - How Businesses Can Take Advantage of Them

As I was driving into downtown Boston getting through yet another epic traffic jam, I couldn't help but look around at my fellow drivers and why periodically some end up drifting into another lane.  My betting money was they were not looking for their blinker, but instead they were heads down looking at their phone, checking out what is going on in their Instagram feed or responding to some worthless email.  I actually believe it is because of the smartphone obsession while driving and Uber, that traffic is worst than ever in Boston.



After an hour long commute to go 20 miles, I finally got to my office and decide to take a quick walk to Starbucks to get some caffeine.  On my way, it was like playing Frogger trying to walk around all the people not paying attention to where they were going, but instead  were looking down to their smartphone, hoping to get that last Facebook post in before they get to their destination.   Ugh!!


And it doesn't stop there.   On my way back to the office, I went by a bus stop and no word of a lie, every single person was looking down on their phone and there was no offline conversations going on.  Gee, have we forgot to smile and say hi to the person next to you?

I can go on on here including the time a young girl walked right into a bus, phone goes flying and her nose goes right into the side of the bus.    But heck, let's be realistic and positive here, we are in an online world.  The concept of conversation is Whats Up App, Facebook Messenger or tweeting more than the local bird sanctuary.   I actually saw someone freak out when they saw that rare pay phone at the train station. 

The old saying when something bothers you is if you can beat it, join it.  Yes, smartphones are a pain in the you know what, but there is a lot of ways for small businesses to take advantage of everyone's obsession.  Let's touch on a few quick concepts to turn the smartphone obsession to transactions for your business.

First, of course, is your website responsive?  Responsive websites are built to adjust to any device, whether is a computer, tablet or smartphone.   Since roughly 60% of all websites are accessed through a smartphone now and it is only going to get bigger, the time is now to make sure your website is built for the smartphone.

Do you use texting to communicate with your customers?  For example, can a customer have the capability to text an order to your company, for example a restaurant?  This is another fast growing concept, since the days of dialing toll free numbers and going through an endless menu of options is not the most convenient way to connect to customers.  They will likely hang up and pick up their smartphone and connect to your competitor.


Does your company have a mobile application to make it easy for your customers to collaborate with your company and conduct all business with you?  Think about a company like CVS or Open Table where via their application, you can do everything from ordering your prescriptions to reserving a table of 4 for dinner at your favorite restaurant.   If you have an application for your business, you are taking advantage of the smartphone obsession.

How prevalent are you on the social media channels?  How often does your company tweet or post on LinkedIn or Facebook?  Considering just about everyone has a smartphone and has all of the social applications on their phone, the sky is the limit in terms of who you can reach via the social channels.   If your company's post goes viral, it can reach millions of smartphone users!


So there you have it... does your business have a responsive website, or a texting capability to reach customers, are you active on social media or do you have your own mobile application.  If you are doing all this, chances are the obsessed smartphone user will be fully engaged and maybe become obsessed with your business.   That is powerful since they may refer business to you to their connections, via a text or a tweet.

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