Mobile // Mobile Applications
Commentary
1/13/2011
10:50 AM
Michele Warren
Michele Warren
Commentary
50%
50%

SMBs Look Ahead To Mobile Commerce

Pop Quiz: Which is the most popular wireless device among SMBs: a) Apple iPad b) Android c) good ol' cellphone (voice and text only)? Did you pick a), feeling confident that forward-looking entrepreneurs can't resist Apple's latest power gadget? How about the Google-based Android? No doubt, the TV ads promise a sort of futuristic high for those who harness its power.

Pop Quiz: Which is the most popular wireless device among SMBs: a) Apple iPad b) Android c) good ol' cellphone (voice and text only)? Did you pick a), feeling confident that forward-looking entrepreneurs can't resist Apple's latest power gadget? How about the Google-based Android? No doubt, the TV ads promise a sort of futuristic high for those who harness its power.But the correct answer is actually c). Yes, that's right. Believe it or not, employees of small and midsize businesses are sticking with their ordinary cellphones--at least for now. The main reason for the reluctance to upgrade is cost, as I discussed in last week's blog, where I shared results from the SMB Group's latest Mobile Solutions Study [PDF].

To recap: 43% of small businesses said they haven't yet upgraded to smartphones because of the high cost of data service plans. But change is afoot, as usual. As prices come down and companies grow, they'll start using smartphones for sure. Most popular among those that have already made the switch is the BlackBerry, cited by 31% of very small businesses (1-19 employees), 37% of small businesses (20-99 employees), and 69% of midsize businesses (100-499 employees) in the analyst firm's report. The second-most-popular device is the Apple iPhone. As for the Apple iPad, that seems to be gaining more traction in bigger companies.

Meanwhile, the top 3 reasons for going mobile cited by study respondents were attracting new customers, growing revenue, and maintaining profitability. With that said, SMBs will invest in customer-facing solutions such as mobile commerce and websites before they spend money on mobile solutions for the sake of enhancing employee productivity.

Currently, most mobile applications and/or websites are being used, or will be used, for making payments, tracking products and services, document sharing, and customer service and support. Very small businesses, for example, plan to increase their use of mobile payments to 25% from 11% and their mobile product and service tracking to 26% from 9%.

Also, the key drivers for mobile commerce appear to vary by industry, say analysts at the SMB Group. Among very small businesses, for instance, more and better customer contact is key in the not-for-profit, education, and professional services sectors. In healthcare, financial services, and real estate, customer convenience reigns supreme.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Building A Mobile Business Mindset
Among 688 respondents, 46% have deployed mobile apps, with an additional 24% planning to in the next year. Soon all apps will look like mobile apps and it's past time for those with no plans to get cracking.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014
Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on InformationWeek.com for the week of November 16, 2014.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.