How the world communicates is changing (Cornelisse et al. 2011). Currently, 94 percent of smartphone users conduct business on their phones, and 87 percent use a search engine at least once a day (Jarski 2015). Most Americans are now spending three hours more on their devices compared to watching television. (Blumenthal 2015). Emerging trends in social, mobile and location-based marketing present unique opportunities and risks for farmers and other food businesses.
What Consumers Look For
Because consumers are constantly connected, new methods are being used to find local businesses. According to Jason Walker in “What Do Customers Want From a Mobile Website?” mobile consumers want to access:
- location details and operating hours
- contact information (click-to-call)
- email links
- links to social networking pages
To gain a degree of control over owned, earned and paid online presence, comScore (2012) encourages business owners to assess how consumers:
- find their business online
- view their business on mobile devices
- use social media to access their content and special offers, as well as post comments, photos, videos, reviews and location-based check-ins
- utilize apps and GPS devices to find and navigate to their business
- access the latest apps and gadgets
How Consumers Find Businesses
Businesses are listed on various sites (such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Bing and Mapquest) and in various directories, sometimes without the business owner’s knowledge. Consumers find businesses by searching for business names, business keywords and business locations. To make sure his or her business is represented accurately, the business owner is encouraged to:
- search sites to find the status of current listings
- add or correct listings by contacting websites through the “contact us” feature to provide verifiable contact information and create consistent “citations” of the business’ name, address, phone number and hours of operation
- enhance current listings by including keywords, photos, videos, customer coupons and information about the business’ products, services, real-time updates and weekly specials
- view comments posted by customers and engage in conversation as opportunities arise
- realize consumers are increasingly using voice search to find local businesses
How Businesses Look on Mobile Devices
Websites are viewed with a variety of devices. For example, consumers may use a portable computer at work, a smartphone when doing errands, and a tablet at home. Businesses are challenged to offer similar, yet context-specific experiences on these devices. However, 45 percent of small businesses do not have a website, and 94 percent of those with a website are not mobile-friendly (Jarski 2015). Business owners need to:
- test their website’s mobile versions at a site such as mobiletest.me.
- develop a device-responsive website that is easy to use with small touchscreens with tiny keyboards
- include “calls-to-action” that work well on mobile (click-to-call, links to purchase items, etc.)
How Consumers Use Social Media on Mobile Devices
Smartphone and tablet owners use a variety of social media apps to access business information and special offers, as well as post comments, photos, videos, reviews and location-based check-ins. Business owners can benefit from existing apps by:
- identifying which currently available apps (Facebook, Google+, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc.) are most appropriate for interaction between their customers and their business
- enhancing their business profile with enticing content and interactive features
- integrating apps into marketing communications, campaigns and customer service
- developing their own app to interact with their customers
GPS Points of Interest
Consumers use Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to find Points of Interest (POI) and navigate to specific locations. GPS programs can be delivered through handheld units, built into automobiles, or integrated into mobile apps. Familiar brand names include Garmin, TomTom, Magellan, NavMan, Microsoft Streets & Trips and a growing list of navigation apps such as Google Maps and Scout. Business owners can:
- add or correct business listings
- designate POI categories
- integrate maps and GPS coordinates into customer communications
Apple Pay, MST, EMV Cards and Square
These methods utilize new technology for payment while preventing information from being stolen.
Contactless Card Reading
These are cards or gadgets equipped with near-field communication that allows transaction by tapping on the reader (and a fingerprint scan for Apple pay) to complete the transaction rather than swiping a card.
These devices are used by businesses to detect and read payment information.
Magnetic Secure Transmission (MST)
This technology allows a card to simply hover over the card terminal rather than being swiped.
EMVs (Europay, MasterCard and Visa)
Most credit cards have computer chips that generate unique codes for each transaction, in order to prevent card theft (Kossman 2016).
- Instead of swiping, these cards use a method called “dipping,” where the card is inserted into a slot, or contactless payment can be used.
- EMVs will continue to have a magnetic strip in this first round of transition, until all merchants are able to update their card readers.
This is a mobile card reader that is inserted into phones and tablets to read credit cards. Square:
- requires users to upgrade their equipment
- offers a chip and a magnetic strip reader to facilitate the change
- offers a near-field communicator for contactless reading for supporting devices and cards
Other Mobile Media Marketing Apps and Gadgets
Here are some additional mobile media tactics that businesses use to interact with their customers:
- mobile couponing and/or special offers
- texting, 160 characters (simple/SMS and multimedia/MMS)
- Quick Response (QR) codes
- geofencing (opt-in offers based on location)
- mobile advertising, customer service and commerce
- indoor Location-Based Services (LBS)
- wearables such as Apple Watch and fitness bands
Trends evolve quickly as emerging technologies reveal opportunities based on new apps and gadgets. With wearable devices such as the Samsung smartwatch and Google Glass entering the market, consumers will continue to use mobile devices. Privacy and security policies will continue to be updated regularly, and researchers will provide data to help businesses better understand the mobile media landscape.
Businesses can benefit by staying close to customers and technology trends in order to do what they have always done with marketing: create awareness; offer trial experiences to demonstrate value; create remarkable experiences; build customer relationships based on trust; and deliver service focused on customer convenience.
Resources related to this topic can be found at go.osu.edu/MapsAndApps.
- Blumenthal, Liza. “Three Mobile Consumer Trends for 2015.” March 11, 2015. millennialmedia.com/mobile-insights/blog/three-mobile-consumer-trends-for-2015.
- comScore. “Local Search Usage Study.” 2012. localsearchstudy.com.
- Cornelisse, Sarah, Jeffrey Hyde, Christopher Raines, Kathleen Kelley, Dana Ollendyke, and James Remcheck. “Entrepreneurial Extension Conducted via Social Media.” Journal of Extension 49, no. 6 (December 2011): 6TOT1. joe.org/joe/2011december/tt1.php.
- Gartner, Inc. “Gartner Says Worldwide PC, Tablet and Mobile Phone Shipments to Grow 5.9 Percent in 2013 as Anytime-Anywhere-Computing Drives Buyer Behavior.” June 24, 2013. gartner.com/newsroom/id/2525515.
- Jarski, Veronica. “Three Places to Connect With Consumers on Mobile.” May 9, 2015. marketingprofs.com/chirp/2015/27641/three-places-to-connect-with-consumers-on-mobile-infographic.
- Kossman, Sienna. “8 FAQs About EMV Credit Cards.” December 20, 2016. creditcards.com/credit-card-news/emv-faq-chip-cards-answers-1264.php.
- Walker, Jason. “What Do Customers Want From a Mobile Website?” April 14, 2014. searchandmore.co.uk/internet-marketing/customers-want-mobile-website.
This fact sheet was developed as part of a North Central Extension Risk Management Education Center grant. For additional fact sheets and other marketing resources, visit directmarketing.osu.edu.