The Rise of The Mobile Wallet Will Change Your Business

Seemingly everyone owns a smartphone these days. This assumption isn’t too far from reality. According to Pew Research Center, almost two-thirds of Americans owned a smartphone by the middle of 2015. With ownership continuing to grow, so too are mobile technology capabilities. One such innovation is the ability to use a mobile phone as a method of payment, essentially a mobile wallet. Through a technology known as NFC, or near-field communication, customers only have to hold their phones in front of a payment terminal in order to complete a transaction. A Juniper Research study cites that at the end of 2014, there were 101 million users of NFC payments, which is expected to grow to over 500 million by 2019. For small businesses, tapping into this technology’s users could mean expanding their customer base, increasing visibility, and driving revenue.

The mobile wallet represents more than a new method of payment. For business owners, it’s also a marketing tool to increase brand visibility and consumer loyalty. Popular mobile wallet apps like ApplePay and Google Wallet allow individual businesses to create company apps, through which marketing campaigns can be launched. From loyalty programs to email subscription signups, the app can help businesses maintain their digital presence while targeting consumers. For example, when a person with the company app is near the business, they can receive a notification for a coupon or other incentive and use it immediately. This ability to target consumers so specifically is one of the most valuable tools of a mobile wallet. Additionally, it is a tool of convenience, making your business more efficient and streamlined.

In order for your business to begin using a mobile wallet service, they have to install an NFC-enabled payment terminal. This is the major cost associated with the technology on the business side, totaling $1,000-$2,000 for the hardware, employee training, and software. After installation, service costs are still cheaper than traditional credit card processing fees. For example, users of Apple Pay typically reduce their credit card fees by 10%. Most of these platforms average a fee under 3% per credit transaction.

The rise of the mobile wallet is a trend your business should consider as popularity rises in the future. The advantages from both a financial and marketing perspective are clear, with the major disadvantage being a high initial installation cost. Transitioning from a manual payment method to a digital one may set your small business apart from your competition.

The New Yelp Google Chrome Extension: Yelpify

We recently covered a new update in how Google displays search results. Now, there is a new Google Chrome extension from Yelp calling for business owners’ attention. Yelp is one of the most influential listing sites out there and with this Google Chrome Extension they may become all that more influential. The extension can cut consumers search times down considerably. Yelpify was created by Raj Nagasubramanian and won first place winner at the Yelp online hackathon.

What Nagasubramanian created was a way for local business’s Yelp ratings to appear on search sites other than Yelp. For example if you search for “Chef’s Club NYC” on Google, I would be able to see their 4.5 star review on Google as well as their 4 star Yelp rating right below the Google rating. This information saves searchers time and enhances the general Google listing. Searchers will also see a link that takes them right to the business’s Yelp page.

In addition to the Yelp ratings appearing on Google, the Yelpify extension can appear on other sites like OpenTable, TripAdvisor and GrubHub. The extension is a way for Chrome users to simplify their searches and find more information in one place.

As many business owners know, yelp and similar review sites have changed the way that consumers search for businesses. Business owners should make sure that they are setting aside time to monitor their Yelp reviews and ratings more since these reviews will be appearing in more places.  If you want more help in getting the most out of your online listings, check out how SinglePlatform can help you local business stand out everywhere that matters online.

New Google Updates: What Small Business Owners Need to Know

It seems like every other week a search site or a mobile app makes a new update. On top of everything else a small business owner has on their plate, it is nearly impossible to keep up with all of the changes. Fear not, we’re here to help you understand the most recent Google and Google Maps listing changes and what it means for your business.

The Changes:

1. Google has shortened the initial search results from multiple listings to three listings (referred to as the “three-pack”).

2. Google ads can now appear within the local three-pack search results and multiple ads can appear in the search results. 

3. Google maps will only feature ads that have map extensions, an addition of a call to action button that helps business owners get more customers in the door. For example adding a “click to call” button onto your Google listing is a map extension.

4. Text ads will no longer be displayed on Google Maps.

The Effects:

According to Link-Assistant, it is still too soon to gage what these changes will mean for small business owners. The good news is that these changes are not as significant as the particular users IP address and what businesses Google thinks is relevant to their search. So as long as searchers are still close by and your online presence is strong, your business should still be easily found.

Be sure to review any Google ads you may be running to make sure you are still seeing a good ROI and accomplishing your intended goals. Check what type of ads you are running as text ads will no longer appear in Google Maps so if that is a concern for you, you may want to choose a different kind of ad. Learn more marketing tips and trends for your small business by following us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Want to learn more about how SinglePlatform can help your business stand out everywhere that matters online, request a demo.

Back-to-school spending: An opportunity to increase sales for computer repair shops and dry cleaners

As the summer comes to a close, pain in the pocketbook typically accompanies the start of a new school year. The back-to-school time period is usually the second busiest shopping event of the year; yet, this year’s statistics reveal a sharp decline in sales.
Analysts predict that parents of students in kindergarten through high school will spend an average of $434 on back-to-school items, a 20% decrease, compared with past years. Two major reasons for the decline in sales are that students are extending the life of their back to school items and changing the way they use technology. While one industry is seeing a decrease in sales, other industries have the opportunity to capitalize on it. Here’s how other industries can take advantage of changing back-to-school spending patterns: 

Computer Repair Shops

According to Alison Paul, Vice Chairman of US retail and distribution, part of the average decrease in back-to-school spending is due to the fact that laptops and tablets are no longer strictly back-to-school items. A study conducted by the Pew Research Center shows 84% of US households, and 73% of household have a computer with broadband access. Our constant reliance on computers for everything from schoolwork to entertainment means the cost is spread out more smoothly throughout the year. Repair shops however, should consider specials offers during this time, to freshen up old laptops or wipe the hard drives of computers slated for teens heading off to college or for laptops being passed down to a younger sibling.

Alterations Shops/Dry Cleaners

39% of the decrease in the back-to-school spends can be attributed to students who plan to reuse last year’s supplies and clothing. While big-box stores may be losing out on back to school purchases, dry cleaners and alteration shops can capitalize on families wanting to extend the life of their wardrobes. As Allison Paul points out, the Internet has made it much easier to make back-to-school purchases during the year. Shoppers are spacing out their purchases until they truly need them, and sometimes this doesn’t fall in the original back-to-school time period. This could be a great opportunity for a fantastic seamstress to capture a new set of clients. They could alter every day clothes or school uniforms for families opting to reuse. Comparatively, a smart dry cleaner can offer specials on sprucing up existing wardrobes. 

Industry shifts caused by change in consumer behavior

As Paul puts it, “I don’t think it [the change] is bad news for the economy. I think it’s more about [consumer] behavior.” Consumer behavior is changing, and this is an opportunity for different businesses in various industries to make the most of the change. However, to take advantage of this opportunity, these business need to have an accurate and up-to-date online presence. Declining spending in one area often means new opportunities for other businesses. By ensuring your potential customers are up to date on your services and specials, you provide them with accurate information about your business online. Additionally, ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Mark Harrington, VP of Marketing at Clutch, emphasizes, “there is no getting around the increasing mobile adoption among consumers, so ensuring your online and ecommerce sites are mobile compatible is critical so consumers can easily navigate and shop your business with their smartphones.” By providing customers with the best information about your business where they’re searching for it, you give your business the best opportunity for success.

To find out how SinglePlatform can help with your business’ online presence, click here.