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Survey Finds Small Business Slow to Join Mobile App Revolution

June 02, 2015

Globally around 4.5 billion people use mobile phones, and of those, 2 billion have smartphones. With $30 smartphones now available in the marketplace, it won’t be long before all mobile phones are replaced. More smart mobile devices means increased opportunities for organizations to engage with their customers using a wide range of applications. Enterprises saw the opportunity early, and they have been creating apps geared towards specific products and services, with proven success rates of adoption. However, small businesses have been slow to join the mobile app revolution, a fact the new Clutch survey revealed.

One of the glaring statistics of the survey was 40 percent of the respondents stated they are unlikely to have an app in the future, and another 27 percent are uncertain. Only 15 percent of small businesses currently have a mobile app, with one-third of them just launching their apps in 2014.

Those are low numbers by any standard, and the perception small businesses have about mobile apps might be the reason for the low adoption numbers. Jason Jaynes of Apptive gave one of the reason for this saying, “The broad industry still has the perspective in their mind that having a native mobile app is an extremely costly endeavor.” That is no longer the case, but until businesses believe otherwise, the numbers will continue to remain low.

via Shutterstock

The Clutch 2015 Small Business Digital Marketing Survey asked 354 small businesses if they were investing in apps in order to explore what was the motivating factor for creating the apps.

Another take away from the survey is the conflicting information small businesses may have acquired regarding mobile apps and mobile websites. Even though they appreciate the value of a website, with 74 percent responding they have a site, only 56 percent of small businesses said their website is responsive, meaning it was not optimized for mobile devices.

However, 76 percent of the respondents said their number one reason for building an app was to improve customer service. So of those that are building apps, their awareness of the benefit it provides to engage customers is very high. That is because mobile apps offer one of the best ways to deliver personalized services.

While on the subject of apps, the survey also went into wearables, and whether small businesses are/or will be interested in apps for these devices. The overwhelming majority or 76 percent said they are unlikely to have a wearable app to market their business in the future, while another 16 percent said they were uncertain if they will have one.

Unlike large enterprises, small businesses don’t take risks that could potentially result in shutting their doors permanently. The decisions they make have to be thought out, and any technology they deploy has to be proven with ROI that justifies the investment. But mobile apps are proving to be a reliable investment, and small businesses that have apps are seeing tangible results that is improving better customer engagement and increased loyalty. 

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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