IBM Coremetric’s Annual Benchmark Report was recently issued about the results of last year’s Black Friday sales, and the results were stunning. Mobile advertising and buying are on a steep upward trend that shows no signs of stalling. In fact, the chief strategy officer for IBM Coremetrics recently said “…we’re watching online retail, and increasingly social media and mobile, become the growth engines for retailers everywhere as consumers embrace online shopping not only for its ease and convenience, but as a primary means of researching goods and services.” In fact, during this past weekend 5.6 percent of people using a mobile device logged into a retailer’s site—almost a 28 percent increase over the prior weekend. What’s more, most experts agree that mobile marketing could reach a substantial 5 billion dollars by 2012. That’s up from about 200 million in 2008.
And if you think this trend is only for big business, think again. More and more consumers are demanding mobile sites, communications, and apps from retailers, and small businesses will either have to opt in or suffer drastically in a loss of sales. The good news is that hooking your business into the mobile trend isn’t really all that complicated. This is evident at Freelancer.com.au where we have seen an amazing spike in mobile phone app developments and marketing from last quarter. The number of mobile phone projects being outsourced has jumped 145% on last quarter and we expect the number of projects to continually increase. The reason for this is because for the first time using mobiles as a marketing channel has become extremely cost-effective with freelancers all over the world able to build apps and solutions for as low as $250.
The development of apps for smartphones and tablets has been limited by cost to large businesses until the advent of outsourcing. Comscore conducted a study that shows that Smartphones are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. mobile device industry. But before you put all of your marketing dollars into this platform, know that as of the 2nd quarter of 2010, Smartphones only amounted to about 20 percent of the total mobile device shipments for the U.S. But it’s obviously a growing trend, and you’d be wise to begin building your marketing platform for it. Again, providers have realized that small businesses have a need for their own Smartphone apps, so many have created template designs at affordable rates. If you’re not tech-savvy enough to do it yourself, or if you want a custom designed app, you can always use a site like freelancer.com.au to hire an expert who won’t necessarily charge you an expert fee.
Finally, if you’re going to reach out to your customers via their mobile device, you should have a mobile platform as well as your regular retail web site. Because the screens on mobile devices are smaller, you truly need a site designed to fit that screen. After all, if you’re going to go to all the trouble to get consumers to interact with you as they’re on the go, shouldn’t you create a viable space for them to do so?
Is mobile a part of your strategy yet? Did you develop it in-house or outsource the work? If not, what is holding you back?
Matt Barrie is CEO of Freelancer.com, the world's largest outsourcing marketplace.