There’s been plenty written on why having a front-of-house mobile site is customer friendly, how it increases sales, and what features are needed to convert shoppers to buyers.
Less has been said about the advantages to the business owner in terms of being able to manage a business on the fly.
Life on the Clock
In the 2010s starting a new business from scratch seldom follows the narrative that ends with “and then I quit my job and opened my own business.” More often, starting a business is something done while still working a full-time job, or sometimes two of them. From a desire for financial independence and security, to a desire to spend more time with family, or even to tug one end further toward meeting the other, business ideas often start out small. Very few can afford to undertake the financial crap-shoot that results from leaving a paycheck to set sail for entrepreneurship.
It’s intimidating, and while many gaze longingly at that horizon, the bills still need to be paid, a roof is needed overhead, and with a family relying on that paycheck, many simply give up their dreams because they believe that they need a huge startup budget, an angel investor, or a business loan to get anything going in eCommerce.
However, noted research group Pew has studied the self-employed, who report higher satisfaction with their work than those who are not self-employed. Pew’s study reported that a staggering 71 percent of those who are not self-employed report varying levels of satisfaction with their work, with ten percent reporting that they are mostly to completely dissatisfied with the way they are earning a living. In contrast, only 28 percent of those not self-employed reported being completely satisfied with their working situation. Among the self-employed, complete satisfaction with their work was reported at 39 percent, with another 56 percent being mostly satisfied, and a tiny 5 percent being mostly or completely dissatisfied at their work. Further, the Small Business Administration reports that as big business downsizes, small business booms, and the failure rate for those new small businesses declines.
Even with the financial stresses of being the boss factored in, that’s a very high satisfaction index with a highly favorable small business climate, and there are ways to lessen the financial stresses of opening your own business.
The truth is that you can get by with a modest start, still work your regular job, and get your business up and running. Keeping your expectations realistic is key, because you’re still taking on more work by starting your own business, and there is no such thing as overnight success. However, with a smartphone or a tablet, it is possible to bring your eCommerce office with you as easily as your eCommerce clients bring your store with them. As small businesses diversify and multiply on the web, back-office functions have gone mobile, making it possible to check pageviews, see how many visitors you’ve had, view your shopping cart back office, and manage your inventory. Just like doing your banking from your mobile device, managing your eCommerce store is efficient because you can work within your schedule, freeing up your time for something else. You can use the mobile shopping cart application from Shopify and increase the number of potential clients for your online store.
Doing your research about mobile shopping carts before you cement your business is sensible. Your customers’ sense of security depends on it, and your economic future will, too. In fact, the more secure your customers feel, the more likely they are to buy on the spot, especially if you’ve installed a cart with as few steps between the customer and the receipt as possible.
An astounding ten percent of mobile device owners access the Internet exclusively via their smartphone or tablet, according to the most recent statistics from Internet Retailer. This much younger 18 to 29 demographic market tends to have a “mobile lifestyle” that, while in a significant minority now, is nonetheless a growing trend as the Internet becomes less a place that is accessed under given circumstances, and more an extension of the person using it. Some percentage figures for purchases originating from mobile devices reported by digital business analytics company Comscore from the first half of 2013 include:
– Event tickets: 15.4 percent of total sales
– Apparel and accessories: 8.8 percent of total sales
– Consumer electronics: 5.1 percent of total sales
– Computer hardware: 5.4 percent of total sales
– Consumer packaged goods: 4.3 percent of total sales
Putting effort into meeting this demand makes economic sense for growing your small business. Becoming an early adapter is not as costly as it once was, with a variety of sensibly priced and deployable solutions that won’t require that you hire five people when the only person working for you, at least for now, is you.
By having your office wherever you are — at the day job, at Jenny’s soccer game, or even striking out on your own — mobile access works in the small business owner’s favor. The ability to manage your shopping cart functions from the stoplight at Main and third is a tremendous advantage over Joe at Joe’s Widgets. He has to wait until he’s at the office or at home to manage his back office, or at the warehouse to check his inventory, or he has to rely on another set of employees to manage his payment gateway. With the correct mobile shopping cart, the management is as smooth for the business owner as checking out is for the customer.
Very often, a mobile website and shopping cart can be part of a package offered by a variety of full-service eCommerce firms, replacing the once-esoteric task of constructing a website, building a shopping cart from scratch, and setting up the payment gateway with a point-click business setup. Small business confidence edged up slightly at the end of 2013, reports the National Federation of Independent Businesses, so now could be the right time to take the first step, even if you are starting your eCommerce store on your lunch break with a swipe and tap.