Mobile’s Ubiquitous AppealApril 2, 2013 By: Alissa Ponchione
Mobile usage continues to grow exponentially, and understanding how to make the trend work for your business is crucial. Smartphone and tablets are pervasive, and mobile searching is becoming an important element for consumers who are looking for places to eat and drink while on the go.
An astonishing 70% of mobile searches lead to one action within an hour, said Dave Sribnik, director of trends and technology at MarkeTeam, a sales and promotion agency. So, as the mobile platform continues to grow, what’s next?
“It makes sense to make mobile-compatible websites versus an app,” Sribnik says. “To make an app, it has to be so specific and unique.” Once the mobile website is in place, Sribnik says savvy owners will make sure they’re on all the important social networking sites including Yelp, Foursquare, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.
There are also “geo-location based apps … and they’re not going anywhere,” he says. “Every second someone is generating a phone number or directions (on their smartphone), it’s important to be there and spending time there.” The fact of the matter is, as a human race, we’re becoming more and more social, more and more interactive, and technology is propelling it, continues Sribnik.
Trends To Watch
The No. 1 mobile trend that is easy for everyone is mobile photo sharing. “Look at the success of sites like Pinterest and Instagram and even Facebook, it really is the present and the future,” he explains. On Facebook, photos get seven times more likes and 10 times more shares than just posting links, Sribnik says. “The great thing about all of that for nightclubs and bars, is that people take photos (at the venue) and share them. Now, the focus needs to be on when people take photos how does the bar get credit for it?”
Sribnik says quick-response codes are “still growing,” though slightly slower than people anticipated. To make sure QR codes are working at bars and nightclubs, Sribnik explains it should be attached to an interesting promotion. “With a well thought out promotion or marketing plan, it can be extremely valuable,” he says.
New technology that owners should try to optimize is near field communication. Right now, NFC available on all android-operating phones allows the phones to “talk” to each other through a tiny chip. “You can put this NFC chip on a table tent, a sticker on the window, put it on your menu or on a shot girls’ outfit,” and when the phone is placed in front of it, the program can send the patron a drink menu or check them into Facebook. “The possibilities are endless,” Sribnik says.
Additionally, mobile payments will soon dominate how people pay and how servers and bartenders take orders. The Square Register, a payment device connected to smartphones, is projected to do $90 billion in transactions by the end of 2017.
Even as technology becomes more innovative, Sribnik says there are some trends that may not be around for the long haul. Couponing sites such as Groupon and Living Social, though they’re still here and breaking revenue records, their businesses are hemorrhaging money. “No one knows if they’ll still be in business in a year or two. … I would shy away from that,” he says.
Sribnik also warns of the influx of beverage and food-centric apps that came out. “I think that we reached saturation there,” he said. “People downloaded so many apps, now they’re going to fewer apps. That’s good news for people that own bars; they don’t have to focus on so many platforms,” Sribnik notes.
Although technology is ever changing, the future of mobile technology cannot be ignored. “We’re right on the cusp,” he says. “It’s not going to go away.”