Think mobile doesn’t matter for your local business? Your customers already know who you are, your hours of operation, and the products you carry?

That may be well and true. Or it may only be part of your mobile marketing reality. Do you truly know what you’re risking by not having a mobile strategy?   Data suggests local consumers still have questions, and unlike a scant five years before, now expect to find answers to their shopping questions – and engage their friends – through mobile devices.

A couple of months ago, Google released a study about mobile search. Results indicate the following:

  • 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information
  • 88% of those users take action within one day
  • 77% have contacted a business either by calling (61%) or visiting (59%)

To add more context, consider that approximately 100.9 million smartphones shipped during Q4 2010, outpacing PC sales for the first time and doing so by about 8 million units. Even older demographics are steadily adopting mobile devices.

What are the implications for small business owners in local markets?

  1. Your customers are primarily smartphone users.
  2. They use their phone to search online when they’re in an advanced stages of purchase consideration.
  3. Most are looking for something specific, so they’ll call to ask their question or visit the store directly to resolve their need.

Nielsen smartphone statistics by age

The number of consumers accessing content from retailers websites via their smartphones increased 74% in the past year for a total of 13 million, according to this study. And while there were approximately 8.6 million mobile social network users in 2008, that number increased 5 times (to a whopping 43 million) during 2010.

So we then add bullet four to the list of implications:

4.  They may now use the power of their social media graph to help make on-the-spot purchase decisions.

Does this color look good on me?

Do these shoes go with my pink striped sun dress?

Malibu Surf or Homestyle Vanilla Bean scent?

Has anyone seen this jacket on sale anywhere else?

Mani and pedi, or just mani?

Now’s the time to tune in to your customers’ mobile habits to take advantage of their emerging needs and expectations.