Move over iPhone - you have competition. This past fall Verizon introduced the Droid which officially began the Smart Phone revolution. It is full featured, super fast, and incredibly useful; performing a multitude of functions that go beyond what a conventional cell-phone can do. But most importantly, it’s just the beginning of a wave of Smart Phones that will sweep the cell phone market in 2010. Everyone; T-mobile, ATT, Sprint, Garmin, Blackberry, Palm, Microsoft and even Google have or will be releasing their own version of Smart Phone. While the iPhone remains a respected player in the upscale phone market, their cool-phone monopoly has ended.
Just what is a Smart phone you ask? Well basically it is a laptop computer rolled up in a small package you can carry in your pocket. But it is so much more. It’s a camera/video camera, a GPS map, a calendar/daily planner, an MP3 music player, an eBook reader, a video media player, an encyclopedia/dictionary/thesaurus, a bar code/price checker, an alarm clock, a notepad - well you get the idea. Plus it will run various software programs, surf the Internet, perform searches, go to websites, and oh, by the way, it’s also a telephone.
Recently CNN published an article titled “The Top 10 Tech Trends of 2009” where they point out the reality of the so-called “Smart Phone” being much more about mobile computing than about the actual everyday function we call a cell phone. In fact, because the Smart Phone is so, um... smart, it’s being used less as a phone and more and more as EVERYTHING else!
What you and most people are still calling a cell phone has morphed into the Swiss army knife of the early 21st century. Because the change from a basic cell phone to a smart phone is basically one cell phone contract cycle away from happening on a mass-market scale, some experts are predicting that half of all cell phones will be smart phones by 2011!
So what does this mean to
a Retail Jewelry Store?
Surprisingly, this all remains a mysterious secret to most local business owners. But the explosion of Smart Phones coming into the marketplace will create a seemingly overnight marketing opportunity to those retailers who are prepared for it.
Compete.com says that mobile commerce is poised to explode in 2010. The quiet time before the masses rush in, is about to end. Now is the time for retail jewelry stores to stake their claims before your competition leaves you hopelessly behind.
Not surprisingly, Google leads the field in Mobile Search. When someone performs a search on a Smart Phone, Google takes the location of the cell phone tower the phone is connected to, along with the GPS data on the phone and customizes the search data for that Local Geographical Area. Google utilizes the information in their Maps listing for these searches. For any local business to be considered, they MUST have claimed their Google Local Business Listing and have as much data as possible in their listing. In last month’s article I covered step by step directions on how to do this.
In addition, jewelry stores must make their websites Mobile Search Friendly. Mobile users are likely to abandon websites that are not optimized for mobile phones. For example, 45% of mobile searchers left a website because it would not load, and 38% left because it was not developed specifically for smart phone users. If you have an expensive Flash website, it may be time for a website re-design to a simpler, uncomplicated Mobile Search Friendly website.
When people search for goods or services using their mobile phones, they often prefer to call a store rather than visit that store’s website. Statistics show mobile users prefer to call businesses directly instead of visiting their websites.
Now you can make it even easier for potential customers to reach you by adding a location specific business phone number in ads that appear on mobile devices with full Internet browsers. Users can click the number to call you just as easily as clicking to visit your website.
Ready or Not,
Here It Comes
Now is the time to focus on local search and mobile optimization. This is your GOLDEN opportunity to gain ground on your competitors. Because this technology revolution is going about largely dismissed and unbelievably unnoticed by most local businesses, your opportunity to gain a leg up is now!
Bear in mind, this is also a golden opportunity for your competitor to gain ground or, worse yet, leave you in the dust... unless you sit up, and take action now!
Brad and Debbie Simon have been involved in the retail jewelry industry since 1977 and have been marketing on-line since 1999. Their company Internet 4 Jewelers provides Local and Mobile Search Marketing, E-mail Marketing, and Website Development exclusively for retail jewelry stores. For more information log on to www.Internet4Jewelers.com.