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Appy Holidays

Discussions abound about whether or not retailers should open on Thanksgiving, but what gets lost in the shuffle is the fundamental question of “What do consumers want?”

Based on their behavior and the already strong start to the holiday retail season, the answer appears to be they want to start shopping. 

And we are also starting to see how they want to pay for those purchases. The recent release of Apple Pay, the mobile payment service available on the iPhone 6, gives us a window into consumer transaction preferences. In the first three weeks of launch, Whole Foods is reporting that 1 percent of all purchases at its stores utilized Apple Pay.

Apple Pay is just one mobile payment option. Shoppers also have access to Google Wallet, and next year CurrentC will go live.

It is vital to independent retailers to recognize the fact that these shoppers are out there. Dealers need to vie for attention and utilize all the tools at their disposal to increase market share. That means embracing the trend toward quicker, and in some cases more secure, mobile payment options.

In these heady days of the DIY app builder, which makes it possible for anyone, regardless of their technological expertise, to design, create, and publish mobile apps, there is little excuse for small business not participating in the mobile space.

Mobile site traffic reached 38.2 percent in March 2014, more than double the percentage in March 2012. IBM estimates that 20 percent of site sales and more than 43 percent of site traffic will come from mobile devices this month. 

This is where consumers are finding and interacting with your brand.

In as little as 30 minutes, a small retailer can be up-and-running in the mobile game, accepting orders and processing payments through mobile apps.

The shoppers are out there, in full force, and they are enthusiastically interacting with businesses that cater to the mobile generation.

The impulse-buying mobile millennials are out there too and they are looking at their smartphones right now. Can they find you in time for Christmas?

Scott Hirsch is CEO of Appsbar, a free mobile app-building platform.