If you were to listen to all the hype online recently, you would believe that you could run your business based solely on mobile applications.
In fact, now that Apple has put their operating systems into both their tablet and their smartphone software, it’s very easy to believe that one day you will not need a computer at all. But, I digress. Mobile applications can either hurt your business, or they can help your business. With 190,000,000 people using smartphones and tablets to shop these days, you would think that making your business more mobile-optimized would be the best thing for your business. And you would be correct… for the most part.
There are enough apps out there now that you can handle your finance and invoices, printing, presentations and customer data all via your phone. You can also use the eBay, Etsy and Amazon mobile apps to list and keep up with your store. So, will these apps help you or hurt you? Let’s discuss them and you can decide for yourself!
eCommerce Platform Mobile Apps: A Small Business Owner’s Best Friend
First, let’s discuss the basic applications that you use to access your online selling accounts via a mobile device. I’m a big fan of all of the eBay, Amazon and Etsy applications. They notify me when I have a sale, I can send messages to my buyers, and I can track shipments. I can even use them to list my items.
…Or Worst Enemy?
The only drawback to the mobile apps, as far as I’m concerned, is that my listings don’t look as professional as they do when I list items on the desktop. With the eBay app, for instance, you can only fill out the description in plain text, you cannot choose your store category or choose the “get it fast” option. The same can be said about Etsy and Amazon as well. There are key components to the listing process that are missing when you list on the mobile app. Sometimes, if I’m out and about and have time to list via my smart phone, I will. Then when I return home, I will revise the listings to look the way I want them to. Also, when listing via your desktop on eBay in particular, be sure to use their photo tool to upload your photos. If you place them down in the description area instead, mobile customers may be unable to see your photos. Be very careful when using extensive backgrounds, links to your store or photo html when filling out the description box because it can be difficult to know how these things will come across on a mobile device. The last thing you want to do is lose a sale because the customer is using a device and can’t read your description or see photos of your item.
There are a wide range of mobile applications out there. If you are an iPhone user, check out a new application called Bento, which helps you organize contacts and clients, track current projects and print QR codes and labels for you.
Handy Mobile Apps for eCommerce Sellers
There are also mobile apps that help you print invoices, shipping labels, etc. from anywhere in your house via your phone or tablet. As your business grows, there are even apps like the CMI Management App that allows you to find answers to common management questions, assess yourself as a business leader and assess how your business is coming along. Applications like these definitely help your business by allowing you to be mobile. You can go out sourcing new products and still stay on top of your business. Did you ever think that you would be able to do that? I certainly didn’t.
With so many resources available via mobile devices, it has become easy to run a business while still maintaining a busy lifestyle. Applications and devices have come a long way. There are those of us still clinging to the past who feel as though the best work is done on a desktop and for certain things, that is true. But for the most part, applications and devices help you to broaden your horizons and take your business to the next level.
A Final Caution about Mobile Apps
Don’t allow yourself to download so many apps that you can’t keep track of which one is which. This, I have discovered, can be a very real problem. Only download applications that you feel will truly help you and your business. If you download one and it doesn’t help or you never use it, delete it. Free up some space for a newer and better app. And whatever you do…don’t leave your phone at home!