POS Web Applications

While we’ve discussed previously the need for certain kinds of web-based applications to be integrated into your business, there are still those locations which see the web and the associated services as a luxury.

This is simply no longer the case. To compete effectively in an increasingly difficult market, business owners and operators must use all the available tools at their disposal in order to effectively compete. There are three steps in getting your business prepared for the web-based market that is quickly overtaking traditional forms of marketing and communication.

Get Online

First, you must have a web presence. This means a website that offers your customers (and potential customers) a way to search for and find your business on the internet. It should contain contact information, a map to your location (preferably with an application that provides driving directions like Google Maps) and a menu. Further, having a website means updating. Keep you information current. Post information about upcoming events or specials. Anything to draw attention to your business and away from your competitors. And it’s not enough anymore to just have a website. You have to ensure that the site you’re using to promote your business is optimized for mobile browsers. The proliferation of web-enabled smart phones means more people than ever are using their portable devices to access information. If your website is inefficiently laid out for a mobile user, they’ll quickly move on to a site that is more mobile-friendly. We are truly seeing a tipping point, where analysis is suggesting that, among the service industries, more users are accessing data over their smartphones than any other source. In short, keep your menu up to date, keep your site updated frequently and make sure that your presence is mobile-device friendly.

Get Social

Get Social

Secondly, social media is an imperative. When we looked at online reservation technology, we talked about Facebook integration. Most businesses now at least have a Facebook page, which is a convenient way to connect to customers and gather feedback. Now, with the ubiquity of Twitter, that, too, has become a necessity for the business owner. Not only does Twitter allow you to send information out in real time, it also gives you the ability to market beyond Facebook “friends” and reach potential customers who may exist beyond your followers. Many business owners will become frustrated by small numbers of followers on Twitter, or the seemingly small impact when compared with Facebook, but don’t give up. Use trending topics to advertise yourself and look for users who have not connected to you directly mentioning the name of your business. Twitter will also allow for direct communication which could ferret out service issues, or customer complaints. It is essential that you use Facebook and Twitter as companion means of marketing and communication.

Get Integrated

Finally, you must integrate all these elements into a cohesive strategy for your business. Make sure the widgets for Facebook and Twitter are easily identifiable and accessible on your website. Your customers are already using these applications, so make sure that they have an organic means to finding information, such as current menus and pricing, as well as location information. Every time a customer leaves a comment, likes a status or mentions you on Twitter, they are effectively doing advertising for you, and potentially generating feedback which could promote new strategies or identify holes in your operations that something like a survey card would never capture.

No matter what type of business you’re operating, the traditional means of advertising – television, radio, billboards – are losing ground to new media. If you have not established your web presence, there’s no time to lose. The number of marketing tools available to you is staggering, but simply by engaging with the two or three most popular, and establishing a website that contains your most vital information, updates regularly and uses mobile optimization and social media integration, you can stake your claim on the web and target your marketing dollars far more effectively.