In 2016, mobile phone users are doing more than checking email and Twitter accounts. On the contrary, a recent Google study (PDF) reveals that 82% of smartphone owners have used their phones to check competitor prices before making purchases in stores. Moreover, a third of users wound up buying from a brand other than the one they planned based on the results of these searches.

Clearly, mobile is having a significant impact on customer buying behavior, and companies that don’t take advantage of this trend are missing out on plenty of potential sales. Here are five must-know small business mobile trends expected to affect small business sales in 2016.

Social Sales

In recent years, sites like Facebook and Pinterest have installed easy-to-use purchase buttons that enable shoppers to buy goods with a single click without leaving the page. These buttons are especially appealing to mobile users who don’t necessarily want to fill out complicated sales forms using their phones or enter credit card information on the go. Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, consumers avoid purchasing expensive items like TVs and computers from social ads.

For best results, use social media advertising to promote timely purchases like concert tickets and smaller, impulse-friendly items, such as clothing and jewelry.

Email Marketing

As a small business owner, you probably know that email marketing is a crucial way to reach current and prospective customers. You might not realize, however, that these messages need to be mobile-friendly to reach the largest possible audience. Because mobile users are viewing your information on smaller screens, it’s important to keep your content simple and straightforward while avoiding large images that might take time to load.

Along with creating customized, mobile-friendly emails, small businesses should send messages at the best possible times. Marketing automation services use algorithms to identify the ideal times of day to send users emails, in-app messages and push notifications. The goal is to increase customer satisfaction by ensuring all marketing contact is as relevant and timely as possible.

Apps

For businesses that sell their wares through apps, it’s important to make the purchasing process as easy and painless as possible. A good app can improve the customer shopping experience by increasing access to information and making the checkout process faster. Additionally, a convenient app can help boost order sizes and frequency while increasing overall customer engagement and loyalty ratings.

Video

Video has long been a valuable tool for selling goods and services online. Experts predict that this trend will continue in 2016, as video ads become even more prominent on mobile devices. In fact, a recent TechCrunch article forecasts that mobile video advertising spend will reach billion by 2018.

With mobile video ads, you can put your products in customers’ hands at the exact moments when they’re making purchasing decisions. Despite the smaller screen sizes, studies show that customers pay more attention to mobile videos than ones viewed on desktops. Additionally, users engage more with video ads than other types of marketing material by regularly sharing them on their Facebook and Twitter pages.

By sharing your business’ videos with family and friends, customers are effectively doing your job for you.

Local Targeting via Technology

In the past, high advertising costs made small businesses hesitant to take advantage of geo-targeting services. They may want to take a second look, however, as new tools are opening up local mobile advertising to small businesses with limited budgets. Using geo-targeting, small businesses can direct their messaging to customers who are driving or walking near their shops. This practice goes by different names, including “geo-fencing,” which targets shoppers in a perimeter around their brick-and-mortar location, and “geo-conquesting,” which aims to connect with shoppers around their competitors.

Along with information about your products and services, local ads can feature targeted messaging, store locators and coupons. In fact, some small businesses even create unique coupons for locals and tourists alike in a given region. By finding qualified buyers who are interested in your products or services—and already in your general area—you boost your odds of making the sale.

If you think the mobile revolution is a temporary phenomenon, think again. In the coming months, experts predict that large and small businesses will begin to incorporate mobile services into their physical stores as well. Using interior GPS tracking, retailers will even be able to deliver information to customers based on the aisles in which they’re shopping. Get on the mobile bandwagon now to give your small business a decisive edge on the competition. Remember, however, not to go overboard.

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