MLR

Learning online sales skills: How to get started

M-commerce, mobile commerce, is definitely the wave of the future.

New reports by Pew Research Center show that 46 percent of Americans now own smartphones, up from 35 percent in 2011. This means a huge percentage of your customer base is conducting business and making online purchases on their mobile devices.

smartphone

So, if defining and creating your mobile Internet presence isn’t a priority now, it needs to be.

If you’ve been so busy creating your products or services that the future has caught up with you, you may be wondering where to start.

You might need to hire someone to help you set up new technologies like QR Codes, but before you do that, learn more by checking out these resources.

Pew Research’s site, www.pewinternet.org, has the latest objective research about Internet use trends in just about every aspect of daily life. AT&T and Verizon are two great sources of information about m-commerce and small business communications tools.

On the idea exchange page at AT&T’s smallbusinessInSite portal (smallbiz.att.com), you can find free informational webinars on various aspects of m-commerce. Verizon’s Small Business Center at business.verizon.net hosts webinars and other resources to help businesses apply new mobile software and marketing strategies.

The Small Business Administration’s resource site, www.sbdcnet.org, has e-commerce guides on most aspects of Internet marketing and sales. Business use of social media is covered as well. This is a good site for basic information.

Microsoft has created a new beta site called Business Hub to help small businesses grow their businesses through technology, www.microsoftbusinesshub.com.

Although the site is focused on Microsoft products, there are articles and how-to’s regarding online marketing and the use of new tools, like search engine Bing, to promote your business.

Not to be outdone, Apple, www.apple.com/business, offers instruction and apps to help you run your business better with Apple iphones and ipads.

Futurist Phil Simon has written two practical books that cover the small business use of new technologies. On the book websites, he also offers free videos and courses for a small fee.

In The Age of the Platform, www.theageoftheplatform.com, Simon discusses how businesses of all sizes can learn from Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google.

In The New Small, he examines cloud computing, free software, mobility and social networks.

Case studies include how a dentist, restaurant, law firm, and manufacturer are using them to grow their businesses, www.thenewsmall.com.

Don’t wait to take the plunge. More and more consumers are switching to smartphones by the day. M-commerce is becoming the norm, rather than the exception.