Your smartphone has become the most critical tool for running your business.
Of course these pocket-sized computers are ideal for staying in touch with clients, customers and colleagues, but downloadable apps can also help boost your productivity, remain competitive, and increase sales.
What’s that? You especially like the “increase sales” part?
If so, the following is a quick look at a handful of apps that might help your business bump up sales while on the go. Unless otherwise specified, these apps work on both iOS and Android devices.
Rated the no. 1 app for employee scheduling, HotSchedules is a fast, convenient and simple way to manage this often cumbersome task. Easily check or modify schedules, set notifications and send email or text alerts to staff. Team members can use their fingertip to approve, swap, or release shifts while on the go. Requiring a valid HotSchedules user account, this app also lets managers/owners view blocked off dates from employees, access sales and labour snapshots, and view employee contact info.
The planet’s most popular social media management app lets you view, manage, publish and schedule posts from your business’s pages for Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Foursquare, and LinkedIn – from one app in the palm of your hand. Monitor mentions and conversations about your brand, track analytics, use the Ow.ly web link shortener, and even translate and publish messages to and from more than 50 languages.
We’re a visual culture, and so the free VSCO Cam app from the Visual Supply Company helps you shoot, edit, and share your photographs – perhaps of your company’s flagship products – to upload to social media or help nudge customers into clicking the “Buy” button. VSCO also serves as a showcase of other exceptional images from around the world to give you inspiration, plus you can find and follow other creative types. Select which photos you want synced with other devices, so you can start editing on one and finishing on the other.
Exclusively available from TELUS, Dream Payments is a debit and credit card reader that lets small business owners take payments on the go. The small card reader works with any iOS or Android phone, giving you a complete mobile payments solution with no hidden costs or monthly fees (just pay the per-transaction free through the card issuer). On sale for $99 (usually $139), the Dream Payments Card Reader uses Bluetooth to communicate with your phone to wirelessly and securely confirm the transaction (via the Dream Payments app), be it from Interac Debit cards (chip & PIN transactions supported), as well as Visa and MasterCard credit cards (chip & PIN and Tap transactions supported). Other features include real-time reporting, digital receipts (email or SMS) and easy setup and operation.
Improve your sales by picking up a new language. Rather than pay through the nose for lessons or pricy software sold at airport kiosks, Duolingo is a free app that helps you tackle languages like French, Spanish, German, Italian, English, and many others. With accessible bite-sized lessons, you’ll start off matching words with pictures, hearing what they sound like and saying words into your phone or tablet. Duolingo also rewards you with XP (experience) points and hearts, adding a fun and motivational “gamification” element.
Available for free on most platforms, Yelp helps your customers find your business, via their smartphone’s GPS, and lets them read reviews from others before they step in your door. Make sure you’re checking in on your Yelp reviews and responding to both positive and negative reviews. A great reputation and customer service will also increase sales. Users can narrow down searches by neighbourhood, distance and price; make restaurant reservations on OpenTable from within the app; and "check-in" to let Facebook friends or Twitter followers know where they are – hopefully at your business.
Perfect for small businesses, the free Mint app helps you set budgets, track expenses and reach financial goals. This handy money management tool for smartphones, tablets and laptops lets you see what you're spending (and saving) through colour-coded lists and graphs, plus you can track your bank account and credit card balances in real-time, follow investments and even break out your expenditures by category and receive alerts you when you've exceeded your budget.
Don’t leave money on the table. Marketplaces like Etsy and eBay let you have a global storefront to sell your wares. Both apps let you easily update product listings, add photos, manage your orders, message with customers or clients, and connect with local buyers, too. Similarly, depending on the industry you’re in, online classifieds sites like Kijiji and Craigslist could also be great platforms to increase sales among local buyers, plus you can advertise for free.
Stay on top of your site traffic with the Google Analytics app. Access all of your web and app data from your iOS or Android device, monitored in real-time for up-to-the-minute reporting, enabling you to get your analytics data anytime and anywhere. Who knew how easy it would be to pull out your phone to see where, when and how customers are navigating your site and discover possible trends on whether or not they’re completing the Check Out experience.