Don’t Overlook the Mobility of Your Workforce

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Work is no longer conducted just behind a desk and within four walls.

The most successful businesses in many industries are those that function on the go.

If you have a small business or are starting a new company, you may want to think about how a mobile workforce will benefit your ultimate goal.

Why You Need Mobility

A mobile workforce is out among the people, the customers.

It is a company that understands what consumers want. It is much easier to keep your finger on the pulse when you interact with people. It is also much easier to find new customers instead of waiting for them to come to you.

Transparency is essential in the modern business world and it is easier to accomplish when there is a face to go with the name.

You are less limited when you can hire people from around the country or around the world.

You get the benefit of the most talented people no matter where they live. Connect online to discuss projects or hold meetings.

It also cuts your costs because you don’t have to provide an office for everyone.

Even those who work locally can spend part of their time out in the field or at home instead of in the office all day.

Not only do you reduce costs, but you enjoy more productive employees because they are happier with their flexible schedules.

Struggles with Mobility

You have to consider the unique challenges that a mobile workforce must face.

As the article, “Building a Strong Mobile Workforce Team: Tips You Can Use” says, workers who are out in the field or away from the office can have a more difficult time feeling connected.

You must ensure that meetings keep people up to date on important information while making them feel like a part of the team. You want to make sure that your mobile staff is getting all of the feedback and directions needed to do the job.

Out of sight should never mean out of mind in this case.

You want to know what your employees are doing and that means finding a way to monitor them even when they are not in the office.

This goal not only serves to keep everyone on track, but it allows you to reward those who deserve it. It is easy for extra effort to go unnoticed when someone works remotely.

The business must appear to be cohesive even if some of the staff members are not in the office.

There should be no disparity present to the customer even if one person they talk to is based in California and another one is located in New York City.

Having a mobile workforce is an important part of business strategy today.

However, you want to be prepared with the right systems, resources and people to ensure that it helps you meet your ultimate goal: to make your company successful and competitive in today’s environment.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including business and technology.

Mobile Marketing Playing Bigger Role in Annuities

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You might not think of mobile marketing when you think of annuities.

Mobile technology is exciting and innovative, two words that you don’t normally associate with annuities. They are more stable, solid but unexciting.

However, mobile technology has transformed this industry, how information is presented to customers and how they do their research.

Growing Trend

Investment companies have been slow to adopt mobile marketing in the past, but that is changing.

Much of the delay stems from the fact that people in the age bracket of those interested in annuities are not as tied to technology.

They may prefer to meet in person or talk over the phone with someone. That is changing as the generation that was raised on technology is getting older.

Companies like Prudential provide an app where you can manage your account right from your smartphone.

Offering an app to consumers’ appeals to those who want to be in control of their finances even if someone else is handling the account. They want to know what their money is doing to help them make decisions about investing and saving.

Comparing Products

Because people today have technology ingrained in their systems, it is habit to research a product before making a purchase. This fact holds true for annuities and other investments.

Consumers research the different insurance companies that offer annuities to make comparisons about what they offer. They often do not limit a purchase to a single item, so they will choose an insurance company that offers other products of value as well.

Using mobile devices is a fact of life for busy people.

They conduct much of their research as they are going about their day rather than waiting until they are in front of a computer.

Marketers must take this fact into account when creating a campaign to bring in new business. Their websites must be mobile-friendly to be viewed on tablets and smartphones. They also must utilize mobile technology in advertising. This may include text messaging or location-based marketing.

People often make decisions about annuities after a major life event.

They may be getting married or having a baby and decide they need to plan for the future. They may celebrate a milestone birthday.

As the following article looks at, annuity companies can take advantage of this fact by presenting a relevant message that brings them to mind at just the right time when they are ready to buy annuity products.

Video is an Important Tool

Video is an intricate part of mobile marketing and annuity products are perfect for this strategy.

While people may know that an annuity is an investment product, they often do not understand how it works. Creating a video that relays important information is often more appealing than reading dry content.

The benefit for the users is that they begin to understand the product and can make informed decisions. The benefit for the company is that when people are ready to make a purchase, they will remember the business that provided that valuable information.

Mobile marketing is a growing trend for all industries. People buying and selling annuities will benefit from this move.

It will help those who are buying to make the right decision and it will help enhance the brand for those who are selling the product.

About the Author: Joyce Morse is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including finance and marketing.

Put Mobility into Your Summer Retail Sales

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Are you ready to use mobile marketing to turn up the heat on your summer marketing campaigns?

Summer is an excellent time for your business to boost sales and reach out to more customers than ever, and mobile marketing is an important tool for doing just that.

So just what can you do to get the most out of your mobile marketing campaigns this summer?

Mobile-Proof Your Website

According to software solutions company Compuware, 74 percent of consumers will only wait five seconds for a web site to load on their mobile device.

That means that if your website isn’t optimized to be accessible and quick to load for mobile customers, you could be losing out on sales.

Mobile viewers should be able to navigate with just a few taps, and buy from you as easily as they would from a laptop. This is especially important in the summer when people are more likely to be out and about.

Make sure your site is mobile friendly so your customers can browse and buy with ease, even if they’re beach-side.

Reach Out With Text Messaging

Text messaging is the perfect medium for your summer marketing campaigns.

As the article “How to Use Mobile to Increase Summer Retail Sales” points out, text messaging ensures your subscribers are notified directly about your promotions.

With an impressive 98 percent open rate, text messages put your message directly in front of your customers, and are perfect for reaching customers on the go, including customers on vacation.

To make the most of text messaging, make sure each message you send offers genuine value and interest to your customers.

Make Use of Themed Promotions

Summer-themed promotions will tap into the summer mood and grab your mobile customers’ attention.

Try theming a promotion around sporting events, such as offering gold, silver and bronze deals on your products. Or embrace the summer feeling with giveaways and offers on essential summer items.

You don’t need to be a retail business to get in on the act – businesses from restaurants to accountants to web designers can all incorporate a little summer theme in their marketing.

Reward Mobile Customers

Offer your mobile customers something they can’t get through any other channel.

You can do this via a text message campaign, for example by giving SMS subscribers a great deal that they can’t get anywhere else.

You can also offer something unique to shoppers who buy from your website instead of visiting your store, or who buy via a link in an email.

By giving mobile customers something that isn’t widely available, you’re giving them a reason to subscribe to your SMS messages or email list.

Make Social Media Work for You

Social media is an important marketing tool year-round, and it really comes into its own for summer marketing campaigns.

The chances are your customers will be on social media while out and about on vacation, or simply during breaks from work. Meet them there with content that they’ll love.

Social media content can absolutely be used to promote your summer offers, but do make sure your posts are genuinely interesting and shareable, not just about the hard sell.

Mobile marketing is a key part of any summer marketing campaign.

Build your seasonal promotions around a summer theme and reach out to your customers on the go in preparation for a successful summer of marketing.

About the Author: Tristan Anwyn writes on a wide variety of topics, including branding, inbound marketing, mobile marketing and social media.

Put Surveys to Work for Your Brand

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As a business owner, it’s important to know exactly what your customers think about the products and services you offer.

Fortunately, surveys are a quick and convenient way to find out what your customers think about your business.

Here are just a few benefits of putting surveys to work for your brand:

Importance of Knowing What’s Working

You probably already know how much time and energy it takes to make sure your business is the best it can be. Knowing what’s working well for your business allows you to pour more energy into the positive as opposed to repeating the negative.

Customer surveys can give you a glimpse into what your customers think about your business and it’s always beneficial to know what’s working well for your brand.

Whether it’s a new product or service, surveying your customers will help you discover what they like best about your business.

Using SMS Surveys

In-store paper surveys and mail-in surveys have gone the way of the dinosaur in order to make room for online and mobile surveys. Even traditional online surveys such as email surveys are losing steam.

As the following article looks at, that’s because SMS surveys to satisfy customers is the new survey standard.

With SMS surveys, your business can reach a massive audience directly on their mobile devices. This means you can send surveys while customers are still in your store or within seconds after they leave. This is a more effective approach to surveying because your customers’ experiences are still fresh in their minds.

Taking Action with Negative Feedback

Whether you choose the SMS route or another form of surveying, regularly sending out surveys gives your business the opportunity to act on negative feedback. This is hugely beneficial; especially considering negative customer feedback can spread like wildfire in social channels.

Negative feedback allows your business to pinpoint certain areas that need improvement and allow you immediately to take action.

Whether it’s a subpar product or poor customer service, surveys give your business a unique opportunity to improve.

Discovering Upcoming Trends

Sending out customer surveys can also help your business better predict upcoming trends.

By asking your customers what they like most about your brand and the products and services it offers, you can discover what your most popular attributes are.

This could be anything from a new product that’s getting rave reviews to a service that customers find particularly helpful. By asking the right survey questions, you can stay ahead of trends within your business and give your customers more of what they truly like.

Increasing Customer Loyalty

By simply sending surveys, you are proving to your customers that your business cares about them.

This alone will increase customer loyalty. However, if you truly put your customers’ opinions and feedback to good use, you’ll create customers for life.

Your customers will appreciate it when they actually see their feedback making a difference in your business. When you make survey responses a priority, it makes a noticeable difference in customer satisfaction, which will increase customer loyalty like never before.

When it comes to happy customers, give surveys a chance and give your brand the opportunity to improve.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including marketing and customer satisfaction.

Your Drip Campaign and Brand Success

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If your business is looking for a more effective way to deliver its marketing campaigns, then it’s time to start thinking time-released.

That’s right, drip campaigning is one of the best ways to take full advantage of text marketing.

Here are just a few ways drip campaigns can benefit your marketing efforts one drip at a time:

Mobile Marketing on the Rise

Before you take advantage of drip campaigning, it’s important to know the state of mobile marketing.

Unlike email, web, and social media marketing, mobile marketing is still considered an untapped marketing avenue.

Not only do delivering marketing campaigns via text increase opt-in rates, it also reaches customers at the most opportune time. Drip marketing can improve campaign timing and help your business segment its marketing efforts.

So will mobile marketing continue its upward slope?

Well, according to the worldwide marketing company Responsys, the answer is a resounding YES.

A little more than 70% of mobile users enable marketing push notifications on their devices. In addition, more than 80% of conversions take place in the first five hours of a mobile campaign. Now that’s something to text home about.

As you look at the article, “What’s a Drip Campaign and How Can it Work for Your Company?” take note that drip texts or campaigning automates the mobile marketing process.

Instead of sending out bulk text messages all at once, drip marketing allows your business to deliver messages on specific dates over a period of time.

This means your marketing department can create a number of text campaigns designed to target various customers and release them throughout the week or month. Drip campaigning is especially helpful during those times when you want your marketing to align with upcoming sales and promotions.

Now that you know what drip campaigning is, there are a number of benefits that go along with the marketing technique.

Benefits of the Drip Campaign

Mobile marketing is quickly branching out to include various advertising avenues, including drip campaigning.

When it comes to marketing effectiveness and versatility, the advantages of drip campaigning can’t be beat.

They include:

- Perfect Timing – Whether you have a new campaign to deliver or an upcoming sale to promote, drip texts perfect the timing behind each marketing endeavor. In terms of marketing relevance, time – released texts truly optimize the marketing process;
- Increased Sales – Because your marketing campaigns reach customers at the most opportune time, the likelihood of landing sales increases. Likewise, because drip campaigns are targeted at mobile devices, your campaigns will reach your customers no matter where they are;
- Nurture Leads – Converting a lead into a paying customer is difficult, but promotional drips can help. Delivering the right promotions at the right time can increase conversations by continuously reaching out to customers who are on the fence about your business;
- Informative Drips – Sometimes all it takes is a little more information about your products and services to convince customers to choose your brand. Informative drips describe your business and keep customers up to date on what you have to offer, which helps increase sales.

When it comes to brand success, drip campaigning can send your marketing in a more fluid direction.

About the Author: Adam Groff is a freelance writer and creator of content. He writes on a variety of topics including marketing and mobile technology.

A Wi-Fi Connection, Wherever You Are

John Foley, Jr.
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There is one Wi-Fi hotpot for every 150 people on earth, according to iPass, the world’s largest commercial Wi-Fi network. They also reported the number of global hotspots is expected to grow to 340 million by 2018. The rapid growth of hotspots is good news for mobile works and travelers alike. But it doesn’t mean hotspots will be readily available with the speed and price point you want. Here are some innovative ways to stay in control of your hotspot needs and stay connected no matter where you are.

Find Hidden Networks

Just because a robust list of hotspot networks doesn’t show up on your mobile device doesn’t mean they’re not there. Find hidden networks whether you’re exploring a new city or trying to get some work done at the airport. Apps like NetStumbler and iStumbler give you a detailed list of available networks, including ones that are hidden away from public view. Businesses and airport lounges may hide these networks to give their customers an incentive to come and relax. And if you just need fast access to a local hotspot, try an app like WiFinder to find a spot to get online whether a coffee shop or local library nearby.

Tether Your Smartphone

Just about any smartphone will let you connect to the Internet whether locally or with roaming charges. But not everyone enjoys online surfing from a small screen. Tether your smartphone to your laptop or tablet for Internet sharing. Your smartphone may already provide the feature to turn it into a mobile hotspot like the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy. If your smartphone doesn’t support tethering, use a third-party device like a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, or a MiFi to get connected from just about anywhere.

Use a Satellite Phone

An endless list of how to create or find a hotspot probably won’t do you much good if you’re on a mountaintop. Satellite phones are ideal for international travelers who need to stay connected from remote areas, cruise ships or from exotic spots that might have poor reception.

Devices like the Iridium Go essentially creates a global cell tower for yourself or up to five colleagues. There’s no roaming charges and supports voice calls, email access, photo sharing and GPS tracking among other features. It makes staying connected simple, and keeps you from missing out on important calls or work emergencies while off the beaten path.

Leverage Your Cable

Many of the largest Internet cable providers like Comcast and Time Warner offer free hotspots throughout the U.S. Cable WiFi spots are usually found at coffee shops, malls and large public areas. Look for a hotspot with the name of your cable provider and use your account credentials to log in. Tapping a service you already pay for also gives more value to your monthly cable bill.

Create Your Own Hotspot

Create your own hotspot if you’re still coming up short on finding reliable, powerful Wi-Fi while on the road. Devices like Karma turns your cellular connection into a WiFi signal for up to eight devices from your laptop to tablet. The service currently it runs $14 per GB and never expires. Users can add more and pay as they go as they’re running low. Check the coverage map in advance to see if your area is covered and then hit the road with your own portable Wi-Fi in tow.

Mainframe and Mobile Partner a Good Relationship

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An increasing number of people are using mobile devices to obtain information and request services over the Internet, and they expect to be able to gain access to up-to-date and accurate information, not time-delayed data.

In order to meet the expectations of today’s consumers, businesses have to make sure that their mobile applications can access and interact with their systems of record.

However, many businesses have already invested heavily in information technology systems, and they cannot afford to recreate those investments just so that they can reach consumers through a new channel.

As such, some of them are considering reinventing their mainframes to accommodate mobile technology.

Here is a look at how combining mainframe and mobile can impact your business….

Can the Mainframe be Relevant in the Mobile Era?

Over the years, the mainframe has been keeping up with changes in application systems and computing paradigms, including the web, Cloud computing and mobile technology. It is constantly being reinvented so that it can run the latest application server packages.

In January this year, IBM launched the first mainframe that is specially designed to accommodate mobile technology.

The z13 can address mobile workloads better simply by providing more processing power.

According to an article entitled “Mainframe, Meet Mobile. Mobile, Meet Mainframe“, this sleek-looking mainframe comes with a microprocessor that is twice as fast as an ordinary server processor, and it can process 2.5 billion transactions a day.

Businesses that have z12 mainframes can meet mobile demands by using z/OS Connect.

This connector technology facilitates the delivery of data from IMS, CICS and DB2 RESTfully with simple API calls. Introduced in 2014, it is regarded as a linchpin of mobile and Cloud enablement for mainframes.

Business Impact of Mainframe-Mobile Integration

Deliver More Services

By using the millions of lines of code found in mainframe applications and working processes, businesses can develop applications that are more strategic and competitive.

As they move from first-generation applications to the web, Cloud, and mobile channels, they will be able to deliver more services to their customers.

The emergence of Web and REST services has made mainframe transaction managers such as IMS, CICS and WebSphere Application Server great places for hosting processes and services that are invoked by mobile front-ends, enabling them to provide more information and business value.

Usually, such processes are already in existence, but now, they have to be linked to the new infrastructures available to the mobile platform.

Streamline Business Processes

Another benefit of combining mainframe and mobile is that it can help streamline your business processes.

For example, you can improve productivity by implementing a cross-platform mobile app for your employees that integrates into your mainframe back-end.

Also, you can create a mobile customer portal that leverages data from your mainframe to provide an easy and convenient way for your customers to gain information and assistance.

The mainframe is still very much relevant in today’s world.

It offers a reliable system of record that is always available and highly scalable, and it can be an even more valuable asset to your business if it is mobile-enabled.

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

Mobile Marketing Can Be a Winner for Single Parents

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If you run a business, you’re probably looking for that niche to market to.

Many businesses know what that niche is ahead of time, but others kind of work as they go, and they may be at a point in their marketing life of trying to figure who to take a look at.

Usually parents are looking for some kind of money saving deal to fit into a budget, so marketing to parents is a great idea, especially through mobile marketing.

Marketers can narrow down this niche even more and market towards the single parent.

Convenience, time savers, good deals and discounts are popular in this market.

For instance, offering coupons accessible on a mobile device is a smart marketing tool.

Here are some other good ideas:

- Through mobile marketing, single parents can find what they need on their mobile device. They can look for a coupon or discount while they are on the go. It saves time and makes everything more convenient. For instance, if a restaurant offers a mobile special, it is okay if the family didn’t come in with a coupon, they can just get it off their phone. It offers a more spontaneous opportunity, which works well in our busy lifestyles.

- Kid-friendly business should be marketing on mobile devices. Parents like to support kid friendly business, from restaurants to stores, to medical needs to haircuts. So if a business that specializes in kids’ haircuts, for example, can offer deals on a mobile device, it’s a big plus to parents.

- Sharing information. Parents get a lot of their information from other parents. If your site lets you gain something by referring someone or naming a referral, you’ll pull business in. If you run a dance studio, for instance, on the registration form (which should be accessible by a mobile device) you should have a spot for “how did you hear of us?” Perhaps you can offer a discount if a specific person is named.

- Blog and share it on social media where it can be accessed through a mobile device. As the following article looks at, offer budgeting tips for single parents or seasonal ideas for saving money.

- Use your social media. Whether your business is large or small, use social media to reach as many people as you can. Other moms will “like” you and their mom friends will probably end up “liking” you, too. It’s important for your marketing endeavors to be active on social media, especially if you are local and can gain a place in the “mom (or dad)” community.

Marketing to parents is an important niche to break into.

If you’re not already doing it, your business may be missing out.

It’s not too late, though, and you may be surprised at how much business is out there in the mom or dad world.

About the Author: Heather Legg writes on a variety of topics including social media, small business marketing and parenting.

Go to School on Mass Texting for Your Brand

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Text messaging is presently one of the most preferred communication mediums, especially among teenagers.

According to a report released by Pew Internet Project, about 75 percent of all teenagers text, and 63 percent of them use text messaging on a daily basis.

Many schools and universities are taking advantage of the popularity of SMS to improve communication with students, staff members and parents, something that business owners can take a lesson from.

Why Schools and Universities are Turning to SMS

In the past, schools and universities had to rely on time-consuming communication methods such as making phone calls and pamphleteering to communicate with their students and students’ parents.

Mass emailing can help them save substantial time and effort, but it has a comparatively low open rate and lacks immediacy. Now, many academic institutions are using SMS as one of their main communication tools.

Text messaging does not only enable them to communicate easier, faster and cheaper; it also ensures that their messages will be read by almost every recipient within a short time after delivery.

A study commissioned by SinglePoint found that SMS has an open rate of more than 99 percent, which is the highest among all forms of mass communication. It is the quickest and most effective way to inform a large group of people.

Three Ways Academic Institutions are Using Text Messaging

Improve Communication Processes

One of the main reasons why more and more academic institutions are adopting text messaging is because it can significantly improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their communication processes.

It allows them to send a wide array of information to students and parents with greater ease and speed, including tutoring information, class schedule changes, absenteeism, outstanding fees, parent/teacher meetings, sporting events and others.

According to an article entitled “3 Ways Schools and Universities are Using Mass Texting“, SMS can also be used to streamline administrative processes in academic institutions.

It can help them save time and money when they need to schedule staff meetings, after-school events and parent/teacher conferences.

Boost Enrollment

Many schools and universities are also using SMS as a marketing tool.

Through text messaging, they can make themselves visible to more prospective students; increase traffic to their websites; provide admission information such as admission requirements, tuition fees and deadlines, and send alerts for pre-admission events such as orientation, school tours and financial aid workshops.

Academic institutions that are holding or sponsoring local or online events can also use SMS to send invitations to prospective students.

Protect the Safety of Students

In Boston, public schools have introduced a two-way texting service called TipTxt to prevent bullying.

This program provides a confidential platform for students to report bullying incidents to school administrators, who will respond by checking on the welfare of the victims.

SMS is also widely used by academic institutions to warn students and staff members of potential extreme weather conditions, natural disasters and tragedies such as shootings and bombings.

Text messaging is not only beneficial to academic institutions; it can also be an invaluable tool for businesses.

Businesses can use SMS to improve communications both internally and externally, resulting in greater efficiency and productivity, as well as lower communication costs.

Also, using text messaging for marketing purposes can help them boost brand visibility, customer engagement and conversion rates.

So, are you ready to become a business leader who puts text messaging to work for your brand?

About the Author: John McMalcolm is a freelance writer who writes on a wide range of subjects, from social media marketing to Cloud computing.

What Does a Modern Mobile Payment System Entail?

Donna Vieira
Posted on in Inspiration

According to the American Mobile Retail Association, the average startup cost for a mobile business runs from $20,000 to $30,000, and this includes the purchase of a vehicle or trailer. This is significantly less than the hundred grand that the typical brick-and-mortar business requires. One of the hardest parts of mobile retail is the payment and inventory system. In this Wi-Fi world, there are some bells and whistles to have in a mobile payment system.

Card Reader

Since less than one-fifth of the American population carries cash, a smart business needs to be able to accept credit cards anywhere and everywhere. There are numerous credit card readers on the market that will snap onto your phone or tablet. Some of them simply read the card and nothing else. You need to do all of the processing and accounting at the back end, when you get to your office. Others are apps that require no extra hardware to read the credit card. These card reading apps take a picture of the credit card, encrypt the data and then process it.

Efficiency and Buyer Experience

From a marketing perspective, the easier it is for a customer to pay, the better the customer’s buying experience. Quality items, reasonable price points and a positive consumer transaction is the recipe for a successful business. Use a system that will create an electronic receipt when you accept cash, checks or any other form of trade. Doing it this way also has the upside of gaining a customer’s email for your marketing database.

Accounting Integration

We would all be happier if we could just sell our stuff and not need to do anything else. Making, decorating and selling a cupcake is the fun part. Paying bills, balancing accounts and sending invoices is not. Make it easy and use a system that does everything for you so you are not doing double the work. When a receipt is created, make sure it drops right into your accounting software and that the inventory is debited one item. If not, you will need to do this manually.

Online Incorporation

Mobile businesses differ from traditional brick-and-mortar because people always know where to find a store-based business. Mobile companies use their Internet presence to let people know how to locate them. The consumer will purchase some things online and others will require hands on. According to the concepts of omni-channel marketing, a business needs to provide seamless, multiple opportunities for the consumer to purchase products. For a mobile business, this means that a person will be able to touch and experience the merchandise at the portable location then purchase the item online whenever they wish. Your mobile payment system needs to integrate the movable business and the e-commerce platform so that they work together.

Integrated Marketing Systems

Since you are capturing all of this data at the mobile site, combine it into one robust marketing platform. It needs to be able to send coupons along with the digital receipts. It should create your email database for you and you need to be able to data mine customer preferences from their purchases.