Reasons to Go Mobile in 2014

Picture70A you kick off the new year, the time is right for small businesses to go mobile in 2014. Given the amount of traffic on the mobile web, if mobile isn’t considered a necessity in your niche today, it soon will be. And statistics and polls show that mobile activity continues to increase in almost every area – app downloads, usage, mobile web browsing, mobile purchasing – so the mobile first world is fast-becoming a reality.

There are, however, some that are still not convinced, so here are a few more great reasons to go mobile in 2014!

You’ll miss out on leads if you don’t.

When it comes to mobile search, about 40% of users will head to a competitor’s site if they can’t find you on the mobile web. “No problem!” you say, “I’ve got a website, and modern smartphones can browse the web and display pages with no problem!”

Unfortunately, your image will suffer without mobile.

This is becoming more and more prevalent – for a lot of users, if a business doesn’t have an app and mobile website, it seems not only like they’re “not with it,” but also like they don’t take customer satisfaction seriously. Successful businesses often look for as many avenues as possible to connect with and engage customers. Currently, people are spending hours and hours on their mobile devices, and so mobile is a natural fit for businesses looking to meet their market where they are.

More mobile = more revenue

Mobile apps present a wealth of opportunities to generate revenue. Mobile ordering, push notifications with new offers, and even a simple address lookup function all can lead to more business for your company. Essentially, the more opportunities to connect with a user you have, the more opportunities to generate revenue you have, and nothing connects like mobile right now.

It’s easy!

Going mobile is not hard. You don’t have to hire a digital wizard and shell out big bucks. With FarmAppetit you can have a mobile app up and running within 45 days and at a low cost…3 platforms for $500 each is a bargain with a low monthly hosting fee.

Download our 5 step guide to building a marketing plan to kick start 2014! 

 

Agrarian Revolution

Mary Berry, daughter of poet Wendell Berry, wants to take local food beyond a faddish economy…excerpts from In These Times.  Here are her thoughts on Big Ag vs. local fresh.

BerryCenterSmall farmers must select which stones to throw at Big Ag. And Mary Berry, Wendell’s daughter, is helping them take aim as executive director of the Berry Center in New Castle, Ky.  The Berry Center’s goal is to institutionalize agrarian thought and make a movement towards cultural change. The center helps new or existing farmers learn what they need to know to get out of the commodity economy and into a local food economy. We’re talking about everything farmers and landowners can produce on their land—from timber to tomatoes—and how to keep them secure, and out of a boom and bust economy.

Everything we eat has a story behind it. The bread aisle (at the store with the massive parking lot) is a thrill ride. That story starts on stretches of land in places you’ve never been. Its main characters are gene-splicing scientists, patented life forms and huge industrial robots. Fleets of 18-wheelers make epic road trips before the narrative climaxes in the cash register of one mega-corporation or another. By comparison, the story of sustainably raised, locally marketed food is a bucolic tale: a hop from farm to table.

Even farmers who are doing well at farmers markets are uncertain because they are unable to plan ahead. We need a food system that allows farmers to plan their economic year. That would mean farmers signing contracts. A good example: The largest school system in Kentucky is now contracting with some local farmers for produce and meat. The interest in the entrepreneurial aspect of small farms is wonderful and needs to continue, but we’re trying to take it a step further.

Community Supported Agriculture (CSAs), farmers markets, urban gardens, community gardens and school gardens are also all good. The worry, to me, is that all of this is entrepreneurial. Too many CSAs in any given area can make it hard for a farmer to sell enough CSA shares to get by. Our work is to try to get farmers out of a faddish economy.

It’s incredible to me how threatened Big Ag feels. What’s the local food market— like 1 percent? But we have to be ready for how threatened they’re going to be. And we have to be very careful. One of the weaknesses of our movement is bastardized language. If you listen to ads from Wal-Mart and big chain grocery stores, they’ve got our language. They’re talking “local, local, local” and “sustainably raised,” and that’s just bullshit. If the big grocery store claims they’re selling local produce, find out what they’re talking about. And if you can’t, that means they’re lying. You have to educate yourself. You have to be vigilant. It really makes the world more interesting. It’s called living an informed, awake life, and it’s way more interesting than sleepwalking through it.

Mobile Commerce 2013: A Look Back

Chef3Happy New Year!  Time to take a quick look back at the year to see what interested you in the world of mobile commerce courtesy of Mobile Shop Talk.

Info about mobile coupons were at the top of the list, followed by a high degree of interest in the actual activity of shopping. Looking back at the most read columns here, the most popular was about coupons (Mobile Coupons & the Waning Impact of Printed Circulars.) In addition to taking the number one spot, columns relating to mobile coupons (The Rise of SMS Mobile CouponsCoupons & the Gradual Migration to Mobile) comprised three of the four most read stories.  This seems to make sense, since research throughout the year also showed that consumers are consistently attracted to coupons and deals, at the top of most charts of what works in mobile.

While the second most read story related to strategy (The Mobile Strategy Is the Strategy), all of the remaining top 10 related to the actual activity of shopping. There was the piece about mobile compared to online shopping (How People Shop: Mobile vs. PC) and one focused on the new path to purchase being facilitated by mobile (The Mobile Shopping Life Cycle) that drew interest.

Three also was high readership of articles that dealt with what happens before and in the store. One of the most read shopping columns focused on how people research on mobile devices before heading to the store (65% Research Online, Then Head to the Store) closely followed by a column with a similar focus (They Research on Smartphones, Buy on Tablets), although they appeared five months apart.

Two more of the most read columns around shopping dealt with what happens in the store. One detailed the amount of time spent in stores (Shoppers Spend 22 Minutes in Stores; Some Leave in 5 Minutes) while the other dealt with the future value of brick and mortar retailers (Mobile Shoppers & the Hope for Physical Stores).

Our goal is to keep you apprised of the latest mobile commerce developments and trends as the market continues to evolve and mature. I will be curious to see what attracts your interests over the next year.

Top Ten Food Trends

Picture48

Sacramento, self-named as America’s farm-to-fork capital, is ahead of the trend for 2014. Nationwide, chefs are picking up on locally sourced food as the hottest trend for the new year.

The National Restaurant Association’s annual What’s Hot culinary forecast surveys about 1,300 professional chefs to see what the hottest food trend will be. The top trend for 2014 is locally sourced meats and seafood, followed by locally grown produce, and third place went to environmental sustainability.

Sacramento ranks highly in all those areas. And while Sacramento might not be really close to seafood, it is home to some of the most productive sturgeon and catfish farmers. Restaurateurs have been cultivating relationships with local farmers to get whatever is in season delivered from the farm at the peak of ripeness. 

The farm-to-fork concept grew out of regional chefs benefiting for decades from direct access to more than 8,000 acres of boutique farms in a region that boasts some of the highest-value commercial crops in the nation. Much of the produce, rice, fruit, dairy and nuts that supply the nation is grown within 200 miles of Sacramento.

Top Ten Trends

10. Farm or estate-branded items are the No. 10 food trend.

9. Sustainable seafood is the No. 9 food trend.

8. Non-wheat noodles and pasta, such as rice, quinoa or buckwheat, are the No. 8 food trend.

7. Children’s nutrition is the No. 7 food trend.

6. Hyper-local sourcing such as restaurant gardens, is the No. 6 food trend.

5. Gluten-free cuisine is the No. 5 food trend.

4. Healthy kids’ meals are the No. 4 food trend.

3. Environmental sustainability is the No. 3 food trend.

2. Locally grown produce is the No. 2 food trend.

1. Locally sourced meats and seafood are No. 1.

Source:  Sacrament Business Journal

Getting Ready For 2014

garden-wheelAs we move into the late autumn and winter months, we start to think about plans for the new year ahead.  Some farmers grow crops year round, while other enjoy some time off during these upcoming cold months.

My experience with an almond orchard is that this is a time of pruning, and resting the soil as the trees start dormancy.  It is also a time to think about what the next year will bring and how to make it more productive, successful and meaningful.

 

As FarmAppetit starts its second year, I am hopeful we can help the farming community be more successful through technology and bring more awareness to consumers to buy local, fresh products.

Mobile technology is now the preferred vehicle for information gathering, research, location mapping and of course, shopping and will be a critical component in a marketing plan.  FarmAppetit is hopeful we can be a partner to farmers and organizations who support farmers, to help you establish your mobile strategy as we move into 2014.

Over the next month, FarmAppetit will present some marketing strategies to consider – not just mobile – to bring more awareness and ultimately more sales to your businesses. Please download our Mobile Marketing Handbook to get a start on ideas to implement for 2014.

 

 

Alice Waters: “Turn the world around, and to bring it back to its senses”

Excerpt from the Wall Street Journal. Read the whole article on how Alice Waters became the local, organic farmers advocate and is making a huge impact on education.  

Alice Waters“We decided we were going to buy only organic food for the restaurant,” says Waters. “And we were going to pay whatever the farmer needed to be paid.” Carlo Petrini, who founded Slow Food, an international organization dedicated to the growth, promotion and understanding of traditional foodways, credits Waters, now his movement’s international vice president, with changing the way we talk and think about food. “It’s not only related to taste,” he says. “It’s also about environmental sustainability, health and dramatically raising the profile of small-scale farmers, who are now able to have a new and direct relationship with consumers.”  Read On.

What Consumers Expect from their Apps

Shopify_iPhoneIn-app expectation by consumers may be higher than some think, as mobile shoppers look for more app functions before, during and after the purchase.  In a study of mobile app usage in the U.S. and Europe, Utrecht University in the Netherlands looked at mobile customer engagement to see just what customers want from their apps.

The study looked at what personal information app users would be willing to share through a mobile app and found may would share quite a lot. What they would share:

  • 85% — Email
  • 64% — Name
  • 52% — Gender
  • 50% — Nickname
  • 43% — Location
  • 36% — Date of birth
  • 31% — Phone number
  • 12% — Address

 

As in the phases of the Mobile Shopping Life Cycle, the research focused on different stages of the purchase process.  In the intent phase, mobile app users are interested in creating wish lists (58%), though a relatively small number (18%) want to share that list with others. And even though using the app, most consumers (54%) want a link to the company website included in the app.

In the consideration phase, this study found that mobile shoppers are attracted to a deal, which is consistent with other research.  A majority (51%) wants the app to recognize location inside a store and send relevant discounts and even more (80%) want to have apps in their mobile device that would be useful to them when they want to make a choice between the brand’s products.

During the purchase phase, many shoppers are seeking interactivity, even if not looking to apps to make the actual purchase.  Here is what they want, based on the study results:

  • 83% — Text alerts when ordered product is ready for pickup
  • 76% — Check store proximity through mobile app
  • 76% — App to remember personal information
  • 68% — App gives option to write reviews
  • 36% — Use voice-based control to verify identify and make a purchase
  • 33% — Use voice control to fill in personal data during purchase process
  • 28% — Use mobile app to buy product

After the purchase, what the study refers to as the support phase, most consumers (79%) want customer support service through the app and a large number (67%) want the app to provide maintenance tips on products purchased.  Expectations of mobile shoppers continue to rise.

Source: MediaPost

What Mobile Shoppers Want

BasketFreshProductScreenAlthough this research is focused on retail, it also applies to farmers who are selling products direct to consumers.   With a mobile app, product information is available to mobile shoppers with just a tap or two.  A recent study conducted by  Deloitte looked at what consumers want from retailers and found they seek expertise, especially around products.  The top four services desired are:

  • 73% — Product knowledge
  • 71% — Help selecting product
  • 69% — Category knowledge
  • 68% — Find alternatives

Deloitte found  these are the top consumer expectations:

  • 65% — Be knowledgeable about products
  • 62% — Help me check out quickly
  • 54% — Let me know about discounts/offers
  • 35% — Have the ability to match any other retailer’s price

The Deloitte study also found that many (59%) shoppers feel better connected to consumer information, especially around product availability, competitive pricing and other information.

 

 

Marketing Research Chart: Which mobile tactics are most effective?

Mobile EffectivenessChartWhat is the most effective way to engage mobile users?

The world’s gone mobile – 60.7% of the world according to eMarketer. Which leaves the savvy marketer asking, “Which mobile tactics are most effective?” This week, we will explore this topic in the MarketingSherpa Chart of the Week.

With print advertising, you just had to stand out among the articles and other ads in the newspaper. Online advertising raised the bar, forcing you to not just compete with content and advertising, but instant messages and emails as well.

Now with mobile, you have to compete with everything happening in the real world. The fire truck siren down the street. Running into a friend on the sidewalk. The waiter discussing today’s specials.