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Are You Thinking Mobile for Your Business?

January 21, 2011

By Cara Brooke Schultz

Let me answer that question for you, "you should be thinking mobile" and here's why. Just this week Starbucks announced that iPhone and Blackberry owners can pay for their purchases via an app. The app works just like the Starbucks card—it will display a barcode and the barista can scan this barcode from your mobile device to pay for your purchase. You cannot pay with a credit card via the app, instead you need to manage the balance of your Starbucks card by adding funds from a credit card online.  
 
Another retailer thinking mobile: Target. Target made life a little simpler with their app—the mobile gift card program. How many times have you forgotten the gift card at home that Aunt Sue gave you for your birthday? Now you no longer need to grab that extra piece of plastic before walking out the door. The app allows you to turn your gift card into a digital barcode on your cell phone (just don't leave home without your cell).
 
Retailers aren't the only ones showing mobile some love. Online auction mogul, eBay says that "nearly $2 billion" in merchandise transactions took place via mobile devices. The eBay app not only allows you to buy and sell items on eBay, but now you can scan a bar code of an item in a retail store to see how much you can buy it for on eBay.
 
Can your business benefit from creating an app for smart phones? Of course it depends on your business model, but it seems mobile is the wave of the future!

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