For today’s small businesses, it would be difficult to overestimate the importance of mobile apps. We’ve known for years that the vast majority of people who search for a local business on a smartphone will end up taking action within the next 24 hours.

And we know that 70 percent of smartphone shoppers will use a store locator on their way to a store. We also now know that mobile traffic is on track to surpass PC traffic in 2014.

In other words, if you’re running a local business and you don’t currently have a strong mobile presence, the time to start creating that presence is now. (Okay, the time was actually a while ago, but now isn’t so bad—as long as you hop to it.)

To appreciate just how valuable your mobile app can be, let’s take a quick look at three local businesses that are doing mobile right.

Agatsu Inc.

Agatsu advertises itself as the company that brought Kettlebell training to Canada. Like most small businesses, Agatsu wanted an app with the ability to send push messages. A push message allows businesses to stay on their customers’ radars by sending updates directly to their smartphones or tablets. The messages appear just as a text message alert might, allowing customers to immediately hear Agatsu’s latest news.

The app began to pay dividends as soon as it launched. According to the developer, 1,300 users downloaded the app during the first month it was available. Email marketing is nice, and word of mouth is powerful—but, as Agatsu discovered, the ability to communicate with lots of customers in real time opens a world of possibilities.

agatsu blog

Zen Fusion

This Charlotte-based Asian fusion restaurant took a major step forward by creating a mobile app so successful that other local restaurants opted to start using it, too. The app, called NexTable, lets customers make reservations and find out how long the wait is for walk-ins. It even gives people with long waits an incentive to stay. For instance, a customer with a 45-minute wait might get a text message offering a half-priced glass of wine.

Zen Fusion’s creative app is helping restaurants maximize their earning potential by catching a lot of money that may otherwise have fallen through the cracks. Phong Luong, co-owner and founder of Zen Fusion and NexTable, said that one of the restaurants using the app estimated an increase in revenue of $110,000 annually, because it lost far fewer customers due to long wait times.


MUVE Magazine

Forward-looking publishers understand that you need a great app in order to thrive in the mobile age. Today, people are as likely to get their reading done standing in line at the bank as they are while sitting at home on the couch. And while some local publishers have taken their time in launching an app, Oklahoma City’s MUVE Magazine has gone ahead and released an app that demonstrates how a local publication can do mobile right. The Conduit Mobile-powered MUVE Mag App includes everything from a feed of breaking news to event listings to an embedded music player that allows MUVE to feature the songs of great local artists. There’s even a Nightlife Photos section where users can share images of their wild nights on the town.

“I’ve learned that access equates to growth,” said MUVE Magazine founder Andre LaMont, noting that MUVE has witnessed “tremendous growth” in its readership, downloads, and impressions.


Three of Many

Agatsu, Zen Fusion, and Muve Magazine are three very different businesses operating in very different settings. What they have in common is that they are local businesses that are successfully using mobile apps to reach customers. They are just three of the countless businesses that have realized the importance of having an effective mobile presence.

If you’re still not convinced of the power of mobile, check out the numbers on this infographic. They’re a mind-boggling reminder of what these three businesses show: The days when you could afford to ignore mobile are long gone.

How is your business going mobile? Tell us your success stories via Twitter @ConduitMobile

This post was contributed to The Conduit Mobile Blog by guest blogger Mason Lerner. Mason is a freelance business journalist in Austin, TX.