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How Apps Can Boost Small Businesses SEO

Sure, major movie theaters and chain stores need an app for their customers—but, you small business owners may be asking, what use would I have for that?

Plenty. You would have plenty of use for something like that.

No matter how small or localized your business is, you at least need an app that launches your business’ website on a smartphone. The internet works differently on phones, and your customers will love you for making it easy to navigate your site from their phone—hopefully on their way to you.

But you may need more; yes, you. To prove it, here are 5 types of small businesses that you wouldn’t think need their own app but absolutely do.

The Coffee Shop/Bakery

You know the one I mean; it’s no Starbucks, but it’s the place you go when you want to bring in donuts/bagels/cupcakes that will impress your coworkers. And when I say impress, I mean they’ll love you forever because those lovely baked goods beneath the thin cardboard are delicious!

These kinds of shops have become very popular in recent years, especially with the rise of shops like Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland and the spreading of Sprinkles Cupcakes across the country. But you probably wouldn’t trade a local location of either of these renowned establishments for even one of their signature cinnamon-raisin bagels or red velvet cake donuts.

The coffee shop and bakery in any town, well-beloved by citizens of the area, needs an app for the mobile version of their site, as well as an app for coupons and promotions. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a featured flavors app to let customers know if their favorite thing is for sale today.

The Floral Shop

It’s the little shop where every man in town goes on Valentine’s day, Birthdays, Anniversaries, and the days when “I’m Sorry” requires some help saying. This is the place you won’t get the same-old-same-old Florist’s Transworld Delivery or Teleflora designs. Depending on where you live, they may even employ local college students taking floral design classes, with the knowledge to back up their innovative design techniques.

Floral and other special-order shops, in addition to the mobile site app, should have an app that expedites online order-placing. Customers should be able to request a type of special bouquet, 1-3 dozen red roses, or just be on the list to be called first thing in the morning to have their order taken by a florist.

The Sushi Bar or Other Hidden Gem

I call this one the sushi bar for a reason. My sister lives out in Utah, and there’s this little sushi place we always go to; it’s not downtown or glamorous, in fact it’s tucked away in a strip-mall next to a Petsmart.

And they have the most affordable, divine Playboy rolls you will ever eat.

Places like this are absolute gems; the products or services are reasonably priced, especially considering the quality. Their best advertising is done by word-of-mouth, because non-initiates usually wouldn’t believe the place you’ve been talking about with the most fantastic Miso soup is “that place?”

Places like these need an app to keep initiates loyal; mobile website, coupons and promotions, online ordering if they do takeaway, and a notifications app for sudden unscheduled closures. For example, that little sushi place my sister and I go to when I visit? One weekend it was unexpectedly closed for a power outage—and we weren’t the only unhappy would-be customers in sight. If they’d had a notification system on the app, this wouldn’t have been a problem.

The Local Independent Bookstore

They’ve got the nice editions, the old editions, the rare old finds of books. Maybe they’ll have the copy you want, maybe they’ll have something you never knew existed. These are the shops you come back to partially to support local businesses, partially because you like the old book smell, partially because there are memories attached. I’ll never forget the shop where my Dad bought me my copy of Gone With the Wind.

This needs an app for the same reasons as the others, but it would also be fantastic if your favorite little bookstore had an app that could help you place the book you wanted on hold, ready to be picked up as soon as they had it in stock.

The Local Repair Shop/Garage

It’s the local guys you trust running this shop—behind the grease and the jumpers are men you trust to fix whatever in your car is making the funny noise/smell/rumble. Good, honest, hardworking people operate this repair shop. And you’d recommend them to anyone with engine trouble.

The best part of small business mobile apps for this place? Two words: wait time. It’s not an emergency room, but the wait to get your car fixed is annoying, and sometimes the time it will take is crucial! And hey, coupons, appointment scheduling, and a mobile site certainly won’t hurt!

Nina Hiatt researches and writes articles to help people find balance and beauty in their personal space. In her free time, Nina blogs about many of her interests, which include gardening, technology news, and baking.