NEW YORK (
) -- What's happening in small business today?
1. Do consumers actually shop with their smartphones?
Um, yes -- $25 billion was spent via phones and tablets last year, up 81% from the year before, according to a survey cited in the
New York Times
True, that's just 11% of total e-commerce sales, but it's a growing percentage. Mobile commerce is expected to reach 15% of total e-commerce sales this year, and
, the company that conducted the survey, "predicts that by 2016, mobile will be $87 billion, or a quarter of all e-commerce," the article says.
Mobile shoppers are also spending a surprising amount, eMarketer says -- purchases average $329 per order on tablets and $250 when on phones.
This is significant given the process' many challenges, including small screens that complicate viewing and typing.
"Many mobile storefronts have problems that make buying difficult," says Clark Fredricksen, vice president of communications at eMarketer. "Even though sessions often start on smartphones, in the end consumers end up turning to computers or retail stores or even a tablet to seal the deal."
2. A Texas start-up is taking on big players in the lighting industry.
has created an energy-efficient light bulb that provides not only white light, but hues of multiple colors -- all controlled wirelessly through a smartphone. The Plano, Texas, start-up is taking on the competitive lighting market dominated by such large players as
(GE - Get Report)
(PHG - Get Report)
, according to
The Dallas Morning News
"Our focus is on making a simple, easy-to-use and engaging product that is going to give people an amazing experience with their lighting," iLumi chief executive and co-founder Corey Egan tells the paper.
Even more interesting, the company is selling its iLumi light bulbs via a crowdfunding Web portal,
, hoping to raise $1 million in seed money
It is not easy to enter the LED market; production and packaging is expensive. But LEDs are expected to dominate the market by 2020, the article says.
3. Hire smarter in 2013.
If you're ready to add to your team, Rieva Lesonsky writes in
Small Business Trends
, take note of these tips to recruit the right candidates and waste minimal time with employees that don't suit your needs.
First, make sure you target your recruiting. Instead of posting on a big, general-interest job site, home in on the job search sites most relevant to your industry and your hiring needs.
Try using social media to find job candidates. Lesonsky recommends using
(LNKD - Get Report)
, particularly the LinkedIn groups, for networking and finding qualified employees.
Don't forget to maximize your own website for job posting, with a "meaty 'About' section" and a tab with job opportunities and information about working at your company. Finally, enlist your own employees (if they are reliable) to recommend someone for the job. Ask them to spread the word and sweeten the pot with a finder's fee if someone recommends a candidate who gets hired and completes a 90-day probation period, Lesonsky writes.
-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.
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