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9 Small Business Trends for 2012

5. Be mobile.
With consumers carrying their Apple (AAPL - Get Report) iPhones and iPads with them everywhere, if it's not already obvious, mobile commerce represents a huge opportunity for businesses small and large.

One only has to look at how consumers used their smartphones and devices during the Thanksgiving weekend shopping kick-off to realize how much they rely on their mobile devices for information and to make purchases.

According to a snapshot survey taken by Tealeaf after the Thanksgiving shopping rush, Twitter conversations about mobile shopping with the top 35 mobile retailers increased by 217%, on average, on Black Friday.

Yet consumers expressed frustration with their mobile shopping experiences.

About 41% complained about the inability to "complete transactions, poor search functionality, inconsistencies between the online and mobile channels and other types of customer struggle," the survey said.

That means an opportunity for businesses that do it right.

"Consumers are really looking for more," Betsy Demarchi, director of strategy at Resource Interactive, a digital marketing company, said last month.

"When people are in the store and they're trying to decide on an item they might leave to go look at ratings and reviews on Amazon (AMZN - Get Report)," or even make a purchase there, she says. "We can bring that content into the store [by] facilitating the decision-making in the store, but also enhancing that with some additional content that can help her or him understand 'Is this the right product for me?'"
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