SINGAPORE--Companies in Asia are not doing enough to invest in and leverage the growing mobility of consumers, which presents tremendous opportunities especially for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs).
According to Karim Temsamani, president for Google Asia-Pacific, while companies have been putting more content on the Web, not enough have been tailoring content for mobile consumption. For example, he found many of Google's large clients did not have mobile-optimized sites.
"Everyone needs to understand that consumers have fled to mobile devices. If you are a small business, not only is it your opportunity, but the capability of these devices are giving you a great business advantage," said Temsamani at a media briefing here Wednesday.
Companies need to put their assets on the Web to make it easy for people to find both in terms of desktop and mobile devices, said the Google executive.
Thus, it is critical for SMBs to have a strong presence on mobile, said Temsamani, referring to the shift in Internet consumption patterns toward mobile--a trend supported by internal data. "Last year in the whole of India, there was more traffic from mobile searches than desktops," he said.
He added since 2011, Google has been seeing more traffic on its mobile maps service than the desktop version globally. That same year, he said mobile traffic on its video-sharing site YouTube outgrew desktop access in South Korea, and then similarly in Japan a year later.
Echoing his views, Vivek Prahbakar, CEO of souvenir retailer Chumbak, said mobile traffic made up 15 percent just three months ago, but it has since grown to over 30 percent. Speaking on the sidelines of the event, the CEO of the India-based SMB said plans are underway to beef up his company's site for mobile users.
Build social media presence
According to Temsamani, SMBs should also build a presence on social media which helps drive "social webbing"-- an activity where people who know each other can offer recommendations, or see where their friends have visited.
Asked if Google+ has gained traction in Asia and can be used as a platform for social webbing, he said he was "delighted with the progress" of the social networking service in the region but did not delve into details. "Again it is one of those areas that enable SMBs to be accessible to anyone online, for them to be found," he added.
Another area which SMBs should leverage in the mobile space was location-based marketing, pointed out Temsamani. This allowed them to gain a competitive advantage by offering more targeted services, allowing businesses to be more cost-efficient with their marketing dollars.
For example, customers can be pushed different type of messages depending on their vicinity to a relevant store in order to draw them in, which can also be dynamic depending on the store's opening hours, he said.