Commentary

Little Things & the Road to Commerce

Sometimes it’s the simple, little things that influence commerce.

A study out this week took a look at gas and convenience store purchases and found that almost half (49%) of smartphone users search using apps exclusively.

No surprise, comparison apps like GasBuddy are the most commonly used among the majority of mobile searchers with price and location being the key factors, according to the study by Nielsen.

The searches also lead to results, with most (69%) making a purchase because of price or location.

GasBuddy, one of my personal favorite apps, has been providing the information about prices at local gas stations for years.

The company was founded in Minnesota more than a dozen years ago as a collection of websites to give people a way to find and share gas-pricing information by entering zip codes.

Along came mobile, the service moved to an app and usage exploded.

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Every time I present at conferences, I ask attendees how many use GasBuddy and invariably it’s a large percentage of the audience.

This isn’t because GasBuddy spent millions of dollars advertising or promoting their app. The company simply created high value at the very local and personal level. A driver using the app gets instant value in locating the lowest price gas based on where they are at the time.

No big deal, just a good, small deal.

For such a value, more than six million motorists routinely enter gas prices at their local stations, increasing the value to their neighbors.

Outside the U.S., especially in Latin America, the free international calling app Viber provides high value also at the individual and personal level. No big deal, just huge savings on every international phone call.

Small, on-the-fly mobile aides like GasBuddy can provide a little value in the course of everyday life.

And sometimes it’s the little things that really count.

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