But the real question you have to ask yourself, is a mobile app right for your business?
We’ll start by saying that not all businesses will benefit from a mobile app in the same way that they can a well designed website. There is a lot of hype surrounding mobile apps at the moment and many businesses are jumping on the bandwagon.
There are definite benefits to an app for certain kinds of business and this blog should help you understand if you come under this category or not.
Do your customers use mobile devices?
Lets face it, most people now use mobile devices, and the number is rapidly growing. It’s important to think about your target market and determine whether they would use an app or not. Most young people for example use apps all the time and engage well on these. 48% of all internet searches start from a mobile device.
Can your app provide functionality over a mobile responsive website?
If it’s easier for people to just open a browser and visit your website, then this is what they will do. Imagine if you downloaded an app for every single company you came into contact with on a day-to-day basis. You would not only run out of space on your device, the constant updates and notifications would no doubt become annoying. An app needs to be easier to use or have better functionality than your website to make it a success. Often an app will be used as a single click shortcut on the users smart phone, rather than opening a browser and typing in the web address. In a rush situation, your regular users will always opt for the ease of access of a mobile app.
Can an app aide in pulling repeat customers back into your business?
Many companies seem to be jumping on the app hype-train recently and often with good reason. You only need to look at the stats to find out why. The 2 biggest app market places – Apples App Store and Google’s Play Store – have achieved over 21 billion app downloads in less than 3 years. There’s no doubt that being visible on these enormous market places can help new customers discover you and aide in pulling repeat customers back into your business.
So what kinds of functions can an app provide that wont be available through your website?
Shop or Booking form
While it’s true that it is possible to set up a mobile responsive online shop, some businesses have great success in providing this function through an app also. An app may be able to run more smoothly and present the information more clearly than a website. There is also the added convenience, especially if they are likely to make an order more than once, an app can remember their details, track orders, and provide notification updates too.
If you have a regular repeat customer base, then an app based loyalty card will be extremely convenient for keeping track of rewards. Many people like the convenience of carrying their loyalty card on their smartphone rather than in their wallet. You can also offer special discounts and offers through the app that can be “unlocked” based in your criteria and location check-ins.
You can create viral buzz and get people talking about you quickly by using built in sharing capabilities with Facebook, Twitter and Email. Users will be able to share information about events and offers through their social media to tip off friends and family easily. And an in-built events calendar can make sure users never miss out.
Access to native device features.
When you download an app, you will notice the list of permissions you have to agree to before it installs. This is because an app can get access to functions on the phone that a website cant, such as the camera, GPS, gyroscope, or accelerometer. If you want customers to be able to easily take and upload photos to you or quickly get directions to their nearest store then an app is definitely what you need.
It’s rare that someone is going to download an app just for the push notifications, unless that information is extremely valuable to them. However, when paired with another function, push notifications can be a powerful marketing tool. You can keep customers up to date with any information you want – be it offers and sales, a new product or promotion, they are guaranteed to see it the next time they look at their device.