It is a truth, universally acknowledged, that all savvy businesses must be in want of an app – right?
All sorts of businesses, from banks, to retailers, to agricultural suppliers have all embraced the age of the app – and there’s a pretty good reason they’re doing so.
Not all businesses need an app of course, so it’s important you answer a couple of crucial questions before diving head-long into the app development process.
Why would I consider getting an app?
1. They provide better mobile experiences for customers
Let’s face it, using your phone’s browser to go to an actual website can be pretty painful, with plenty of pinching and scrolling needed to find the information you want.
An app (if designed well) retains all the functionality of a website while being designed for a mobile experience – and that leads to a happier customer.
2. People are on mobiles – a lot
By having something which arrives on a person’s phone, you increase engagement with the brand beyond needing the customer to sit on a desktop computer.
Think about apps which push tips and information to a mobile device, such as a news app.
If the app (and brand) is already there on the customer’s phone, then they end up seeing it every day when they unlock their phones.
3. You can remain top of mind with push notifications
There’s definitely an art to not spamming your customers, but you can harness a phone’s push notification system to remain top of mind for your customer.
If you have information your customer may find useful, or a special offer you wish to convey – why not use a push notification to make sure your customer is all over it?
If the information or offer is relevant, it works a treat. If it’s not, it becomes annoying.
Is an app even right for my business?
An app is great for businesses which take a lot of online orders.
If you then have the data to prove that your customers are ordering on mobile, then an app will help simplify the sales process — hopefully leading to increased sales.
For example, one business which sold farming supplies developed an app which allowed farmers to re-order time and again without having to trawl through the website to look for every single item again and again.
The app was able to collate purchasing history to make the process of re-ordering easy, and anything which makes getting a product to customers easier is a good thing.
They were also able to use the app to provide sale yard price and weather information to the customer – meaning the app became a bit of a one-stop shop for farmers.
Meanwhile, businesses that take online bookings from a variety of sources such as health services may use an app linked to their existing booking software.
This enables customer to book or cancel appointments on mobile devices and purchase services on the go.
OK, I want an app for my business – how do I get one?
There are three main ways that businesses develop apps for their business.
The first is to get a custom-built app through a developer.
This would be tailored to your specific needs with the functions, look and feel that you want. It’s a bit like building a website from scratch only for a mobile device.
Secondly, there are apps developed for certain industries such as mortgage brokers or health which are essentially ‘white labelled’ – meaning that for a fee you can license the app, give it a lick of digital paint to have it reflect your branding.
Finally, your business may already been using proprietary software that actually has an app option built in.
For example, many fitness and appointment-related businesses use apps linked to booking software to make things convenient for customers – it’s just a matter of seeing what the booking software has included to see whether its app option fits your needs.