Is It Worth It To Build a Mobile App For Your Small Business?
We’ve been living in a mobile era for years now. And in 2016, the inevitable happened – mobile browsing has finally exceeded desktop. Mobile traffic is only going to grow in the years to come, and some stats are borderline incredible already. Namely, U.S. consumers spend as much as five hours of their average day on mobile devices. A stunning 92 percent of this time they devote to apps, with only 8 percent of it spent in actual browsers.
Does this mean that you should build a mobile app for your small business? While online presence in some form is a must, and good mobile experience is highly recommended, you may be unsure about developing a separate app. An average smartphone user has around 80 apps installed, which basically means there’s 80 empty slots per user and you need to fight for one of these slots. And while this may seem like a large number, just think about all the brands you need to compete with here. So is it worth it? In order to answer this question, let’s take a look at the potential benefits you can gain from your own mobile app.
Having an app provides you with a very convenient groundwork for organizing and implementing loyalty programs and contests. The great thing about these programs is that they basically keep your customers engaged all the time as they feel like they participate in a kind of a competition. Furthermore, once they get involved they will start feeling as if they already invested something and will be less eager to buy from a competing brand. If you can make your customers experience a sense of achievement every time they collect the points or unlock a bonus, it’ll be much easier to keep them.
Push notifications and reminders
One of the great advantages of having a mobile app for your business is the possibility of sending users push notifications. Obviously, only the most loyal of your customer will have them turned on, but it’s still a very convenient way to inform them about your new product or special offer. The same moment you introduce an offer, your most faithful customers will know about it. Push notifications are very effective. Their open rate is 30-60 percent, and the interaction rate stands at 4-10 percent, which means your brand becomes much more visible to everyone who chooses to allow you to send them this sort of reminders.
Depending on the type of your business, your customers might be obligated to make appointments in advance. A lot of them will choose to do it online if possible. More and more people hate making phone calls and would rather avoid talking to a person in order to arrange an appointment or a meeting. Of course, you can use your website for this purpose as well, but with an app it’s easier to provide top-class and personalized user experience when it comes to scheduling. It leaves you with more room for customization and for making the whole process really user-friendly.
As it was just mentioned, apps are very convenient when it comes to providing a truly personalized experience. This includes some much more original tricks than app merely addressing the user by the first name. You can use recommendations to persuade them to check some fresh info, features and products based on their previous buying habits and actions in general. This in turn will make them more inclined to roam through your app and your products, and even convert in the end. Remember, you’re providing them with the knowledge or suggestions that are not just useful for any customer, but exactly for them. In addition, this benefits your business as a whole, since you get to know your users and customers much better.
Focusing your customers’ attention
Using social media to promote your business and boost your sales has become a must, but there’s downsides to this strategy. When scrolling through social networks, people are easily distracted, since they’re flooded with an enormous amount of info coming from their friends and other brands. It’s very easy to miss your post or simply not pay any attention to it whatsoever. Once someone downloads and starts using your app, they’re focusing their full attention on your company and your offers. This is the time they devote entirely to your brand and you should take full advantage of this.
Overall brand image
All the mentioned advantages are beneficial in themselves, but they also serve another purpose. Building an app is a great branding move as well. It opens a lot of new opportunities for boosting your online appearance and rounding off a complete business image. Offering innovative features, benefits and additional services through your app can make the word about your company spread rapidly. Make sure you have your copy well-written and your design spot on. Check what the latest app designs look like, pick up some tricks and try to make clever use of them.
Back to you
At the end of the day, the choice is yours. Whether the benefits listed in this article are enough to convince you to build an app depends on the type and size of your company, as well as your overall business goals. Here, one size doesn’t fit all. If you believe an app can help your brand, make sure to be patient with publishing it and perform some proper testing beforehand. Analyze the feedback, check which features are popular and which are obviously disfavored, and then act accordingly.
And if it turns out it simply doesn’t work, don’t go for it at all costs. An average smartphone user stops using around 80 percent of apps just three months after they install them. There’s no room for everyone out there. If you start realizing it’s just not going to do any good for you, sometimes it’s better to let it go than invest more money in business ideas that were simply destined to fail.
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CEO and co-founder at Cloudsmallbusinessservice.com