If you don’t have a mobile app in today’s ever expanding digital universe, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity, even – dare one say – a modern business necessity. Research shows that mobile users spend 90% of their mobile online time on mobile apps rather than the mobile web. Yes, there are thousands of apps competing for attention, but in order to grow as a business, you have to use all available channels to reach your target audience. If done well, the results can generate income, brand recognition and brand loyalty amongst many other benefits. Small businesses need to ensure they have clear aims about what their mobile app purpose is, in order to make it a wise investment. However, there are some key compelling reasons why small businesses should consider investing in a mobile app. If you are considering building an app, keep in mind that apps for Android and iOS are built on different technologies, and that apps for iPhone may need adjustment for the iPad.
Here are our top 7 reasons to implement a mobile app for your small business today:
1. It’s not as expensive as you might think
For most small businesses, the bottom line is the biggest single guiding influence on your business decisions. No matter how far you want to expand, it’s got to be a good investment, and cash flow is king. The costs of custom web development can be high, and if you don’t have the technical know-how yourself, a mobile app may seem out of your budget. The good news is that there are several excellent DIY software development kits out there that can allow you to create a mobile app yourself, even if you are a complete beginner. Check out Buildfire for a fast, easy-to-use and affordable way to create your own professional-looking app. If you have more technical skills, GoodBarber might be a good choice. Businesses are looking at long term return on investment by creating systems such as in-app payments or bookings as they reduce the amount of time their staff needs to spend on customer service activities such as fulfilling orders, taking payments or completing bookings.
2. They’re not just for retailers
Sixty-nine percent of millennials buy products on their smartphones, compared to fifty-three percent of Gen Xers and sixteen percent of baby boomers. While retailers have every reason to build a mobile app, the functionality possible on mobile app is wide and varied that there is a huge opportunity for other industries to want to create a mobile app. Apps can be used for a diverse range of activities: from logging exercise and nutrition, to providing vouchers, taking orders, showing videos, sending newsletters, or creating a forum. They can even be used by a company’s internal sales staff for B2B sales- imagine trying to make that sale by pulling up your company’s app on a tablet and showcasing your product or service. Does it get better than that?
3. Marketing power
Mobile apps provide a powerful source of direct marketing. We pay far more attention to our smartphones than to our laptops, with some reports suggesting we spend up to nearly 3 hours a day on them. Once your app is downloaded, your brand is right there in front of your consumer, without the need for them to even search for you. Every time they open their smartphone. Push notifications enable you to market directly, no matter the customer’s location to a hot lead. Research suggests 30 to 60 percent of users open push notifications and about 40 percent interact with the app immediately following the notification. Couple your app’s engaging content with calls to action on every screen and you have a hard working marketing machine in your customers’ palms. As wearable technology is on the rise too, investment in an app could see your marketing reach a whole new level – with customers becoming very selective about not wasting time on browsing and returning more and more to the apps and stores they love.
4. Improve customer engagement
Small businesses are now beginning to capitalize on the consumer and business appetite for engagement. Customers are highly interactive with the brands and businesses they love, as proven by the massive rise in engagement where good content is available. That’s why so many businesses are building engaging apps, providing entertainment, information, high quality blogs, videos as well as a more intuitive and streamlined purchase experience. What’s great in this situation is that your marketing and engagement efforts are being directed precisely at the audience you want to see it – those that are already interested enough that they downloaded your app – and not wasting budget on advertising that may or may not peak interest.
5. Build a community
Many local businesses find apps are a great way to build a local community following. By providing a place for local people to discuss relevant local issues or shared interests, the result could be an increase in customer engagement and a surge in local customer loyalty. The additional benefits include being able to build brand recognition, brand loyalty and creating perceived value, and being able to market specifically to an already-interested user base.
6. Stand out from your competition
Apps are still mainly built by large businesses. Small businesses who operate purely online may find it hard to engage a local audience. Building an app for your local business is a great way of standing out from your local competitors and is a key differentiator. Mobile apps for your small business allow you to showcase your products, build a base of loyal local customers and provide an experience few of your local competitors are likely providing. Whether you are a bricks-and-mortar or an online business, if you are a small business, it’s easy for your message to get lost amongst all the advertising from larger competitors and it can be difficult to remain competitively priced against their pricing. Having a mobile app empowers your business to be in front of the right people all the time, as your app can now appear on their desktop, laptop, iPhone and/or android device, tablet and even smart TV. Who wants to see plumbers in Dublin, if you are based in Cork? Brush up on your app marketing and install advertising techniques to ensure your app is reaching your unique audience.
7. Provide value to your customers
Many small businesses create apps to provide additional value to their customers by providing services that are not their primary business model or revenue stream, but which are so useful they encourage customers to trust their brand and avail of their primary product or service too. This ‘sticky loyalty’ is easy to achieve if your customer perceives great value from the additional (and often free) services you provide. Tie this in with a subscription or as a free add-on to your primary product and you’re providing added value to customers and a unique selling point that will definitely set you apart. We provide a valuable mobile invoicing solution to our customers that allow users to create and send invoices on the go from their smartphone, wherever they may be.