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The new age of ‘go mobile or perish’ has put immense pressure on businesses to develop their own custom mobile apps, but how does a business know they’re really ready?
While custom mobile apps are all the rage, if a business isn’t ready to take the leap, this sometimes costly and time consuming activity could end up being a waste of resources.
In fact, for some businesses, ensuring their website is mobile responsive is the only thing they need to do to serve their customers well; however, if you answer yes to any of the following questions, this is a sign that a mobile app could be highly advantageous to your company:
1. Is there something you want to do for your clients that a mobile website won’t let you?
There are several things apps can do that mobile websites simply can’t – including push notifications, location-based navigational elements and accessing tools. Let’s explore the benefits of each:
- Push Notifications: This is perhaps one of the most important and favourable features of a custom app. What do you take when you leave the house? I grab my keys, wallet and phone. Mobile phones are undoubtedly up there with things we carry around with us wherever we go – this makes push notifications a valuable engaging tool for businesses who want to stay connected to their customers. Unlike websites which need to be searched for in order to see the latest deals, push notifications can be pushed straight to a mobile phone’s screen, just like a text message notification. Here are some key benefits:
- Opt-in & Out Feature: With the control of push notifications frequency and preferences in the users hands, they’re able to customise how often they hear from you. As a customer has actively spent time downloading your app, it’s likely they won’t opt out completely, and when used right, apps and their notifications keep the users connected, not annoyed.
- Traffic Increase: Push notifications are an interactive tool. Not only will your app be able to send push notifications to keep users reminded of your message or current deals, they can be set geographically, meaning you can send a push notifications dependant sales or topics relevant to where your customer is at a certain time.
- Demographic Insights: Apps are greatly helpful in teaching you what appeals to your target audience. With an analytics tracking system for messages, interaction times, devices and platforms, push notifications let you exercise best in practice based on real-world results.
- Effective Marketing: As push notifications are easy to use and manage, it makes them a simple, targeted, friendly and relevant form of marketing for businesses to engage with their users (source).
Uber partnered with a healthcare provider in the US to help patients get to their appointments on time. Uber’s push notifications are a necessity to their services, and something mobile responsive websites simply couldn’t do for them (source).
- Location Based Navigational Elements: Integrating geographical technology in mobile apps has changed the way businesses serve their clients and market to their target demographic. This location-based engagement makes way for targeted interactions and greater customer satisfaction. Here are some specific benefits:
- Reaching the Right People: With businesses able to target users in specific locations, their marketing efforts are able to be far more concise based on deals / events happening in certain areas. This one’s all about targeting the right people in the right place.
- Rewarding Loyal Customers: You can send a special discount or offering to customers close by as a thank you for their business, or as a way to get them to become a loyal customer. And you can even reward customers who are far away by sending them an online discount or coupon. Think about this as converting impulses to sales.
- Develop Greater Visibility and Brand Awareness: Targeting customers in specific locations helps to reinforce your presence and is a good tool in reminding clients that you’re there! This puts you in the forefront of their minds and gives them a reason to spread awareness to people in their circle.
- Custom Features: Geographical location allows you to deliver a unique experience to your users. For example, a camping company might use a customers geographical location to send push notifications showing the best camping sites near-by. This makes you memorable, and reinforces your business as a value driver.
- Accessing data or device tools: Some apps require access to things like calendars, cameras, flashlights, photos, microphones etc. Depending on your business offerings and goals, having this ability to serve your consumers is a huge plus!
2. Would your customers benefits from offline access?
Apps have the advantage of being available without requiring access to the internet, ensuring they’re functional even in situations where there is simply no access to a wireless connection. This is essential in giving a better experience to users, and can even be the key reason they make the move to download your app. Would your customers benefit from offline access to your content, shopping, the profiles they have stored on your app, tools you offer through your app, etc.? Here’s are some key traits of customers who might benefit from an app available offline:
- Customers using your app for travelling resources, such as directions to a remote camping location, or a travelling itinerary.
- Impatient people who don’t want to rely on strong internet connections to reap fast and reliable apps.
- Consumers based in regional and rural locations would highly benefit from offline apps as their connections are often poor. If this is a target demographic of yours, an app available offline would be highly sort after.
- If your app is concise and only offers a few key features, offline accessibility will be fairly easy to achieve and deploy to customers, meaning they’ll be able to access every feature within your app, regardless of their internet connection.
- Those who want to be able to consume content such as music, blogs, podcasts, ebooks, or videos in offline situations such as in-transit. Spotify is a basic example of an ideal app being accessible offline, aside from how much internet streaming for long periods would take up, think about connectivity issues with highway driving too. Offline access makes sense here.
3. Can you see a gap in the market that you app could fill?
There are over 6.5 million apps on the market (source), so with such a staggering amount of resources available to consumers, it’s important to think about what your app idea could do, that another one can’t. Why would it be beneficial for your company to spend time and money building one, where does the opportunity lie? There are three really simple things you can do to see if there’s a potential gap that gets your foot in the door:
- Search for an app that does what you’re thinking about offering. Is there another company that offers a replica of what you want to do with an app? If so, pursuing an app is probably not worth your time or money.
- Ask your existing customers! Turning to your clients, the very people who you would expect to use your app, may be your best source of gaging your apps success. By asking your existing clients for their feedback on your idea, you’ll see whether or not your idea is appealing to your target audience.
- Ask an expert. Yes it’s probably obvious, but seeking advice from a company who deals with building business apps is hugely helpful in getting an insight into what’s already available, the viability of your ideas, and the potential success of your custom app.
4. Would your app be ideal for regular usage?
Unless your app idea is set to provide regular usage and engagement, most consumers are likely to delete the app within little time, to free up space on their devices. You want an app that will do more than what typing a URL into a browser would do for your customer. Apps should promote the click and go culture, initiate return visitors and deliver an experience unlike that of a mobile friendly website. As with any investment, it’s important to think about what your business app is capable of in terms of return on investment. There’s no sense in creating an app that doesn’t promote usage.
The question of whether or not you need a business app is completely subject to your business, app idea, and customers. Of course in an ideal world, all businesses would have both a mobile friendly website, and an accompanying business app, but the important things to consider are location, usability, functionality and the audience you serve. The need to know basis is extremely important too – you might have a great idea, but is your target demographic the type that would seek to download your app and actively use it?
There are also different types of custom apps that businesses can take advantage of, including getting a custom app built to help create more efficiency in your internal business operations.
We build custom mobile and business apps, and always provide honest feedback and insights to ideas put forward. If you want to know whether your idea is viable, get in touch with us through the form below for a free consultation.