Mobile app development is big business in the business world. Nowadays, it’s tough to name a reputable company that doesn’t have an extensive app covering their services and products.
From high-street banks to your favourite chain restaurants, any brand worth recognising can be found on at least one of the numerous app platforms available to mobile and tablet users.
Yet, despite being adopted by the major players in the business, most SMEs still remain stragglers in the digital arms race. Great swathes of smaller enterprises have yet to take advantage of the app revolution — and this could cost them dearly.
Apps are an intrinsic part of the digital lifestyle, embedded as deep in our modern culture as social media and gratuitous memes. Making a business app is becoming about as important as making a website. Failure to invest in the process could leave your company struggling in the near future.
Increasing Customer Engagement is All About App Visibility
For a small business, strong consumer engagement is essential. To attract and maintain a customer base, you need to be offering exactly what they are looking for. Making a business app will help you do this.
It’s Where Customers Spend Their Time
App use has become part of the daily ritual for many of us. The average usage times vary depending on which study you choose to believe, but most seem to put figures in the region of 3-4 hours per day. That’s nearly a quarter of our waking hours spent on our phones. Of that time, 85% of it is spent on apps.
Apps are where your customers are. It is where they spend their time. Of course, they won’t spend those four hours just on your app, but making a business app means your brand has the potential to be seen and experienced during that time. Without an app, you aren’t getting any of that attention.
It’s Where Customers Like to Be
The average customer spends so much time on apps simply because they prefer them to mobile websites. More than eight out of ten people claim to enjoy the experience more than a mobile website, drawing them towards apps and away from browsers. Apps are more accessible, often easier to use and have increased functionality that customers crave.
The most successful businesses give the customers what they want — and what they want right now are mobile apps.
It is Where Your Customers Are Spending Money
54% of purchases are now made online; a number that is increasing year on year. The online shop is king now and it looks set to stay that way. To keep your business afloat, you need to be making sales online, especially if you operate in eCommerce.
Now, consider that 85% of time spent on a mobile is within an app — and that the same percentage of people prefer to browse them than a website — and you start to put together a picture of a customer that is geared towards making purchases through apps.
Making a business app not only puts you in front of customers, but it maximises your potential for sales and increased revenue. Investing in the creation of a high-quality application is likely to result in a rise in profitability.
Making a Business App is Crucial to Remaining Competitive
It’s not just customers you are trying to draw in through building an app. It’s also about staving off your competition. Apps present a number of opportunities that sharpen your competitive edge:
More Businesses are Developing Apps
By the end of 2017, over half of all SMEs will have a business app. That means all the benefits of an app are afforded to those businesses. If they are a competitor, that’s bad new for you.
Given the choice of a website or a mobile app, customers will almost always choose the app. Therefore, if their option for purchasing it is between a business that has built a business app and one that hasn’t, the business with the app has the advantage.
Apps Are Extremely Powerful Marketing Weapons
Apps allow you to harvest unique data that can’t be gathered, or at least is difficult to gather, through other means. This includes information such as location, details about times on specific pages and features, etc.
Having access to this type of data gives you valuable resources that those without apps do not have. The more information you can gather on your customer, the better the service and products you can offer and the more proficient your ability to sell to them becomes.
Apps Are Streamlining Business Operations
Efficiency keeps profits up, overheads down and ensures you can keep your business ticking over.
Apps increase efficiency by streamlining processes. Whether it’s easier to contact with consumers, cheap sales and marketing channels, or more effective ordering systems, they provide benefits that make the operation smoother.
When trying to get a leg up on your competition, being as efficient as possible is key. The more efficient your business, the fewer resources are wasted. Companies that don’t build a business app stand to unnecessarily put a strain on resources, reducing their ability to compete.
Making a business app is not just a frivolous expense for well-known brands. Having that piece of mobile real estate, that little accessible portal that provides an instant connection to your business is essential to remaining competitive and relevant to customers.
Those that don’t offer this unique digital window into their brand will suffer. As times move forward and others begin to see the benefits of apps, they’ll be left behind.