You’re looking for the next step in your business venture: Is it worth it to build a mobile app for your business?

As a business owner you’re probably noticing that the business landscape is changing faster than ever. People’s values are changing, technology is advancing at an exponential rate, and mobile phones are completely transforming the way companies market their products and connect with customers.

Nowadays, almost every company, even local businesses for that matter, have their own responsive website and use social media to advertise their services. But If you have been paying attention, you might have noticed a new trend, a new opportunity:  More and more businesses are now developing their own mobile apps. 

The predicted growth of mobile commerce from until 2021
  • Mobile E-Commerce is growing at fast rate: By 2021, mobile is predicted to dominate online sales, driving 54% (or $659 billion) in sales.
  • 70% of mobile searches lead to purchase within an hour. (For comparison, it takes desktop users a full month to reach the same percentage.)
  • 67% of modern consumers do “digital window shopping” for fun on their smartphones, with 77% of those making impulse purchases when they do. 
  • As mobile E-Commerce grows, stores with brick-and-mortar locations will have to rely more and more on proximity marketing and cutting edge in-app features like geolocation to attract shoppers against competition.

Local businesses are taking advantage of this cutting edge marketing tool to deepen the trust and connection with their clientele, offer exclusive deals and to keep customers thinking about the business and coming back through app-exclusive features like loyalty systems, push notifications and more. 

All of that sounds nice, but how do you know if your business would benefit from a mobile app ? and at what cost?

First off let’s examine some of the benefits of having a mobile app vs having a simple website for your business : 

Push Notifications

This is one of the most valuable app features since it enables timely, relevant, on-demand notifications sent directly to your customers mobile phone. Combined with location-based messaging, push notifications can provide a uniquely personalized experience.

Geolocation and Map Integration

This allows you to know exactly where your customers are and give them detailed directions on how to find your products/services. Take advantage of location-based coupons or incentives or notify staff when an important customer enters your store.

Mobile Shopping/Mobile Payments

This is a must-have feature for most mobile apps—customize the shopping experience and make it simple and fast for your clients to shop for and purchase your products and services.

Social Integration

Integrate all social media platforms and make it easy for your customers to connect and engage with you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and easily share their pictures of your products.

Virtual Reality

Ever wanted to show a client how she’d look with a new hair style or a new piece of clothing? Or maybe convince a customer that a certain piece of furniture would look great in his living room? For certain businesses, these new interactive features are a huge marketing tool and unique way to build engagement

These are just some basic examples of the marketing value a mobile app offers over a mobile website. With in-app capabilities such as biometrics, geolocation, sensors, and cameras, bluetooth, and more, the possibilities are pretty much endless.

Having a mobile app for your business makes sense if your consider these new trends which are becoming more and more apparent as we move towards a more technological and digital future:

  • Consumers are becoming more dependent than ever on their mobile devices as they move along the path to purchase.
  • Consumers expect information to be on demand—and proximity is the key to conversion; geolocation services enable businesses to anticipate and meet their customers’ needs.
  • Mobile marketing is the key to capitalizing on impulse shopping by delivering a highly personalized and entertaining shopping experience.

I Already Have a Website, Why Do I Need a Mobile App?

This is a common misconception in the marketing world : Small businesses often work with limited time and resources which makes them prone to only focussing their efforts on only one marketing platform. What business owners don’t realize is that marketing platforms (mobile app, facebook, websites) are not interchangeable, each one of them actually serves a very specific purpose. Websites for example, are mostly useful for acquiring new customers and displaying your services / products. The major downside of a website is that even if a customer finds your website, there is no guarantee that they will come back or find it again. On the other hand, mobile apps are amazing for creating loyal customers. Think about it: with a mobile app, you have your business/shop on the homepage of your customers mobile phone, always installed, sending reminders and notifications, and allowing clients to communicate with your business 24/7.

The most successful businesses use their website to attract new customers and then direct them to download their mobile app— generating an opportunity for profitable, ongoing relationships by creating engagement, building loyalty, expanding social reach, and delivering highly personalized and fun shopping experiences.

Does developing an app make sense for your business?

For most small businesses, mobile apps are an amazing marketing tool, but they aren’t right for every one. Here is a list of questions you can ask yourself before getting started building your own app.

If you can honestly answer yes to all of these questions, you should really consider creating a mobile app for your small business:

  • Would you benefit from having the ability to reach your customers 24/7?

This is a brand new marketing opportunity, only available on mobile apps : the ability to keep contact with your customers no matter what time of the day it is, or where they are. Would your business benefit from this ? Would your clients benefit from this ?

  • Can you provide a fun and useful mobile experience around your business / brand?

This question might seem  tricky for some small business owners, but let’s think creatively: Even if you’re business is simply selling or reselling goods, you can still create a mobile app that combines fun and social elements with rewards and discounts for loyal customers. Try to think out of the box before you dismiss the idea of building a mobile app for your business. 

  • Will a mobile app bring a positive ROI for your business?

It may be tempting to reach your customers 24h/7 and have a loyalty system in place, but before you get started you must figure out exactly how your business will benefit from a mobile app. In the above example of an app with rewards and discounts, the business benefits by enticing customers to come back and shop again and again. On the other hand, if you’re in the service based business, your app may be in place simply as support for your business, to share information and to create a sense of loyalty and engagement in your clients. Depending on your business model, calculating the ROI of developing a mobile app may not always be simple, but you should still be able to define what success means for your app and how it will help grow your business.

Planning your app

Once you’ve decided that building a mobile app is the right step for your business, it’s time to start planning your app. Depending on the size of your company, the usual first step is to appoint a person or team responsible for the mobile app : either someone knowledgeable from your company, or a consultant from an agency like Yamm who understands the design, development, launch and support process.

Your app team’s first step is to make a list of what you want to accomplish with your app. These usually fall into one of three categories: Acquisition, engagement, and conversions. Once your objectives are clearly defined, consider the features your app needs to achieve them, and the road-map from design to launch.

 Here’s a list of questions that will guide you further in the process of developing your app idea:

  • What platform will you use for your app? Android or iOS? Simple tools like Google Analytics can help you gain insight into what devices your customers use. 
  • What is your timeline for development and launch launch? Timing is key to success, especially when it comes to marketing.
  • What is your app budget? Include both development, support, and marketing costs in your planning.
  • How will you build and keep your app up and running? Finding a good, trustworthy app development team is key to success in this field.

The answers to these questions will guide your app development process and decision-making going forward. Need help developing your idea into an app? Our experts at Yamm Software can help you develop your idea and build a clear road-map to launching a successful, fully functional mobile app for your business. We offer solutions customized to your needs, your budgets, and your goals!

Sign up now for a free 30min consultation call with one of our project managers and get started designing and developing your mobile app idea!

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