Building an App for Your Business
Having an app for your business is now becoming the standard, even for small businesses, and not having one runs the risk of giving your competitors an easy edge. MTV conducted a survey a few years ago which showed that over 90% of consumers are exposed to new things through mobile apps. Designing and building an app for your business allows you to interact with your customer base in new and exciting ways.
Whatever the products or services your company sells, you can find a way to design an app that provides a bridge between your customers and you. If you sell products to a customer, then your app can provide a convenient way for them to order items for delivery or to reserve them to be collected from your business. If you sell services instead, you can design an app that allows customers to review the services they are receiving, receive updates on order progress, and request a customer service call if they require it.
Smartphones come with a number of built-in features that many laptops and desktop computers lack. This opens up a wide range of possibilities for savvy entrepreneurs looking to provide their customers with the very best mobile experience.
Below are some things to consider when designing an app for your business, to help you make the most of the opportunity.
Before you start putting your app together, you need to sit down and have a very good think about exactly what you want to achieve and how best to achieve it. For example, perhaps start by concept testing your product (see this to learn more) so you have the best idea of how to market it.
Modern smartphones offer a lot of exciting possibilities for business owners and there are a number of ways that they can be leveraged to encourage your customers to interact with your business in new ways. For example, by taking advantage of the GPS capabilities that virtually all smartphones are now capable of, you can direct your customers towards the nearest retail outlet or point of contact with your company.
However, if you don’t plan beforehand, you will be rudderless and may well find yourself building an app that is overflowing with features it doesn’t need. If you are finding that your efforts at designing an app are being hindered by inexperience, look online for businesses and individuals who can help you. You may want to choose a local company so that you can meet with them for a discussion if necessary. For example, to find UK-based businesses who can help a simple search of “app developers London” will bring you to companies like Lexel.
Building an app is all about encouraging more interaction between your customers and your business. Therefore, it makes sense to ask them beforehand what features they would like to see in an app for your business. Posting a survey on your website or asking for suggestions over social media are both effective ways of involving your customers in the design process. By involving them, you will make them feel valued, and as well as encourage them to ultimately download the app, this will also help to cement loyalty for your brand.
Be Careful About Monetising the App
It is, of course, natural for entrepreneurs to see opportunities everywhere and there are a number of potential revenue streams for a mobile app. You could charge for the app itself, but clearly, this will reduce the number of people who download it and, depending on what the app actually offers, may end up isolating your user base. All things considered, it is better to make your app available for free.
You can use advertising to generate revenue, but you need to be careful here. Depending on how you go about implementing an advertising system, you may or may not have control over which adverts appear to users or getting a real-time survey that t could minimise your risk. If adverts for companies whose ethos goes against that of you and your customers start to appear then your user base may well resent it. This is a risk that you don’t want to take if you can avoid it. Some users also resent seeing advertising within an app. Again, it is usually best to resist the temptation to monetise your app in this way, as you run the risk of isolating users.
The best ways of generating money with your app are simply by designing it to provide a convenient way for customers to buy goods or services while on the go.
Loyalty schemes are an excellent way of keeping customers coming back to your business and smartphones offer a great way to combine a loyalty program with technology. An increasing number of businesses are creating virtual loyalty cards, which is an effective way of encouraging customers to download your app.
You can also use your app to give your customers access to exclusive offers and discounts that aren’t available elsewhere.
All modern businesses should have an app to offer their customers. It not only demonstrates that yours is a business that moves with the times; it also gives you a platform through which you can interact with your customers in new and exciting ways while drumming up more business.