I think it is safe to say that this is an age-old question: do I set up a mobile-friendly website, or do I need to have my own mobile app? There are a lot of reasons why a mobile app is a good thing for small businesses. There are also myths surrounding the development and usage of mobile apps. We are going to cover some of the most prominent ones in this article.
Mobile Apps Are Expensive
One of the reasons why a lot of small businesses don’t get into mobile apps is because developing one is expensive; well, this is not really true. Mobile apps are now more affordable to develop than ever. Freelancers, mobile app companies and even free services are available to help you develop a useful app for your customers.
There are also fewer platforms to worry about. BlackBerry and Windows Phone are great, but you can simply focus on iOS and Android at the beginning. This will save you a lot of time and money at the beginning of the development process.
So why do I need a mobile app?
There are several things a mobile app can do that mobile-friendly sites can’t. For starters, it is easy to initiate customer loyalty thanks to push notifications, location-based promotions and other features that can be easily integrated to mobile apps. These features will keep customers engaged even when they are not actively shopping for your products or services.
Mobile apps are also great for sharing information. This is the era of content marketing, where soft selling is far more effective than forcing customers to buy your products or services. By providing them with valuable information through the mobile app, you can invoke interest and keep your brand recognized.
Lastly, mobile apps are great medium for connecting with customers directly. Yes, we do have social media, but social networks are massive and we may not be able to connect with every user or respond to their requests. It is, however, very easy to facilitate live chat or email communications through mobile apps.
The Rise of Smartphone Usage
Over 70% of today’s internet traffic come from mobile devices. This statistic is a good enough reason to venture into the world of mobile apps and mobile platforms. The number is only getting higher; smartphones are penetrating different markets at a staggering rate. If you do want to develop a mobile app, here are a few tips to remember:
- Keep the mobile app functional. Customer must be able to do something related to the products or services you offer for the mobile app to be appealing (i.e. they can order your product through the app, make inquiries, etc.).
- Focus on value. Information, how-tos and even promotional offers add great value to the mobile app.
- Integrate location-based services to the app. Notifying customers about an offer when they are close to your store can have a direct impact on sales.
- Test and improve! There is no point in having a bad mobile app. Test the app regularly, make sure everything works smoothly and be sure to add improvement to the app through regular updates.