Should You Start An App for Your Business?
Today, most of us are heavily reliant on our mobile devices. Think about it. Chances are you are reading this blog on a mobile device too. With a dependence of such magnitude, it was only a matter of time before mobile apps entered every sphere of our lives. As per a Statista report, 204 billion mobile apps were downloaded in the year 2019 and by 2022 it is estimated to reach 258.22 billion worldwide.
From healthcare apps and groceries to banking apps, it has become an integral part of our everyday life. Mobile apps have changed the purchasing psychology and strategies of consumers by giving them whatever they need at their fingertips 24*7.
Does this mean every business must have a mobile app? What are the benefits one can achieve with a mobile app? How should you start an app?
In this blog, we answer all these questions and more. Read on.
What Are Some Benefits of Developing Mobile Apps for Your Business?
Without a doubt, mobile apps make the purchase experience seamless by performing functions faster on front-end. Here are some advantages that you can reap by launching an app for your business:
- Increased Visibility
According to a report by Statista, there will be approximately 7 billion mobile users worldwide by the year 2021. You can imagine the scale at which your audience reach would expand if you get onboard a mobile application platform. One would reason that a website does the job just fine and puts your business on the online platform. However, it takes a mobile app to take things a step ahead and make sales. Most users prefer to browse a company's services or products on mobile apps as opposed to websites. Plus, apps help you build a brand image which can translate to customer loyalty as more customers start trusting your product/service.
- Increased Customer Engagement
There are many customers who prefer to communicate via a text than the phone. Mobile apps make this possible when you have a dedicated help desk or messaging feature built within the app. It makes it easier for the customers to have a two-way interaction with you and get instant information about the products or services. When your business is available to a customer at whatever time they need, it increases the chances of customer retention for the long term.
- Direct Marketing Channel
Mobile apps have a plethora of functions and features such as fill-in forms, news, search features, messengers, info, prices and much more. It allows you to provide full-fledged information to the customers at their beck and call whether for special sales or promotions. Additionally, through push notifications, you can conveniently remind customers about your products and services. Apart from that, a mobile app enables you to track the buying behaviour of the customers through its analytic feature and other information such as total visitors, demographics, among others.
- Boosts Returns on Investment
According to a recent report, almost 70% of online shoppers feel encouraged to buy something only if the brand treats them satisfactorily. They start preferring a brand only when they are attracted and satisfied by the product or service being offered to them. Thus, an app alongside a website is a sure-shot way to boost your sales and, in turn, the returns on your investment in the long run.
- Offer Personalised Content and Features
Apps allow your brand to use codes to develop different native features. This enables the customers to use features such as fingerprint scan, camera, accelerometer, bar codes, NFC, GPS and more to make transactions or for other purposes. Such features can shorten the time it takes to perform various actions resulting in a change in the user interaction. Plus, the information your brand collects in the process can be used for customisation, observing engagement level and then offering personalised recommendations on a real-time basis.
But, before you dive straight in there are a few factors you should consider to fully prepare yourself for mobile app development. Let’s look at them.
What Steps Should You Consider before Starting the App Business?
Clearly, the app market is headed towards a more fierce competition given the reliance on mobile devices and businesses leveraging it through mobile apps. In such a scenario, if you get into mobile app development without considering these underlying steps, you may be setting yourself up for failure. However, if you consider the investment, time and budget among other essential factors, it gives you a chance to stand above the rest.
Let’s look at these crucial steps before you start your own business app.
- Research Your Market
Whatever your business may be, chances are there are already hundreds of apps of your competitors in the market. How do you stand out from them? The starting point to building an app should be thorough research of the market so you already have a grasp on what is available to customers. Then, find a gap which other apps don’t offer and fill it with a fresh solution unique to your brand’s app. Use the market research to steer clear from your competitors’ errors and double up on the strategies that are useful.
- Define Your Target Audience and Elevator Pitch
Take the time to answer these specific questions:
- What is the value addition your app brings compared to a mobile website?
- What goals can you achieve through the app?
- How can the audience gain from it personally?
- Why would the audience prefer it?
If you find yourself amidst the opportunity of pitching your app idea to a potential investor, would you be able to explain the specific purpose of your app in two to three sentences? That's the clarity you should aim to amplify the success of your brand.
- Choose The Right Platform
Selecting from native, hybrid or a web app is one of the most crucial decisions you can make for building a mobile app. This is the reason you must perform deep market research and define the core functionality of your app before you take a call. For example, native apps are a good choice for heavy-duty tasks such as gaming. Whereas, web apps are ideal for easy updates though they don't require any access to the device's native abilities. Hybrid apps give you the best of both worlds.
- Know Your Resources
The real work begins now once you know the app you want to build. There are a few ways to finance it:
- Own Capital: If you have enough funds to invest in your app business it does not get any better than this.
- Loan: To get a loan, remember banks will require a working business plan which is detailed and can project the success of your app.
- Crowdfunding: There are various crowdsourcing resources such as GoFundMe, Patreon or Kickstarter where you can accumulate money to finance your business idea. Other options could be to try for government grants or other business incubators.
- Partnership: You can get in touch with outsource companies directly or look for potential investors on sites such as Crunchbase and AngelList.
- Develop A Marketing Strategy
It is natural to question the need to focus on building a marketing strategy even before the mobile app is launched. But, here’s the thing – if you start creating a buzz around your app before it is even in the app store, it can help pique the interest of the prospective customers. From defining your brand to finding the right marketing channels, every element can have a major impact on your app’s success. Be it creating optimised content for the app or approaching the influencers of your industry to help spread the word, this is the right time to get thinking of marketing strategies that will get you to the top.
- Prototyping and Feedback
What do you do if you have to buy a car? You first go for a test drive, right? Apply the same logic here. Before you launch a 100% ready app, consider launching an interactive prototype first which includes the fully designed visual framework and main features of your business idea. This prototype will serve as the test drive of your app. With the feedback gained from the users who use the app, you can then improve the app instead of redesigning it completely and losing money in the process.
Does Your Business Need A Mobile App?
I have a small business. Do I really need an app? Doesn’t it make sense for big businesses alone?
Many small to medium business owners are hesitant to build a mobile app because they fail to see the value it can add to their business. They fear the cost of building the apps may far outweigh the benefits from it. Here are some ways to know if your business needs a mobile app.
- Do You Have A Website Optimised for Mobile?
Before you consider developing a mobile app, take stock of how your website performs on mobile devices. If your website is not mobile-friendly, consider upgrading it before you turn your focus to mobile apps. Responsive web designs and responsive web themes can significantly enhance the user experience.
- Do Your Competitors Have Apps?
If your competitor has an app, check out important statistics like the number of downloads, the user reviews among others to gain an insight into how the app is being received. If the app seems to be doing well, you are stealing yourself from the opportunity of gaining similar traction and audience by not creating an app for your business.
- Can Your App Solve A Customer Problem?
If your app does not provide any additional functionality to your website, it is best to not build one. Think of what you can achieve specifically through the app and it can give you a new direction. For example, an app that lets you book tables at a restaurant thereby eliminating the inconvenience of standing in long queues would be a novel idea. Isn’t it?
- Can The App Lead To Increased Conversions?
One significant reason why mobile commerce sales don't perform as well as the desktop is the repeated inputting of information such as shipping and billing addresses which can be highly inconvenient on a mobile device. If you are an e-commerce store, it makes sense to build your own app so this personalised data can be saved one-time in the database and may lead to increased sales as customers are not discouraged by the tedious entry of information.
- Do You Use Customer’s Content as Part of Your Marketing Strategy?
If you plan to use customer’s photos or videos featuring your products on social media platforms for marketing purposes, having a mobile app can pay off. Consider building functionalities that make sharing of data easy for your customers.
Mobile apps have become an essential part of a brand if you want to avoid falling behind in this competitive world. It can help you widen your audience reach, build customer loyalty, lead to better conversions and capture real-time data that can be used to enhance the overall customer experience. Once you decide to get on-board, the difficult part is to settle on the best mobile app development company that can understand your business goals perfectly and align your app with them.
Illuminz has years of experience in building responsive, user-friendly and appealing mobile apps for its customers across a vast range of niches and industry domains. Our team of mobile developers are highly-trained and can effortlessly conceptualise your business ideas to make a well-thought strategy of building a robust mobile app for your brand. Our technical know-how goes hand in hand with our readiness to listen to your expectations from the project. As a result, we don’t settle for anything but the best.
If you are looking to build an app for your business, give us a call and we would be happy to collaborate with you.