Given the rate at which mobile phone usage has risen over the last few years, it is quite apparent that mobile apps are here to stay, whether you like it or not.
Only last year, Statista reported that the number of smartphone users stood at 3.2 billion. This number is expected to rise to 3.5 billion by the end of this year, 3.8 billion by 2021, and even beyond that in the years to come.
Now would be the right time for organisations to consider getting their very own mobile apps for business operations and dealings.
In this article, we will talk about why it is so important for businesses to launch their mobile apps – for their employees as well as their customers – along with the many benefits that they entail. We will also share with you a foolproof recipe for the perfect app that keeps the users enthralled.
Is A Mobile-Friendly Website Not Enough For A Business?
While many businesses are rapidly adopting a mobile-first approach for their web applications, there are numerous advantages of mobile apps for businesses which you cannot get via a simple mobile-friendly website.
Why It Is Time To Consider A Mobile App For Your Business
A website restricts you in terms of the design and outlook of your business application. In contrast, you can tailor a mobile app to a particular user’s needs. For example, when using WhatsApp, users can choose a chat background image of their choice. As part of the latest update, a ‘Dark Mode’ option has also been introduced. Other apps also allow users who suffer from colour blindness or other visual impairments to modify the graphical elements of the app according to their needs.
Furthermore, it is challenging to come up with an interface that is easy to navigate for everyone. There is no standard website format that everyone would be familiar with. However, with mobile apps, you can leverage commonly-used mobile device features and functionalities which every user must already be familiar with. Standard, intuitive design elements make mobile apps much easier to go about.
No matter how mobile-friendly your website is, it can never reach the levels of interactivity that a mobile app can. With an app, you can give users many more elements to interact with, bringing the brand closer to the users. To provide added value to customers, you can also add some features to your app which are normally not available on your website.
Lastly, one significant advantage that mobile apps have over mobile sites is the option to work offline. For instance, Evernote allows users to take notes while they are offline and uploads them to the cloud once they go online. Unlike websites, mobile apps don’t force users to abandon their app activity in case of connectivity issues either.
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Whether you talk about mobile apps for business or any other area of life, there is a plethora of other aspects that they score points in. So let’s get to it!
Advantages Of Mobile Apps For Businesses
Mobile apps can not only benefit organisations in regard to their internal affairs but also help them win their clients’ hearts! Let us delve into the many perks that business owners can gain with the use of mobile apps for business.
Strengthen Your Brand Image
It can be incredibly difficult for a business to establish a unique identity for itself. There are numerous marketing strategies to go about it, one of them being the use of mobile apps in business. Let us talk about the several benefits of mobile apps for small businesses as well as well-established ones when it comes to brand recognition.
For a new business, an app would help immensely in the establishment of a strong brand image from scratch. People’s internet usage habits have evolved so drastically in the last few years that traditional marketing now seems like an ancient phenomenon. When we talk about online activities, people have moved past desktop usage and onto regular smartphone use. One of the key advantages of mobile apps for business is that you, as a business owner, can grab onto this opportunity and use it to your advantage. You can use a mobile app for effective and impressive marketing campaigns. With the perfect business app idea and the right amount and strategy of marketing and promotion, you can successfully gain your target market’s attention.
On the other hand, established companies can further fortify their brand image with an app. Since a lot of organisations are still reluctant about going for mobile apps for business, you can strike while the iron is hot and stand out from competitors. Since the modernisation of technology has forced clientele to shift towards electronic devices, a well-built mobile app will let your customers know that your business has been staying in sync with the latest technological advancements.
Establish A Direct Channel For Communication With Customers
Using mobile apps for business is one of the greatest ways to reach customers directly (especially younger ones who spend a great amount of time on their phones these days!). Instead of having to rely on other channels of communication, you can simply launch your own mobile app and get multiple advantages of mobile apps for business proceedings.
A mobile app facilitates two-way communication. You can speak to your clients via the content that you showcase on the app. Your app can act as a platform where your clients can easily access all the content that they are interested in. In return, the customers can give you feedback about not only the products or services but also the app itself. An app also gives you the opportunity to monitor and gather critical insights into user behaviour via various analytics tools. You can then bring about improvements based on that feedback, and instil brand loyalty into your happy, satisfied customers!
With a mobile app, you can also keep your list of offerings updated. Anything new that you launch can immediately be added to the app. You can also put to good use the various existing features in mobile devices. One example is that of app notifications, which you can use to keep customers posted. Another one is the location feature that can be used for targeted marketing, such as sending out content, updates or notifications according to the users’ geographical locations.
Offer Added Value To Customers
Business owners often have this one question on their minds,
“Do I need a mobile app if my clients can simply go to my website and perform their desired actions?”
It is a valid concern, which is why it is important that you avoid the redundancy that a mobile app may cause. Ideally, your mobile app should not be an exact replica of your website. It should add value to your existing portfolio and offerings.
Take popular restaurants, for example. Many places offer special discounts to those customers who place orders via the app. Some marketplace apps offer flash sales on special products listed on their apps. Others offer exclusive daily deals to build curiosity and excitement amongst customers so that they check in regularly with the aim of availing the best possible offers.
Many brands also offer digital loyalty programs to their customers. One brilliant example of this strategy is Tesco’s Clubcard app. Tesco has had a reward point system in place for the last 25 years. In late 2019, they launched an improved version of this scheme in the form of the Clubcard Plus mobile app, which they claimed would save shoppers £400 annually. In addition to that, in February 2020, it was announced that customers using the Clubcard app would be able to double their reward points (for a limited time). Well played, Tesco!
Following similar business strategies will not only win you frequent customers but also give you a significant boost in profits.
Achieve Operational Efficiency
Using mobile apps for business does not always mean launching apps for clients’ use. Often, business organisations feel the need for a mobile app for making their internal processes more efficient. You can go for multiple kinds of mobile apps for business productivity and profitability.
Some business activities require a mobile app so that employees can carry out their daily activities in an improved, efficient manner. Something as simple as a corporate news app (such as that used by TNB, Malaysia) for employees brings about positive results for entire organisations. With one app, you can keep thousands of employees informed about organisation-wide activities and updates.
Often, mobile apps help organisations digitise their paper-based operations, saving them a ton of labour and resources. An example is the national health survey app developed for the Public Health Institute of Malaysia. The Institute’s health workers were required to collect large amounts of data from individual residents for the national health survey. This entire 500-question-long survey was conducted on paper, and the data had to later be entered into an electronic database at the heavy risk of manual errors. To solve this problem, GoodCore developed a mobile app for the Institute to digitise the entire process, from data collection to real-time database syncing.
Similarly, there are several operational areas which you can greatly improve with the use of mobile apps in business. These include inventory management, progress monitoring, data analytics and reporting, and other on-the-go business activities.
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Monetise Your App
We have already talked about how you can make money through your app by allowing customers to purchase your products or services via your mobile apps for business. Let’s talk about a few more ways that you can monetise your app.
One way to directly earn revenue from your app is to require payment for downloading it from the app store. To successfully do that, however, you will have to really work on building a brand name for your business. The quality of your product must be such that customers are willing to pay for downloading it. Once you have established among the common populace that your product is worth it, you will see your sales rise up.
Another common means of earning revenue is via in-app advertisements and purchases. Many popular free apps make use of this monetisation strategy. Temple Run, a very popular mobile game, incorporates short video ads into the game and also rewards players with extra lives and such. You can also purchase upgrades for your game characters to enhance their performance.
Another example is the well-known note-taking app Evernote, which is available for free download but has a paid version, Evernote Premium. While the free version itself is quite powerful and offers some amazing basic features, you can upgrade to the paid plan and get more cloud storage, run the app on multiple devices, conduct advanced search within notes, and much more!
Building The Perfect Mobile Apps For Businesses
It can be quite tricky to figure out how to make all your clients happy at the same time. While there is no fixed formula that will give you the perfect mobile app, there are a few measures you can take to make sure your users are happy with your app.
Simple Yet Aesthetic Design
The content that your mobile app contains bears no importance unless you know how to present it in a manner that will appeal to the target audience.
These days, smartphone users place great importance on the design and aesthetics when viewing the content presented to them. However, if you try to overload your app with too many colours, too many elements, or, perhaps, too many flairs and flourishes, the viewer might quickly lose interest. It is best to go for a simple yet elegant user interface which will beautifully – and effectively! – put your message across.
One thing is important to note here. When talking about mobile apps for business, the design is largely dependent on the context that the app is supposed to be used in. For example, a corporate communication app would require a simple, clean interface, but in the case of a game, maybe you could really go all out!
Quick Loading With Minimal Bugs
Recent research conducted at the Technical University of Denmark revealed that the collective attention span is becoming narrower with the passage of time. According to Philipp Lorenz-Spreen, one of the participants in the research, “… content is increasing in volume, which exhausts our attention and our urge for ‘newness’ causes us to collectively switch between topics more rapidly.”
If your app fails to load within seconds or contains unpleasant bugs, the user will quickly lose interest and end up either not using your app or uninstalling it. In order to successfully grab their attention, your app needs to be lightweight and super quick to load.
Secure In-App Payments
If you wish your app to act as a source of revenue, where users can carry out economic transactions, you will have to have some form of online payment options available for your users.
A report published by Statista states that the total value of digital commercial transactions that have taken place in 2020 is £2,912,502m. This number is expected to grow at an annual rate of 6.7%, which means, by 2023, it is predicted to reach £3,541,606m.
The research findings prove that clients these days clearly prefer online transactions over traditional paper-based ones. By making in-app payment mechanisms a part of mobile apps for business, users can carry out immediate payments, consequently boosting lead conversion.
Online payments also bring along an added concern for users: security. Hence, the security threats and risks linked to e-payments also need to be assessed accordingly. Whether you outsource the development or get your app developed in-house, make sure your team of developers takes care of the security of the app.
iOS & Android Compatibility
Android and iOS are the two most used operating systems for mobile devices.
Source: StatCounter Global Stats – OS Market Share
It is, therefore, not the best decision to pick only one of these two platforms on which to develop mobile apps for business. Your app needs to be compatible with both Android and iOS platforms so that it can reach the largest possible fraction of your target market.
You don’t want to hype up your brand-new app only for an excited customer to find out that their smartphone won’t support it!
Whether you wish to go for an app for internal productivity or as a means to successfully capture your clients’ attention, adopting mobile apps for business carries countless advantages. The mobile experience is not only more convenient, interactive, and fun for the users, but also enables businesses to cut costs and boost operational efficiency.
Even if you already have a website for your business, you can complement it with a mobile app. A website is great for generating buzz around your offerings. It is a good idea to generate traffic on your website and invest in marketing your brand on that platform so you can drive sales via the mobile app. However, even if you don’t want to take the long (more costly!) route, you now know the numerous advantages that mobile apps alone can bring to your business.
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