Mobile Applications; Does Your Business Need One?
In the modern world, it seems almost every business has multiple channels for interactions. Ranging from standard communication channels such as email, and telephone, to more modern and unrefined channels such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. In addition to these avenues, many businesses are also now targeting an exclusively mobile method through the creation of a mobile application. Though there is a continual increase in smartphone penetration, and thus a continual increase in the number of app users, a recent statistic released by Nuance states that almost 95% of all apps are abandoned. If this is the case then, why do so many businesses spend the time to develop an application? To ensure you are in the 5% of used apps, who should have an app? What do you have to do to make it successful? And what are the possibilities for an app?
Let’s start with the why. Why do businesses spend the time to develop a mobile application if 95% of all free applications are abandoned after 30 days? To simply put it, customer engagement. One of the biggest reasons to develop an application is to connect with your customer base. By being on their smartphone, you have an access line to your customer 24/7. An app also encourages your client base to engage with you. You are providing them with a direct link to information about your company, and developing an interaction pattern that they can follow. This helps increase the number of people who are interacting with your company. The other perk is that most smartphone users, who use apps, are in the 18-29 range (statistic from AppLift). This may help increase your penetration and brand loyalty with the GEN Y cohort. Within the next 15 years Generation Y will be making the majority of all purchases. Building an app to engage them now could help your bottom line in the future.
So who exactly should be developing an application? Everybody. An application is now another facet for your company to interact on. Many people now expect every company to have an app to help facilitate their schedules, and their ability to gain information whenever they may need. If you are in a retail business, you need an app. Customers shopping for a product have an unlimited access to resources that give product ratings and reviews, and they have an unrestricted ability to compare prices. By having an app, you are giving people a more controlled access to this information. You are presenting the information to them, and you are imparting your brand image in the process. This helps drive sales, and create a transparent feel for your customers.
What do you have to do to make your app successful? Provide new content to continue customer engagement. Give your clients a reason to come back. This content could be new features, it could be coupons and other incentives, or it could be a simple functionality, such as a loyalty card. Provide a reason for your customer to open the app. Another key to making your app successful is to allow a connection to other applications and other channels through it. Allow a cross-connection to social media helps engage your customers further, as they can share their activities with their friends with minimal effort. A cross connection from desktop to mobile also allows your user to have a unified experience of your company. A final key is to have your application available to both Android and iPhone users. This ensures that your entire consumer base is able to interact with you.
Finally, what are the possibilities for a mobile app? Building a mobile application is just the beginning of your business opportunities in regards to an exclusively mobile channel. Building an app allows you to develop very direct marketing campaigns for your customers. At this point in time, marketing spend on mobile applications is lagging behind many other forms of marketing. This is a relatively untapped marketing source, making it a huge opportunity for your business. Another area of possibility is e-commerce options. In the past few years, there has been an increased uptake of e-commerce. Though many customers are trigger shy when purchasing through an app (only 4.7% will add items to a cart, and only 0.8% will actually buy) e-commerce is becoming increasingly popular. Adding an e-commerce solution to your mobile app will help drive sales, and allow your company to facilitate your customers wants and needs.
So do you need an app? As long as you are willing to use an app as a platform for customer engagement, then yes. Partnering with a software development studio can help facilitate the creation of an application that is responsive, and adaptable to your company’s needs in the future. A software development studio will also be able to provide a consultation as to whether you should be pursuing an iOS app or an Android app. This partnership is also fruitful as working with an external company means allows for an app to be program for multiple platforms simulatenously, ensuring an uniform experience for all of your customers. A long-term partnership with a studio will also ensure that your app is up to date, and able to run smoothly as new technologies are released. This will ensure additional functionalities driving consumer engagement, keeping your app part of the 5% versus the 95%.