Mobile Apps: A Missed Opportunity?
In the modern digital world, the ability to communicate and engage with your customers in a multi-channel way is crucial to ensure that you stay ahead of your competitors.
The smartphone revolution has created an all-in-one platform in which users can easily communicate easily with their friends as well as handle everyday tasks, such as banking or shopping, that not so long ago used to involve waiting in a queue either via telephone or physically in a retail store.
Customers now expect the ability to deal with businesses instantly, without having to revert to making phone calls, all through Apps installed on their devices.
Right now, in 2020 there are almost 3.5 billion smartphone users across the world. Despite this most businesses still have not taken advantage of the mobile platform. The technology and features within the devices are constantly evolving offering even more opportunities to engage with potential or existing customers.
Often business decision makers may think that their industry means that they do not necessarily need an App or perhaps they believe that enabling their website to be ‘mobile friendly’ is enough to take advantage of the platform. However, in many cases, this could not be further from the truth.
Here are some common questions and benefits around mobile app development and why you should be considering it for your business.
- Apps offer great returns on investment
There is a popular misconception to many businesses that they must charge for Apps to get a return in investment for their App development. Whilst there is a clear business model which works to charge for some Apps or use in-App purchases these are only relevant where the Apps return a one-off benefit to the customer such as a game or utility.
Where most businesses will see a return is by increasing engagement, and therefore retention rate, with their existing customers. By using marketing features such as push notifications and letting customers request and otherwise utilise your services in a straightforward and easy to accomplish manner, will put you ahead of your competitors.
- Features for all Sectors and Industries
Most sectors and industries have features, either software or hardware based, which could be utilised in their App.
For example, does your business need to make appointments? Why not allow the customer to book a time-slot which works for them, showing them specifically which times and days are available? Even better, if it is to receive a specific service, why not let them choose that service and pay for it in App.
Taking this further, restaurants can not only show their current menus, allow bookings and receive a deposit but even send a reminder of the booking to the customer or add it to their device calendar reducing the risk of missed bookings.
- Increase Your Sales
Mobile Apps offer a new channel in which you can increase your profits which can be quite significant depending on how large the target audience is. Geo-location technologies let you fine tune your marketing activities. As an example, customers who have your App installed and are nearby to your stores or offices can be sent discount opportunities and other promotions.
Mobile payments are also becoming very popular. Customers expect to be able to pay as quickly and effortlessly as possible. Solutions like Apple Pay and GPay linked with biometrics, allow for instant purchases online without the need for the customer to seek their card to find their CV2 number.
- Get a Competitive Advantage
Mobile is a new frontier and competition is still low. By being one of the first to adopt the technology you can confidently put yourself in a position of strength. If some customers primarily use mobile apps to help manage their daily life then it makes sense to have the channel covered, giving you a clear advantage over your competitors who don’t.
- Get Valuable Insights and Analytics
Understanding more about your customer is key to building successful relationships with them and ensuring the services and products you offer are still relevant. Apps offer a great way to build up some insights into how your customer is engaging with your business way beyond what is capable on the web.
Which functions within the App are used the most, at what times of day, and how much time is spent in-app? Learning about the user’s demographics, their location and other statistics can help further the usability of the App as well as feed back into your marketing messages.
You could also ask the user for feedback proactively by prompting them with a notification or when they next open the App. Previously you may have had to revert to the use of email or a popup on a website which the user could inadvertently dismiss.
- Users can engage with you offline as well as online
One of the main failings of the web is that you need to be connected to the internet to use it. Granted, we’re more connected than ever before, but there are times where good connectivity is just not there yet. For example, many commuters spend their time using their mobile devices, however, trains have somewhat poor reception capabilities despite efforts to offer on-board wi-fi.
Apps can work both offline and online. If you’re clever, key functions can be developed to work in that they’re available, even when the user is outside of reception.
- More Time is Spent In-App than on the Web
Users now spend more time in Apps than they do on the mobile web. In fact, in 2019 this was seen to be as high as 90%. Apps are simply more convenient to find and use from home screens and more responsive. Undoubtedly this trend will continue.
- Improved Brand Awareness
Traditional ways of communicating with customers are limited to the times when they are visiting your website or perhaps for the fleeting moment your latest marketing email pops up on their notification tray. With Apps though, you’re putting your brand on their home screen which is visible every time they use their mobile.
Plus, with the ability to indicate to customers that there are waiting messages or features within the app with the use of badges on your App icon, you give more reasons for the customer to return to your App.
It’s important for businesses to stay aligned to the technologies as they develop and be able to take advantage of the latest innovations that could make it more efficient and even continue to operate in an increasingly competitive marketplace. We believe that mobile apps offer an opportunity to provide benefits to most types of business.
Do you feel like an App may benefit your own business? Why not contact us today to discuss some potential features which might work for you and contribute to your company’s development.