How many apps do you have on your smartphone? Statistically speaking, it’s probably a pretty decent number. According to a report on The Business of Apps website, an estimated 197 billion apps were downloaded to mobile devices in 2017 and that number is expected almost double by 2021. Apps are a major craze in our modern culture. The phrase “there’s an app for that” has become a ubiquitous cultural saying that’s used almost jokingly, because quite literally, there seems to be an app for absolutely anything and everything you can think of.
The popularity of apps is undeniable, and because it seems like the cool thing (and maybe the smart thing) to do from a business perspective, a lot of business owners rush ahead creating an app for their company simply in the hope of having a presence on people’s phones. Just like any marketing decision though, the choice to create an app for your business should be approached with forethought and strategy. The first question any businessperson should ask themselves on the matter is:
Does my business actually need an app?
To answer that question there are some other important questions to ask yourself as well.
- Will an App Boost My Bottom Line?
Business apps, generally speaking, are meant to drive sales and improve customer service. They can be an important part of a business’s social media strategy, because they are extremely effective as tool for communicating directly with customers. Push notifications, special offers and deals and memory for what an individual customer prefers make apps very inviting for a lot of people to use. But if your particular business can’t sell anything via an app, there really isn’t any point in having one. If you can’t get customers to spend money through your app, then you can’t get on ROI on the cost of its development and upkeep. If you can’t make money with it, an app it’s not a good business tool.
- Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?
Before commissioning an app for your business, its important to ensure your website is fully functional on mobile devices. This is important for two reasons: 1) Navigation on a smartphone or tablet is entirely different than on a laptop or desktop computer, and 2) Anyone who uses your app will definitely cruise around your website via the same device. If your website doesn’t work well on a mobile, getting it to do so is your first priority.
- What Will an App do that my Mobile Website Can’t?
Again, this is an entire functionality question. Are you going to design an app that will require GPS access? Maybe you’ll want it to be able to access photos or the user’s built-in camera. If everything you need and want your app to do can successfully be done through your mobile website, why spend the money on a second online access point?
- Are my Customers App Savvy?
This may seem like a no-brainer, but in their passion to create something modern and fun (i.e. an app) many business owners overlook a key aspect of its success: whether or not their target market is the sort of group who will pay for, download and use an app in the first place. If your customers prefer to do business face to face, an app probably isn’t going to do much for you.
- How Strong is my Brand?
When someone decides to download your app, they’re paying you (and your business) a pretty big compliment. There’s only so much real estate to be had on our mobile devices, so your presence there is no small thing. Apps are a powerful method of boosting brand awareness and loyalty – the trick is though, you have to have a clearly defined brand to begin with. Make sure the touch points of your brand are solid before you develop an app, and it will do a lot more for you in the way of helping to build your image.
- What’s my Budget?
Depending on who you engage to develop your app and the intricacies of its design and programming, the cost of getting it up and running can run anywhere from a few thousand dollars to a few hundred thousand. On top of that, you’ll have to decide if you’re going to charge a fee for your app or allow users to download it for free. Most business owners aren’t aware either, that app stores take a cut of your sales – typically somewhere around 30% of what you charge users to buy it. In other words, there are monetary considerations when producing an app that are important to get on top of before you begin.
Want to learn more about the possibilities and potential problems in creating a business app? Hit us up for coffee and a chat. We love talking tech.