It’s 2017 and mobile is as big as ever. In fact, there’s a very good chance you’ve already heard that we live in a mobile-first world in which mobile users exceed desktop users. Go to any restaurant, from McDonald’s to a Michelin-starred restaurant, and you’ll see countless patrons eating with their mobile phone nestled by their plate. You might even see some preferring their phone’s company to that of their dining companion. Keep that image in mind as you mull over these statistics:
● 52% of time spent on digital media is spent in mobile apps
● The Apple App Store has about 2 million apps; Google Play has over 2.2 million
● People between the ages of 18 and 24 use more mobile apps than any other age group
Internal and External Mobile Apps
Mobile app development has quickly become the cornerstone of many business’ growth strategy. There are two routes to take with this plan of action: internal and external apps. Internal apps are those used by the business itself, and external apps are client-facing. We’re going to focus on external apps today, but before we do that, let’s get acquainted with internal apps.
Internal Mobile Applications
Choosing to go internal with a mobile app development strategy has its benefits. For one, they can automate tasks and streamline work. And because they’re made internally, they can be tailored for anything. If it can be coded, it can be programmed. Let’s say you have a business with open positions that require training. You can always have someone train new employees, but that takes time and money away from what they would be doing otherwise. If, instead, you developed an app that can serve as a training tool, you would be able to use it time and time again at no additional cost (apart from the initial development costs).
Now imagine that you’re an enterprise with an environmentally conscious mission statement and like-minded clients. Sticking with your mission statement, you can develop a carpooling app that conserves fuel and limits harmful emissions. Better yet, you can keep your clients happy by offering them the app.
Benefits of Mobile Apps
Now we shift the focus to external apps. These apps are excellent for increasing brand awareness, fostering customer loyalty, and keeping ahead of the competition. Because they’re client-facing, it’s very important to think like a consumer.
One of the easiest ways to improve customer convenience is through customer service. If you have deep pockets, you can opt for an app with a chatbot that provides 24/7 service. Whenever your customers have a question, they can open the app and ask away. Another way is to include a loyalty program within an ecommerce app. For starters, the app is convenient because they can shop at all times from any location. Apart from that, loyalty programs allow shoppers to build up points for rewards, further incentivizing them to give you their business.
Increasing customer engagement has the added benefit of increasing your own revenue. Why? The more engaged they are with your brand, the more likely your customers are to turn to you. An interesting way of increasing engagement is by doing what the Home Depot did and make use of real-time data and geo-location. They customized display ads to reach target consumers within a 15 mile radius of a Home Depot store, effectively earning 8X in-store ROI. Switch display ads for an app and you have your plan. The goal here is to combine real-time location, customer history and push-notifications. Step one is to program location-tracking and push-notifications into the app. The next step is to make use of your customer’s information, namely their browsing and shopping history.
Now let’s paint a scene: your customer has your app on their phone and they’re walking by or in your store. If they’re outside you can send them a notification with a sale or promotion that will draw them in. If they’re already inside you can utilize the Internet of Things and program sensors inside the store to send them notifications about specific items that match their preferences. Do this and you’ll provide them with a personalized experience that is sure to increase engagement.
Are You Investing in Mobile Apps?
There are many benefits of mobile apps that we didn’t cover today. That being said, what we did cover should definitely whet you appetite for mobile application development. Don’t let the cost of developing an app turn you away either; there are always cheaper options. One such alternative is to utilize an app template that will greatly reduce the overall development cost. But it done correctly, you’ll more than make up for the cost of getting an app.