Have mobile apps become so ubiquitous that it’s practically mandatory for business to have one?
Rewind to early 2000s, which wasn’t that long ago, when the internet had just taken off. Google was the king and everything was moving online. As the web craze caught out, it was becoming annoying for consumers to find that their favorite local store or a new antique shop they had just discovered did not have a website.
In the defense of those businesses, websites weren’t mainstream yet, though there were (as always) early adopters of technology who were quick to spot and leverage competitive advantages that such advances typically bring.
Over the past 15-odd years, we could say that websites have gone from being optional to a must-have for businesses.
Are mobile apps headed the same way? Are they no longer an option? Must all businesses have one? Look at the stats – everyone’s going mobile, local searches are at an all-time high, apps bring you greater engagement, etc.
We are all about embracing technology and looking at innovative ways of helping businesses, but we won’t make a blanket statement that all companies should get a mobile app.
Simply put, it is not that simple. An app is not a gimmick; it must have a clear policy and aim driving it. Is a mobile or responsive website enough, or should your business look at launching its own dedicated mobile application? Answering the following questions might help you determine whether investing in an app is worth it for your business.
Is your service mobile app-friendly?
It’s a fact that some businesses are more suited to the nature of apps, especially in the B2C scenario, for whom apps provide a great way of interacting with customers and engaging prospects.
Since most mobile searches are local in nature and made with a specific purpose (80% of local searches end in a sale), businesses providing local services will benefit the most from mobile apps.
Examples would include salons, eateries, clinics, grocery stores, retail stores, tattoo parlors, event platforms, price comparison websites, travel websites – basically any business that would see a jump in customer engagement and retention by providing specific services that could be carried out in a better way with an app.
A law firm, on the other hand, might not have much use for an app and a mobile or responsive website should suffice.
What business are you in? If you could answer that in the comments below, we might be able to tell you whether and how a mobile app could help you.
What’s your competition up to?
If your rivals do have an app and are doing well with it, you might have little choice than to launch one yourself.
On the contrary, if none of them have one and you still feel that an app can bring you that much closer to your customers while attract greater local business, you absolutely must consider building one. It’s called getting a leg up on the competition.
Do you have the resources for it?
Deciding to create an app is a big decision.
You will not only need to hire an agency to help you with this, you’d also have to allocate extra resources for all the greater business that you hope you’ll attract via the app.
You will need a budget to build the app as well as market it. The app space is very competitive and unless an app is built with a solid and specific vision, it might not get you the results you are hoping for.
How exactly will the mobile app will benefit your business?
This is the most important question to consider.
You’d have to be super clear about the features you want the app to contain and delineate to your team exactly how that would translate into improved service or greater business.
For example, if you run a tattoo parlor or a yoga studio and are already full with the appointments, an app might not bring anything greater to the table.
You are stretched as it is, you are reputable and you are obviously profitable. How do you think throwing an app into the mix would improve the situation? Unless you are willing to hire more trainers, which is a big call and subject to unpredictable variables of the market. An app might bring you greater business, but again it might not. Regardless of that if you do hire new people in the anticipation of greater business, you would have to pay them.
Consider another scenario. For businesses that are about to launch, an app might help push the marketing forward. Apps are easy and convenient to use. Installing an app and trying it costs people nothing, and most consumers would love a good-functioning app that addresses a certain issue or brings to them a relevant service. With the right kind of marketing backing it, you can hope to start building a good customer base for your business with the help of an app.
To sum it up
There are a number of advantages to having a mobile app. It improves brand awareness, brings greater traffic by being present at crucial search moments, generates engagement via push notifications and learning user preferences, and stands to gain from local searches that are quick and geo-specific in nature. As consumers start relying on their phones even more, expect this space to further heat up.
In order to be successful an app needs to be well thought-out, well-executed and backed by the right support at every stage. Imaginovation’s mobile development team has extensive experience in building apps for all types of businesses. Contact us and we’ll turn your mobile app idea into reality!