There’s no doubt that consumers are using their mobile phones to buy more and with increased frequency on their mobile phones.
Recently, Time Magazine – The Wireless Issue dedicated a whole issue to the launch of their own app and an explanation of how the mobile phone has changed how we communicate, explore, do business and pay for items we want.
The business question is, should you rely on a mobile optimised website, or should you be considering a mobile app?
The answer appears to be that more users will probably uninstall your app than will use it if it does not meet their needs.
Currently the most prevalent retail mobile apps are Amazon and eBay and those being used by major chain restaurants like Domino’s and others to check on the delivery of your order.
Other apps used regularly by small and midsized business are vouches/discount sites, journey planning, and booking apps. Smartphone users are likely to find their way with Google Maps, check plane times on their mobiles and read the news, so what will your app offer?
Who will use your app?
Nearly 40 percent of American mobile subscribers accessed downloaded apps in June 2012. And, according to a consumer survey conducted earlier this year by MTV Networks, 91 percent of respondents said apps expose them to new things; 77 percent compared apps to personal assistants; and 83 percent of daily mobile app users reported believing they’re “addicted” to apps (Gamers and highly evolved hand held users).
Whatever your company does online can also be done on smart phones, which adds portability, location targeting and other cutting-edge technological enhancements to the mix. The potential of mobile apps extends far beyond marketing.
Sure, companies can leverage applications to promote their products and services, reaching on-the-go consumers looking for compelling places to shop or grab lunch. But mobile apps can also support online purchase transactions, customer loyalty programs, turn-by-turn directions and social media interactions.
As a business owner what should I do?
All businesses looking at apps need to plan carefully. They should plan a budget and a road map. Knowing what you want the app to do and which consumer segments you wish to reach. This can pose a bigger challenge.
Things to look at before you move ahead with an app:
- Know what message you want to send
- Understand your audience
- Clarify what you want your app to achieve
In a recent interview with Ben Duckworth of Duckworth Consultants in Kelowna for this article Duckworth said, “Business owners need a plan and what we do at Duckworth Consultants is offer a mobile app solution that is completely customizable, so you can design your app specifically around your business, what your business goals are and how you want your customers to interact with you.”
When speaking about their own customers Duckworth pointed out: “What customers like about our apps is that our platform is unique to apps in that each feature can be changed, turned on or off and even added to when the app is live.”
How will an app help me increase my business sales?
That’s the big question right now. People tend to think of mobile apps as novelties and games or small utility apps for people to use for tasks and calendars.
Here is what you need to consider for why your business needs its own app:
- You put Your Business in your Client or Prospects Pocket!
- You can add mobile value by including content and functionality that are time sensitive.
- Provide content that adds value to client’s and prospect’s daily lives.
- Your app will become a part of a person’s daily life and become indispensable.
- It’s about convenience for your clients and prospects.
- You can use the App to drive traffic to your brick and mortar store with a Push “Call to Action”.
- Announce “Specials” to your app subscribers (online shoppers love a bargain).
- You can announce an “Event” and have the app user keep it in their calendar so they don’t forget. If it’s a ticketed event, tell them how to get tickets or give them links to purchase tickets, or have a cart system to purchase tickets in the app.
- The mobile internet market is growing at a much faster rate than fixed internet.
- It will differentiate you from your competition.
- You create deeper engagement through a device. Statistics show people are within 15 feet of their mobile Smartphone 24 hours a day.
- Drive more loyalty to your brand by engaging people with the devices they are so addicted to.
- You are constantly branding your business on your customers' phones.
- Your business is provided with great feedback through mobile app two-way conversations.
- It is going to drive more revenue and ultimately more profits with its ability to “Push” information to app users instead of waiting for them to “Pull” information like a website.
- It enables easy social sharing of your content between mobile users with in-app sharing features.
- Reduce costs to your business through automation. With a mobile app that has back end software you can change the information yourself.
So, when considering an app for your business or any other marketing tool, it’s easy to forget what you're really trying to achieve because sometimes we get so focused on the look and feel of the marketing piece.
The best marketing tools not only look good but they actually help solve a problem for your clients and that will Build Your Business.