Mobile Applications for Small Businesses
According to Flurry mobile consumers spend about 2 hours and 42 minutes on their mobile device each day. Of that time 86% percent is spent using apps and only 14% on the mobile web, continuing the trend of mobile apps triumph from 2013.
Building a branded app for your small business can help you take advantage of that 86% and get noticed in a sea of businesses that perform similar services but haven’t embraced the native mobile apps trend yet. You can attract your existing, as well as new customers to use the application by offering coupons and discounts that are only available through the application. Limited offers will encourage users to act quickly in order to benefit from them. Incorporating push messages will enable you to quickly and easily inform all customers that have the application installed about promotions, change of opening hours, new products and services and other news. Another way to disseminate your application is to add sharing on social networks, enabling users to recommend the application (and your business) to their friends.
If your business requires bookings a service, a booking system can be included in your application enabling your customers to easily make a reservation anytime, anywhere. You can even add a reminder for their appointment so they don’t forget about. If the service is used in regular intervals the application can remind the user when it’s time to make a new appointment.
Although time spent in mobile browsers is reducing, it’s still smart to invest in a mobile-optimized website and enable your customers to find desired information easily from their smartphone or tablet.
Another of Flurry’s previous findings was that in Q4 2012 about 63% of apps used on mobile devices were new apps. The fact that this number has significantly dropped since 2010, by whopping 20%, shows just how much the market has matured during this time. However, 63% is still a large number which probably signals that the app market is still developing and has plenty of room for new and innovative applications.
Some things to keeps in mind when building a native mobile application for your business:
- The application should maximize the benefits of mobile-only functionalities such as bar-code scanning and not simply recreate the experience of a business website.
- Brand identity is important and should be clearly visible in the application, making it and extension of the brand.
- Collect personal user data ONLY with explicit user permission and data use disclosure.
More and more brands offer free applications, since paid apps are no longer generating real ROI. Most paid applications have free alternatives which users prefer even when they are not as good. Revenue is now mostly generated by engaging, retaining and converting app users. With customers that are starting to constantly buy on the go and ease of mobile app purchasing, mCommerce is the largest mobile growth area.
Much like websites in late 90s, mobile applications are now transforming consumer and business behavior, moving customer interaction from PCs and notebooks to smartphones. Mobile apps are making it easier for customers to interact with your business for calling, booking appointments and sharing with friends, all of which contributes to higher ROI. The price custom mobile apps can vary greatly, but there are options that even small businesses can afford and still get a positive ROI.
If we look at time spent at various application categories in Flurry’s analysis, we can notice that games occupy the most time. According to Yahoo Small Business Advisor, even small business can benefit from branded mobile games leading customer to develop positive feelings towards brands itself. The games can be stand alone apps or incorporated into company website, and a great way to market the game to existing brand application users is through push notification or directly in the app.
HARNESSING THE POWER OF MOBILE APPS FOR THE BENEFIT OF YOUR BUSINESS