Is an App for Your Business an Essential Tool or Just the Latest Craze?
There seems to be an app for just about everything today. Should your business develop its own app to keep up?
The phrase “download our app” is becoming as ubiquitous as “visit our website” in the world of advertising. It seems that every shop, business and organisation has its own app, and Google Play now has around 3.5 million apps for you to choose from.
The app development companies have never been busier, so should you be joining the queue to get your own app designed for your business? Possibly, but before you dive in, make sure you are doing so for the right reasons and not just to “keep up with the Joneses.”
The app-based world is here
It’s funny how change creeps up on us. The internet age is something that has been around us for more two decades, and the mobile or smartphone age is a phrase that’s been getting increasingly common since around 2015. Yet the truth is, we’ve been living in the smartphone age for at least the last couple of years.
As long ago as December 2016, Flurry Analytics published a study showing that the average American spends five hours of every day using his or her smartphone. But perhaps the most thought provoking conclusion from the study is that only eight percent of that time is spent actually browsing the web and the remaining time is devoted to using apps.
However, it is worth noting that while we spend lots of time on apps, we tend to stick to the same ones. The study showed an overwhelming majority of time spent using social, gaming and music apps. Another study suggested that while convincing people to install your app might be easy, most of them will launch it once and then never look at it again.
Creating an app that adds value
Running through the following steps will help you develop an app that will bring value to you and your customers, and will not be just another flash in the pan that ends up forgotten like last year’s Christmas presents.
1) Mobile first, first
Is your site optimised for mobile? If not, that should be your first priority before you start thinking about an app.
2) What will an app achieve?
Ask what value an app will bring to customers. Will it help them get more value from your product? Perhaps it will save them time or give a better UX than your mobile site alone? You need to have a specific benefit or solution to a problem at the heart of your app, or nobody will see any reason to download it. For example, if you are selling a service or product, apps can push reminders to customers to place repeat orders, or they can be used to allow quicker ordering and checkout than is possible on the website.
3) Observe your competitors
Do your competitors have their own apps? If so, look closely, not just at the apps themselves and their functionality, but also at their statistics, which are readily available from the app stores. If they are getting lots of downloads and great reviews, they are clearly onto something.
4) Look to derive additional marketing benefit
Generation Z is already ousting the millennials as the most influential demographic market. This is a sector that has grown up around social media and takes influencer marketing more seriously than anything else. Look to leverage this power through your app by allowing customers to share your content via social media.