Ever heard the words “There’s an app for that”? No better known words could have ushered in the age of mobile apps. Fun fact: a 2009 iPhone 3G commercial first used the slogan. It became such a hit in the media that Apple actually trademarked it.
Small business needs an app because less than a decade later, mobile apps are everywhere. We use them for work, when we shop, dine out, book flights, pay bills, get the news, talk with friends, watch our favorite shows, or listen to music we love – for everything we do online or offline – there’s an app for that.
Why is this important to your business? Consider these figures:
- For 2017, the number of mobile phone users is forecasted to reach 4.77 billion (or more than half of the world’s current population) and is expected to pass the 5 billion mark by 2019. | Statista
- This 2018, the number of mobile users that are smartphone users is expected to reach over 50 percent, with 2.7 billion smartphone users worldwide by 2019. | Statista
- Number of mobile app downloads worldwide in 2016: 149.3 billion
- Number of mobile app downloads worldwide by 2021: 352.9 billion | Statista
In this age of smartphones, being mobile means not just having a mobile-friendly site. For many businesses, apps are fast-becoming the go-to platform to reach more customers, engage better with them, and generate more profit.
Still on the fence whether your business needs a mobile app? Here are the five ways a mobile app can boost your small business across the board.
Do Innovative Marketing
With mobile comes the rise of location-based technology that opens up a world of possibilities for marketers. The use of beacons, especially in the retail and service industries, has made it easy for brands to reach customers.
An example of this is the luxury department store, Barneys New York which deployed beacons in its flagship store and integrated them in their mobile app. Users who have granted access to their location get to receive notifications or recommendations on what’s in stock based on their wish lists or digital shopping bags.
By leveraging location-based technology via a mobile app, your brick and mortar business can now easily target customers in the moment – sending special offers, flash sale notifications, or compelling product info – making them more likely to make in-store or online purchases.
Foster Customer Loyalty
Beyond the singular purchase, how else could you provide more value to your customers? What can encourage them to return to your store?
You can build a loyalty program right into your mobile app. This typically takes the form of giving in-app discounts, credits or a points-system, coupons, or other exclusive offerings. Rewarding loyalty creates an effective incentive for customers to perform actions that benefit them.
This is what Starbucks excels in. Their official app keeps users connected to their cards so they can just scan to pay while earning stars. They can then collect, track, and redeem these stars with Starbucks Rewards ™ program. The app’s gift section also allows users to send gifts and coupons to their friends via the app – cleverly encouraging a more widespread use of the app among their users’ network.
With a business mobile app you can craft a rewards program that not only fosters customer loyalty but builds a relationship that goes beyond their purchase.
Gain Customer Insight
As customers interact together with your mobile app, they generate all types of knowledge . Using these data, you’ll gain insights about your customers. Not just who you think that are your target customers, but those you almost certainly least expect to be your customers.
Nothing gives insight like real-world data. you’ll identify your strongest and promising demographic segments, your most profitable season, campaign or product. It gives you a thought about your customer needs, upcoming trends, and even the general performance of your app.
With insights gathered from how your customers use your app, you’ll make smarter decisions in terms of product/service improvement, new business opportunities, and in fact , marketing strategy.
Improve Customer Service
In its 2017 survey of 335 US small business owners and managers, B2B research and review firm Clutch found that improving customer service is one of the highest reasons small businesses plan to build a mobile app.
With the convenience and convenience of mobile, customers now prefer using apps to interact with brands and services they have. Having a mobile app indeed may be a win-win for both your business and your customers.
For your end, a mobile app can automate existing processes and even reinvent them to extend efficiency. you’ll showcase your products/services beyond your online site.
In turn, your app can enable your users to book online, place advance orders, make mobile payments, easily access information and help. Integrating your app together with your social channels also opens avenues for customer feedback and reviews while also boosting your brand.
With your mobile app you’ve now expanded marketing reach, built customer loyalty, gained insights that feed into improving your customer service, and overall, increased your customers’ satisfaction. When customer satisfaction goes up, sales naturally follow.
By having a fanatical mobile app, you’ve not only reaped the above-mentioned benefits. You’ve also opened a replacement revenue channel for your business. apart from building within the feature where you enable mobile payments for your customers, you’ll also monetize the app itself through: having paid features, in-app ads, subscription fees, or putting a tag on the app.
App Annie reports on global app downloads and consumer spend hitting new record levels for Q3 2017. App revenue figures from Statistaalso show that the huge growth of the app economy continues:
Global mobile app revenue in 2016: $88.3 billion
Global mobile app revenue forecast for 2020: $188.9 billion
Global paid-for mobile app revenues in 2017: $29 billion
Worldwide in-app purchase revenues in 2017: $37 billion
With apps becoming increasingly central to our modern lives, going mobile via apps isn’t a “nice to have” option anymore. neither is it a trend that’s getting to pass? Mobile users are now a big customer base that can only grow within the coming years because the technology becomes more accessible to everyone. If your customers are now on mobile, why not be there as well? Ignoring this spells an enormous risk of getting your business left behind.
Need dedicated mobile app developers to create your next-generation business app? ask us, find out how App Launch Zone works, or get a price quote for your custom small business app. you’ll also hire developers with us across these technologies.