With mobile devices being the way of the world and the need to provide better experiences for customers, many businesses are asking themselves if they should offer a mobile app. Many organizations understand that they need modern technology and marketing strategies to succeed but need to weigh the benefits and investments of each. The development of a mobile application is no different.
A mobile application can enhance a business’s service while increasing revenue but there can sometimes be a high cost associated with the building of a business app. Organizations have many places to invest their money, how do you know a mobile app is the right one? Only you can answer that question.
Don’t worry, in this article, we will provide the vital information you need to answer that question and make your decision.
Reasons your organizations many need a mobile app
Mobile applications can create value for businesses in many ways. It’s why so many businesses have opted to have one or many mobile apps designed specifically for them. But your organization is unique. You have your own goals, your own set of clients and a way of doing business.
When it comes to understanding your business’s need for a mobile app, you must weigh it against your organization’s goals and what you hope to achieve.
Let’s explore all the ways a mobile app can potentially help your business and see if any align with what your business hopes to accomplish.
1. Improves customer experience
For years, customer service was about having a friendly and helpful face at the front desk or on the phone. While that is still important, consumers now expect a wonderful level of service no matter where they are or what time it is. By providing a mobile app you are giving them an improved way of doing business with you creating a positive experience with your brand.
2. Adds value to customers and differentiates your business
A better experience creates value in the eyes of a customer especially when there are two similar businesses. Let’s say you have two pizza places you love, both are equal distance from your home and have similar prices. One has a mobile app that allows you to save your usual orders, offers one-click orders, utilizes loyalty points, suggests menu items on the days you want pizza but your family can’t decide and allows you to put in your order ahead of time while the other restaurant requires you to call and wait for someone to pick up. The ease and convenience of the mobile app adds value to the first pizza place helping them to differentiate themselves while adding value to its loyal customers.
3. Improves customer engagement
Let’s face it, very few businesses have the opportunity of having limited competition. Consumers have more choices now than ever before and in order for them to remain loyal, they must have a relationship with meaningful interactions. Having an app, as one aspect of the omnichannel marketing approach, gives customers a unique way to interact with a business which helps to strengthen the relationship.
4. Increases brand loyalty
Businesses spend a lot of time, energy and money on generating new business but allow their current customer base to dwindle. When you offer a higher value experience, people are not only more likely to buy from you but they will also stay more loyal even if your prices are higher than the competition. We already discussed how an app can add value and improve customer engagement. Brand loyalty is a natural bi-product of these and creates another reason as to why your business may want to consider having a mobile app.
5. Generates more revenue
Rarely will a local business create an app to monetize the app itself (i.e. to create ads or revenue opportunities) but at the end of the day, the intent is that the company benefits financially from having the app. All of the aspects we’ve talked about so far (adding value, increasing brand loyalty,etc.) and having the ability to push notifications about new products or services gives businesses the ability to earn more revenue.
6. Improves internal performance
The main purpose of a mobile app is to provide better customer experience, however, on the flip side, some apps enable your internal staff to perform better. When customers help themselves through the means of an app, it means your staff can focus on other things. Oftentimes apps are also synced with other business software so that the data from the client is instantly saved. All this can save your staff time entering data, spending time on routine service tasks, and even scheduling.
Poor Reasons for considering an app
One thing worth cautioning businesses is that not everyone needs an app. At least not right now. As we already discussed, the desire for an app must come from a business’s desire to meet certain goals.
Too often do businesses have an app developed for reasons outside of their business goals. When this happens the business finds their investment lacks meaningful impact and are often confused as to why.
To avoid this, it’s important to understand the faulty thinking a business may use to develop an app. Let’s explore a couple of these reasons to help you avoid bad decisions made with fault reasoning.
1. FOMO (Fear of missing out)
Too often do businesses want to jump into technology because they don’t want to miss out. The potential for missing out on sales or a new opportunity for your business is definitely something to consider. But addressing those concerns has to come from a place of research and defined business goals, not FOMO.
If the biggest goal of developing a mobile app is just so you’re not missing out then you won’t likely hit any true business goals. You’ll simply have an app for having an app sake. An expensive digital paperweight if you will.
2. Want to optimize for SEO
Some businesses want an app because they feel it will better improve their SEO efforts. Where many get confused is that a mobile app is not the same as a mobile website. Providing a good user experience is vital for a website and a mobile website but search engines do not consider a mobile app as part of a website’s user experience.
In order to improve SEO, one must focus on their site at hand, or think about having a new website built. An app, however, will not benefit them in that regard.
3. Competitors all have apps
Many businesses make their marketing decisions based on what their competitors are doing. This is ill-advised as you don’t see the reality or success of their initiatives. Having an app may look attractive and may appear as if your competitors are more successful than you because of it, but that may not necessarily be the case. When it comes to any marketing strategy or tool, a business has to look internally to their own goals and priorities to determine if it’s the right choice for them.
How to decide if your business needs a mobile app
As you can see, there are some great reasons for having a mobile app. But how do you know if it’s right for YOUR business specifically? There are really two easy ways to help you answer this question.
- Do your business goals align with mobile app benefits?
- Is a mobile app the best solution for meeting those business goals?
Of course, we have to have a purpose for the app, but we also have to decide if it’s the best way to solve the problem. As a business, you have many digital and marketing tools at your disposal. Many of them will have overlapping benefits and unfortunately for some businesses, it’s not reasonable to implement them all at once.
So, does your business need a mobile app?
If you are looking to improve communication, create a seamless experience for consumers, and generate revenue during the process then yes your business needs a mobile app.
If you are unsure of how an app aligns with your business goals or you are considering it for posterity purposes then no, your business likely doesn’t need an app at this time.
What questions to ask when your business is considering an app
Like most organizations, you can likely find value in the reasons for having an app that align with your business’s goals. What business doesn’t want improved customer experience and more revenue? But there’s more to it. Before taking the plunge into the development of your new app, there are a few questions you should ask yourself or management.
- How would an app improve sales, customer experience or user experience? Remember, there needs to be a business purpose to your digital initiatives.
- What’s the intended use? Does this solve a problem or are you doing it just because?
- Is a mobile app the best solution for the problem we are facing? A mobile app, like other digital platforms, is a tool to help your business compete.
- Is it in the budget? We believe this is a lesser factor (as there is always wiggle room in the budget for priority items) but still, one to consider especially if one has to pitch the idea to their superiors or ownership of the company.
- Is the rest of your web presence up to par? A brand new app may falter if the rest of your web presence isn’t up to par. An app is just one part of the customer experience and if the app is great but your website is poorly designed, it could end up less effective than projected.
- Does your organization have the means to promote the app once developed? A business app doesn’t often generate users naturally, a push needs to happen for customers to discover that the app exists and why they should install it.
- Do you have a presence or customer base that’s strong enough to support the use of an app? The idea of an app is great, but the reality is that your customer base needs to be one that will utilize it and benefit from the app or else it’s a waste.
- Is it worth the investment? At the end of the day, this is what it’s really about.
When it comes to any digital marketing asset such as a website or mobile app, building it is only one step. Your business should also have the means to promote it and benefit from it. This means discussing the practicality of building, promoting and utilizing an app for business purposes.
Apps come in all different forms make sure that it’s designed to best fit your business needs. When speaking with an app developer, make sure that they understand your needs and goals and can design an app for you accordingly.