By Hank Whitman
In December 2012, Forbes reported that 49 percent of smartphone and tablet users are seeking information about local businesses. As a savvy business owner, you realize this percentage means it is time to add “build a mobile app” to your project list, and soon. However, you may wonder just how an app will benefit your business and if the rewards outweigh the initial costs. The InternetProviders blog offers some sound reasons why you should make your company’s app available to all those device-wielding consumers ready to de-press the “install” button.
Encourage Customer Loyalty and Confidence
When you have a direct link to your consumers through an app tailored to their satisfaction, and maybe even specifications, you can reach them on a more intimate level. One up the your competitors by offering them coupons, discounts, rewards, and free merchandise for their loyalty. When you have formed an internal relationship through an app your customer has downloaded, the chances are good they have given you more information about themselves than your average customer without the app. Make sure you build a voluntary customer information request into your app, ensuring you will not sell their data to a third party. Winning over details about your customer base will give you the edge over your competition in maintaining customer loyalty. App providers such as Pandora and Evernote are solid examples of companies that tailor their apps to suit customers’ tastes and preferences.
Streamline Your Customers’ Experience With Your Business
Consider how you can help customers track the progress of their orders, particularly delivery-based orders, in this case. Inc. shares a story about a Canadian pizza company called Pizza Pizza, and how it tied a mobile app featuring a pizza tracking system into their marketing strategy. The company found fantastic success, and the app’s creators earned a Webby Award for their efforts, by knowing their customer base and the anticipation of waiting for a pizza delivery. Find the sweet spot in your business, and discover new ways to capture your customers’ hearts and stomachs. Making an app to please your customers is a surefire way to continue building your business.
Maintain a Stable Interface for Customers
While smartphones and tablets let customers surf the web to find your company’s web page via a mobile website, a mobile app provides more stability. For one, you do not always need an Internet connection to reach the content on the app.
So, You Want to Build an App, and Now You Know Why…But How?
Once you have decided your company does in fact need an app, you have a range of choices to make that happen, depending on your budget and how complex you want the functions to be. Choose a reputable mobile web design company, or do it yourself with an app to design your app. Forbes notes Buzztouch as an option, and TechRepublic suggests Conduit Mobile as budget-friendly companies that allow you to build and manage high-quality apps with ease.
Distribute Your Handy App
This process may vary according to a number of factors, such as what operating systems you are catering to — iOS, Android, Blackberry, etc. — as well as whether you plan to sell within the respective stores, or do it on your own. If your business is small and locally based, doing it yourself is probably the best option. Simply create hyperlinks or scannable QR codes on your website, advertisements or fliers.