These days, it seems like everyone’s got a smartphone with dozens of apps competing for attention. Is it time for your business to release its own app?The following six questions will help guide you to your answer.
How much do your customers use their smartphones?
Simple observation will probably answer this question, but a poll can help you be sure. To find out if your customers use mobile devices and what type of devices they use, consider polling them in an email, asking them when you’re speaking with them, or placing a brief questionnaire at checkout.
Do you have many repeat customers?
Mobile apps work well for businesses with a large base of repeat customers. For example, customers who regularly order flowers are likely to appreciate an app that makes it easy to place an order, include a message, and track delivery. Similarly, regular patrons of a restaurant may like an app that makes it easier to reserve a table, see menu changes, and take advantage of special offers.
Are your customers in a hurry?
Is speed a key benefit of working with your business? If so, an app may be a powerful tool to help deliver on this aspect of working with you. For example, people usually want quick taxi service, so they may appreciate an app that allows them to reach their favorite taxi company, send the GPS coordinates of their location, and display a personal picture so the driver can recognize them easily.
Could an app help your customers?
Look for routine, repeated activities that your customers engage in when they interact with your business. Ask whether an online tool could make any of these activities simpler or more enjoyable. For example, a nursing home could make it easier for children to check on their senior parents, possibly with a webcam; or an office supply store could make repeat buying simple and also send reminders based on a customer’s purchasing history. Remember, the easier you make your customer’s life, the more loyal that customer may become.
Would an app fit into your overall marketing?
Is mobile marketing already part of your company’s promotional mix? Do you send mobile messages or have you created a mobile Internet site? Have you used mobile barcodes, also known as QR codes, which make it easier for customers and prospects to learn about your business or to take advantage of offers? If you already engage in mobile marketing, your customers will likely see a mobile app as a natural extension of your business. If not, you can still create a mobile app as the starting point of your mobile efforts.
Do you have the budget to develop an app?
Interest in mobile apps continues to grow. Mobile Marketing Survey found that 47% of small businesses expect to increase their use of mobile apps this year. The cost of building apps is dropping quickly. Some off-the-shelf customizable apps are available in some industries, such as for hotels and restaurants, and can help simplify the process. You can create and host an app by working with a mobile applications service. After you develop the app, you still may need to refresh it periodically so it stays up to date.