There is a lot of pressure on a business to invest in a Mobile App in the current climate. A lot of that pressure comes from companies who actually build Apps. Seems a little biased to me. So, as a small business, is it really worth investing in a Mobile App? First let’s look at a little publicised statistic.
“According to Localytics, 23 percent of apps are used only once, then abandoned. Three months after they install an App, 80% of consumers no longer launch it at all.”
You should definitely bear this in mind before you invest in what could be a very costly addition to your business. I want you to ask yourself the following questions to help you decide if having an App really will be profitable for your business. I don’t just mean bring in extra revenue – I mean actually improve your profits, more than pay for itself and be worth your very hard earned cash.
Is your website optimised for mobile?
It isn’t difficult to have a website that is truly optimsed to work on mobile phones but many websites still fail at this. The popularity of Content Managed Systems, like WordPress, with the Small Business Community means it is possible to have a website that is Mobile ready but choosing a poor quality theme (and there are lots of them) could mean your website isn’t achieving that aim. So before you decide an App is the answer to your dreams look at your own website and make sure it’s Mobile Optimised.
Do your competitors have apps?
Take a look at your main competitors (and your local ones) and see if they have an App. If they have then take a look on Google Play or the App Store and see how many downloads there were. What are the reviews like? It could be that your business needs to have an App in order to keep your share of the market – but it could also be the case that competitors have already tried and failed!
Will your app solve a customer problem?
Having a Mobile App may sound appealing but it really needs to provide something your customers actually want not something you think they need. Bearing in mind the fact we spoke about at the beginning of this article you need to think how truly valuable your customer will really find your App. If 80% won’t open it again after month 3 you better convince the remaining 20% to buy from you.
Does retaining customer data simplify conversions?
Will an App give your customers a better buying experience? A smooth journey can make the difference between making and losing a sale. You need to give somebody the best User Experience (UX) possible to persuade them to buy from you repeatedly. If you are offering a subscription service then would an App make this journey easier for your members? Would it help you retain members longer?
Do you offer a customer loyalty program?
Having a customer loyalty program, like Costa Coffee use, can keep your customer coming back to buy from you over and over again. Perfect! You should aim to retain more customers (Pst..it’s cheaper). An App that allows the customer to quickly and easily access discounts may be very appealing, especially for things which are bought often – like coffee!
Do you rely heavily on branding?
If you rely on keeping your brand top of mind then having your logo on the home screen of everyone’s mobile could be perfect. Bear in mind that most mobiles have too many Apps installed for them all to be on the home screen! People will prioritise the ones they find most useful or use most often.
Do you utilize user-generated content for marketing purposes?
Encouraging people to share video and photos could be an ideal reason to have an App. But consider the likelihood of your customers continuing to share these things after the initial novelty has worn off. Remember that fact we shared at the start!
Can you build an app that uses the functionality of mobile devices?
I’m talking about things like geo-location, accelerometer and mobile device specific technology. Think things like run/cycling trackers, games and the like that wouldn’t be possible on a desktop. If you think you can create something like this then you do stand a chance of making your money back – just bear in mind the amount of competition already out there.
You will be investing a considerable chunk of your profits and your time and effort to create a Mobile App for your business. You can use a pay as you go, create your own App service like PushNote costing around £80 per month or you could invest in a totally bespoke build and pay a software company upwards of £4000. But simply building an app is not enough. You will need to focus on delivering tangible benefits to your customers, to get hard work you put into building your app to pay off. You will need to promote the App just the same as you would promote your website. You will also need to get it through compliance with both Apple and Google before it will be available to download.