Does My Business Need An App?
Here Are A Few Questions To Ask Before Answering
As shopping apps get more popular with consumers, businesses are rushing to invest in their mobile apps. According to The E-Commerce Times, it is estimated that m-commerce sales will account for 54 percent of all retail e-commerce sales by the end of 2021. Nearly 80 percent of people use shopping apps while at home and a majority of them use them 2 to 5 times a week. While mass merchant stores like Target and Walmart have found great success in introducing their business apps, an increasing number of smaller businesses are considering whether it is worthwhile investing in an app of their own to keep up with the digitalization of everyday life. While business apps can provide some benefits, deciding to launch an app needs considerable forethought, planning, and the satisfaction of a few key criteria.
Benefits Of A Mobile App For Your Small Business
The overwhelming benefit that a business app provides is that it garners more traffic. With high traffic levels, your business has more chances to create sales opportunities and attract loyal customers. A business app can also work to improve your brand's visibility. When used as a part of your digital marketing strategy, a business app can present another unique opportunity to build your brand presence and identity with unique logos, app design, tone, etc.
Finally, investing in a business app can be another way of keeping your customer engaged - and returning. With special offers, vouchers, and incentives unique to your app, you can boost the all-important customer retention rate. Today, 3 out of every 4 dollars spent online is spent through mobile transactions. The trick to making it a success lies in investing in all the right aspects of its development. Customers want a truly seamless and integrated shopping experience. Therefore, spending time on designing a subscription cloud-based application software is worthwhile because it means that as a business, you can stick to your budget as a small business and trial it on a subscription-based model as you go. So, if the app does not generate enough interest in an upcoming period, you are free to cancel or pause.
Does Your Business Have The Capital For App Development And Maintenance?
A key consideration when deciding to create a business app is whether your business can afford it. If you choose to create an app yourself instead of hiring a professional, you will only need to pay for your license fees. Apple apps charge $99 while Android apps cost $25. Recent research by GoodFirms showed that a simple app can cost between $38,000 to $91,000. After that, there are also the ongoing charges for app maintenance which can vary according to the technologies you choose and the complexity. If you choose to develop separate versions for both Android and Apple, you will be incurring double the charges. Before making the decision, consider your business cash flow going forward and whether it can afford the regular maintenance costs.
Is The App's Need And Immediate And Ongoing One?
Developing an app is an expensive and ongoing commitment for your business. If you are looking for an immediate or one-off boost in brand visibility, it may not be feasible to invest in a business app. Firstly it can take a while to design a mobile app prototype for your business. There will also need to be test runs before it is released for public use. Also, businesses should be clear on how the app will fit into their daily operations once developed. What percentage of customer interactions would it replace? If it is minimal then it may not be time for a business app.
How Would Your App Be Different From An Optimized Website?
While more consumers are shifting to mobile shopping apps, business websites are still the main point of contact for most. On the plus side, a mobile-friendly business website is much cheaper to maintain and develop. If you already have a business website up and running, the costs are reduced further since the actions need to optimize your business website for mobile traffic are fairly minimal compared to app development.
According to Robin Cogburn of Exela Technologies, businesses should only invest in a business app if the customer experience is significantly different from what is offered on their website or other channels. In other words, there must be defining features to draw consumers to use the app.
So does your business need an app? While it certainly has its merits, small businesses should focus on ticking many other core boxes before moving on to app development such as having a mobile-optimized business website. When the benefits outweigh the costs, then it may be time.