Today Americans and consumers around the world rely heavily on their smartphones not just to communicate but also to quickly locate the information they need to make informed buying decisions.
If your business — small or large — isn’t actively competing to reach this vast market, your competitors that are will be better positioned to reach prospective customers, an advantage that will be reflected in their bottom line in the long run.
To reach today’s smartphone-centric consumers, you’ll need a mobile app that quickly and simply tells users what your business is all about, describes the products and services it offers, and provides them with an easy way to get in touch with your business or to order on the go.
Mobile apps (stripped-down computer-type applications designed specifically for mobile phones) aren’t new.
In their most simplistic form, they began to appear in the closing years of the 20th century. Typical of those early mobile apps were arcade games, calculators, calendars, and ring tone editors.
21st Century Apps Explosion
All that changed in the early 21st century. Apple’s introduction of the iPhone in June 2007 led to explosive growth in the availability of mobile apps and added to the lexicon the now familiar refrain, “There’s an app for that.”
According to a December 2013 article at Forbes.com, mobile apps available to iPhone users were closing in on the 1-million mark as the year was coming to an end. Close behind are apps designed to work on smartphones that use the Android operating system.
As business grows ever more competitive, company owners should take advantage of every opportunity they can to serve existing customers and attract new ones so that their businesses will continue to grow and prosper.
Ideal for Start-Up Companies
Although the benefits of having a mobile app apply to businesses of all sizes and ages, an app can be particularly beneficial to start-up companies that need to get the word out to the widest possible audience without spending a fortune to do so.
Because there are hundreds of thousands of apps available to smartphone users, you’ll need to launch a campaign to market your business’s app to potential users.
In “How to Market an App to Consumers,” writer Edward Lakatis offers some helpful suggestions about how to promote your app, including the use of social media to reach the users that are most likely to need your products and/or services.
If you need further incentive to join the ranks of businesses with their own mobile apps, consider for a moment some of the many ways in which an app can make it easier for customers to do business with you and stay abreast of your company’s latest news and developments.
- Customer Service – Having a mobile app gives existing customers and those interested in learning more about your business an easy way to get in touch with you, ask questions, and report problems with your products and/or services.
In developing your mobile app, you can build into it new ways in which customers can interact with your business.
Although much depends on the nature of your business, one example of this sort of creative thinking is a service now available through the mobile apps of dozens of U.S. banks. Customers can deposit checks to their accounts by snapping smartphone photos of the front and back of each check, thus avoiding a trip to the bank.
- Promote Products/Services – No matter how basic and limited your line of products or services may be, from time to time your company will find ways to make them even better. By alerting your customers to these product/service refinements via your mobile app, they stay up to date with what’s available and can consider all these factors when making buying decisions.
- Virtual Storefront – For businesses that sell online via their websites, adding a mobile app is pretty much akin to opening a new branch outlet in the old brick-and-mortar retail marketplace. Now, your business can reach those customers who increasingly rely on their smartphones to not only communicate but also to transact business.
- Maximizes Your ROI – In an article at com, writer J.T. Ripton offers some words of wisdom for small businesses who worry about whether they can afford to develop a mobile app: “You probably can’t afford not to invest in one.”
Ripton goes on to note that the average cost of developing a mobile app is about 1 percent of a company’s annual revenue, according to data from Distimo, an app-analytics company.
“While the cost of developing an app may still seem daunting, it pales in comparison to the brand enhancement and additional sales that it could generate,” added Ripton.
About the Author: Don Amerman is a freelance author who writes extensively about a wide array of business and personal finance topics.