Customers should be able to communicate with you when and where they want and you should be able to provide information of value to them instantly.
Smartphones help users navigate the world. Appearing on smartphones is critical for local businesses. 94% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone and 84% take action as a result, such as making a purchase or contacting the business.
Implication: Ensuring that clickable phone numbers appear in local results and leveraging location based services on mobile make it easy for consumers to connect directly with businesses. Smartphones have changed the way that consumers shop for goods and services
Also called mobile apps, it is a term used to describe Internet applications that run on smartphones and other mobile devices. Mobile applications usually help users by connecting them to Internet services more commonly accessed on desktop or notebook computers, or help them by making it easier to use the Internet on their portable devices.
What is a Mobile Application?
A Mobile Website is the new online home for your business on Mobile Devices. It provides your business with a public identity on mobile phones, and it’s where you connect with customers, develop your brand, and engage your following with the other half of the audience you can’t reach using the regular communication channels.
The Benefits of Developing a Mobile Application for Your Business
If you think that mobile apps are solely for big name brands like Walmart and Bank of America, you are wrong. More and more small and midsize businesses are following the mobile trend, understanding that an effective mobile strategy involves more than just a mobile-friendly website.
In fact, these days you’ll notice that many small businesses you interact with in your everyday life have their own dedicated mobile app — be it the corner coffee shop or the beauty spa downtown. These companies are ahead of the game when it comes to taking their marketing to the next level.
In case you are still not sure why anyone would want to build their own mobile platform, here are the top seven benefits of going down this path sooner rather than later.
1. Be Visible to Customers at All Times
Statistics show that the average American spends more than two hours a day (!) on his or her mobile device. While probably only a handful of applications make up the bulk of this total usage, it doesn’t change the fact that each user has to unlock, scroll, and scan their device for the apps they’re looking for. Being “in the way” can be an advantage to your company, as our mind unconsciously does record every image and text (or well-designed app icon!) it comes across — even if it happens unnoticed.
2. Create a Direct Marketing Channel
Apps serve many functions: they can provide general info, prices, booking forms, search features, user accounts, messengers, news feeds, and much more.
One of the biggest benefits of having a mobile app is that all the information you’d like to provide to your customers – including special sales and promotions – is right at their fingertips. Through push notifications you’re getting even closer to a direct interaction, and can easily remind customers about your products and services whenever it makes sense.
3. Provide Value to Your Customers
Talking about on-hand information, how about digitalizing that loyalty program you have in place? Instead of sticking to the old point-collection card, make it possible for your customers to collect their rewards via your mobile app. The result? More downloads and more return customers.
4. Build Brand and Recognition
A mobile app for your business can greatly contribute to your brand awareness. I’d like to break this topic down into two aspects, the combination of which will make your app a true winner:
- Brand. A mobile app is like a blank billboard sign. You can do what you want with it; you can make it stylish, hip, functional, shocking, or informative. But what you really want to do is create an app that has features your customers will love, while at the same time is well branded and beautifully designed.
- Recognition. The more often you can get customers involved with your app, the sooner they will be inclined to buy your product and/or service. In advertising this is called the “effective frequency”: as a rule of thumb, hearing and/or seeing your brand approximately 20 times is what will get you truly noticed.
5. Improve Customer Engagement
No matter whether you are selling flowers or spa services, your customers need a way to reach you. Having a messaging (or help desk) feature within your app can really make a difference in the way you communicate with your customers. Think about it: OpenTable, for example, built its entire business model around this principle. Instead of calling a restaurant for a table, you can book it with less than five clicks on their platform. Now think about it: How many customers would prefer to communicate with you via text than via phone?
6. Stand Out From the Competition
These days mobile apps at the small business level are still rare, and this is where you can take a big leap ahead of your competitors. Be the first in your neighborhood to offer a mobile app to your customers. They’ll be astonished by your forward-thinking approach!
7. Cultivate Customer Loyalty
Last, but not least, the most important reason why you should consider building your own mobile app is customer loyalty. With all the noise out there — roadside banners, billboards, flashing signs, newspaper ads, flyers, coupons, websites, website banners, Facebook ads, and email marketing — we slowly lose our impact on customers because of the immense amount of advertising surrounding us all. It’s time to go back to making a true and sincere connection with your customers, and making them a loyal lover of your product and/or service. I am not saying a mobile app is going to save your business, but it can be a way of staying closer to your customers, and being just a “fingertip” away at all times.
Improves Customer Service
Mobile apps improve customer service
Do you think a customer will stick around if they aren’t happy with your service?
Mobile apps are amazing customer service tools. Customers want to work with companies who are accessible. Providing your customers with a mobile app gives them yet another way to interact with you. As mentioned below, it lets customers interact with you on their own terms–a critical aspect of great service.
If you’re not marketing your business on Facebook and other social networks, you’re not reaching potential buyers … and you’re leaving MONEY on the table!
Mobile apps improve internal productivity
Many businesses think of mobile apps as external tools. They think of mobile with a prospect/customer perspective.
But, mobile holds amazing potential for internal usage. How? Here are a few examples:
- One distribution company automated a manual receiving process. Using standard Android phones, bluetooth scanners, and mobile apps, they now scan new inventory directly to their database–saving hours of time.
- Many companies use internal mobile apps for their sales staff. The mobile apps let salespeople access product data instantly while out on the road.
- Other companies create mobile versions of their web apps. This lets users access data from anywhere, using any device.