If you haven’t used an app for one business or another… then you are dead and may you rest in peace. Now, don’t get mad and scream, “I’m not dead! I just don’t use apps!” Yes you do but you might not know it. If you have a mobile phone, you use an app overtime you turn it on and make a call, or check the weather or text someone. They are applications designed to give you greater control and ease of mobile use. They also provide marketing and sales to the companies that own them. So, what do apps mean for your small business?
There are over one billion mobile subscribers in the world today. There was an estimated 29 billion apps downloaded in 2011, up from 9 billion in 2010. The number of apps available for Android now totals about 700,000, a Google spokesman confirmed. That’s up from the 675,000 the company said it had a month ago and it equals the figure Apple most recently touted. The Cupertino, California, company first revealed it had about 700,000 apps available in its store last month.
Smartphones are small computers which are becoming more and more powerful (more powerful than the computers aboard Apollo 11, which went to the moon and back). They will be suitable for an increasing number of tasks which have previously been restricted to laptops or desktops. Today smartphone apps are used by companies to promote their brand or product, or to provide access to their existing products. In the future we will see a lot more use-cases, e.g. new products enabled by apps, mobile health, mobile selling, or apps which help to improve working efficiency within a company.
As a small business there are many apps available for your own business:
Mobile devices, specifically iPhones and Androids, are much more personal and intimate devices than a laptop or desktop device. For most users their phones are never further than a couple of feet away every day and all of the time. Imagine how attractive it is for consumer goods, food and many other companies across the economy to be able to place their products and services so close to consumers.
Mobile devices are pervasive. With the growing number of mobile owners and users, eventually most everyone will have access to mobile apps. The development of mobile apps will keep increasing exponentially. In turn, businesses will need to make their presence in the mobile marketplace known. In fact, in coming years, if not right now, it will be crucial for a company to have a mobile application to service consumers.
Mobile devices are personal devices… perhaps more personal than a laptop or tablet. The user experience of a mobile app is reason alone for companies to consider developing their own application. Because people automatically consider their mobile phone to be a key personal possession, apps become part of that personal element. Therefore, apps tend to offer more a personal experience that engages a consumer more than a simple website. Mobile devices also offer perfect proximity to the consumer. Mobile phones, being such a personal device, assure businesses a daily engagement with consumers.
The question, however, in this article is; what app could you create to help your own marketing and customer base? The first consideration is what are you trying to sell? Is it hard goods, a service or food?
For a restaurant or coffee shop, an app that promotes a daily special or coupon will be downloaded by regular customers and be attractive as a draw for occasional and new customers, which would increase your traffic. One fast food establishment has an app that allows customers to spin a wheel and earn discounts while at the counter when they order. No coupon clipping, no “maybe you win, maybe you don’t.” Every spin is a winer of something, which brings in customers who know there will be at least a dollar off or free fries for their trouble.
The same applies to certain hard goods. Announcing specials and discounts through notifications are key to apps. While people download these apps to make shortcuts to information, they allow a business access to the consumer’s daily life.
For the service industry, an app might track orders, act as a project management tool, allow for quick communications that can be added to a file of any project, track costs, payments, etc. A mobile app can issue presentations, progress reports and a quick tool for video responses. As technology evolves, the applications also grow and become more inclusive.
Creating an app is limited only by your imagination. All you need to do is start with the basics of what do your customers want and what can you give them? from there, it’s highly suggested that you contact an app developer and work with them to create your app. Below are links to some do-it-yourself app creators. These will give you a good idea of what goes into an app and how they work. The problem with making one yourself is the glitches and legal issues that might pop up with a self-made app if you have no experience and it may not be able to contain all of the functions you desire. A professional app developer will assure you of a 100% functional, winning app.
Mobile App Builder
Businesses large and small have learned that mobile apps are a valuable asset and how to engage in this exciting growing marketing tool and it won’t take long before people realize it’s a standard business practice for any business to communicate with their customers via an app. Get involved with a proven winner for your business. Make it your 2013 New Year resolution!
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