Mobile commerce has become the norm. According to Survey Report: Surviving the Retail Apocalypse by YesMarketing.com, a third of consumers prefer to make purchases on cellphones over both tablet and desktop. And of those people, half of them use retailer mobile apps to make purchases. For that reason alone, it seems clear that a mobile app will help your business increase sales. But how specifically?
Why Do You Need An App?
There are many reasons why you should create an app for your business.
#1 Brand Awareness
You are interested in a service offered by two companies. Both offers seem equally attractive to you, but you've just found out that Company A provides app access while Company B doesn't. Company A can seem a little more favorable to you now, even if you don't know what kind of features the app is equipped.
An app makes a company look more credible as a brand. Just the existence of your app in the customer's smartphone home screen can continuously remind them of your business.
#2 It Can Send Notifications
Even they don't necessarily purchase any products via your app, by sending messages via the notification the engagement value will improve. The message you send will reach the users with immediate effect, means you can send a last-minute discount offer such as "ends in 12 hours from now", or information of an upcoming event at very short notice, for example.
#3 Useful Feature Integrations
A mobile app has replaced a store card (or a point card), and consumers are happier because unlike a store card, it won't bulk up their wallet, and it won't be misplaced.
Your app can have barcodes and QR-scan codes that your customers can use in-store, and the app can also allow them to check their benefit status instantly, such as how many points are left and what kind of free offers they're entitled to receive.
It can connect to the smartphone's GPS service so that the user can find the nearest local store.
#4 It Can Analyze Data = Better UX
An app's backend office can analyze each user's location and behaviors. It means an app will help you geotarget your customers, also help you to find out which features in your app are popular/less popular and which products/services sell more.
The analysis will then be able to personalize the content for better user experience. Your customers can be presented with the most relevant products based on their browsing history and their location.
#5 Better Referral Marketing Strategy
An app allows users to share easier than a website. The social share buttons can be made more prominently visible, and more personal-messaging focused social channels such as Whatsapp can be added. It will make it easier for users to share your up-to-date information with their friends and family.
#6 App Can Increase Engagement Value
An app will allow you to receive feedback from the users easily. If you run a survey or send a feedback request by email, only those who have noticed it may respond, and they are not always cooperative. But just a casual notification within the app will allow users to respond more comfortably. Means it can provide better user-engagement value.
#7 It Can Save Your Marketing Costs
App notifications can replace some of your advertising costs. The user analysis results can reduce the chance to advertise irrelevant products to the target customers. Better referral experience for users can save your extra marketing costs, and it will save your feedback request costs.
#8 App Will Increase Revenue
In many ways such as with better brand awareness, instant notifications, good user analysis, more engagement and word-of-mouth opportunities, mobile app will help increase your revenue.
Tips To Create An App
Here are some of the tips to keep in mind before considering an app for your business.
Plan Very Well
Planning the app is the hardest part. Every element that you want on your app should be identified and mapped out in the beginning, and you should stick to the plan. Whether you're building it yourself or having it built by a professional developer, if you change your mind halfway, it will give a knock-on effect to everything else. Which will take double or even triple time and end up costing more than you anticipated.
Keep The App Simple
Don't add features that you think "may be useful in the future". You should keep the number of main features that the user can use to a minimum. Overcomplicate it and the users may see the whole app less useful, or they may give up using it, which will defeat the purpose of creating an app for your business.
Make Sure That The Maintenance Is Manageable
If every time something goes wrong and you have to rely on the developer or outsource an IT people, not only will it cost but it will cause a period of disruption too many times, too often. Make sure that you will be able to control the backend office - your own control panel to make changes or fix minor problems.
How Much Does It Cost To Build An App?
This is a very hard question to answer. Firstly there are free online app creators exist, and if you've seen or tried them, you know they'll extremely unlikely to cater your needs. Whereas big companies can easily spend somewhere between $200,000 - $1 million on one app.
You may like to consider using some app templates, which are prepared by professional app designer. App templates can save you a significant amount of money, comparing to having it developed from scratch. You can have your app built from a template for as low as $500-$1,000, but again this could cost you as much as tens of thousands of Dollars, depending on what kind of unique features you want to be added. Many mobile app template providers customize them for you and let you use their service, which means you will be paying a monthly service fees. This can be the easiest option for you, whether indefinitely, or while you plan your own app.
The templates may be customized according to your needs, but there are some restrictions. And for that reason, using a template may be a better option for you because the restricted features can stop you from being too ambitious.