It feels like every brand you know, every service you use, and every competitor in your field has already launched their own mobile application. So should your company design an app too?
Our dependency on our smartphones is so extensive, there’s even a phobia for going without: nomophobia. And of all the time we spend on mobile, 90% is on apps. Consumers downloaded 197 billion mobile apps to their connected devices in 2017 (Statista forecast) vs 149.3 billion in 2016, with the enterprise mobile app market expected to grow to £44 billion by 2020.
The pressure to be innovative and cutting edge is stronger than ever, and it’s natural to feel like you’re missing out. However, sometimes the worst reason for getting a mobile-first solution for your business is precisely the fact that everybody else is doing it.
Before you decide if you really need a mobile application, take some time to reflect on why you want one. Here are the top 5 benefits mobile apps can give your company: ask yourself if any of them ring true for you.
If your app solves a problem, people will be more likely to actually use it
Don’t create an app just to be like everybody else. There are enough tumbleweed apps out there already. Create an application if you have a business problem to solve. Have it built for a specific market niche you’ve identified, or because you have a distinct service to offer.
If the purpose of your app is clear, it solves an existing issue, and you do your marketing right, your customers will not only download it, but they might use it too. The most successful apps weren’t created because a business had a channel to fill, but because there was an opportunity to optimise a process and fill a void.
Tapping into a new direct marketing channel
Mobile apps can be a remarkable marketing vehicle. One of the biggest benefits of a well-designed app is that all the information you’d like to provide to your customers is right at their fingertips. Your can notify them directly of any new product or service launch, your special events, upgrades, and promotions. You can have a built-in loyalty or rewards programme, or make features of your services exclusive for app users.
With an app your business is visible to customers at all times. In-app messaging helps you seamlessly connect and interact with your clients, boosting your engagement rates. In combination with push notifications, your app can give your business a communication tool that could lower your traditional marketing expenses.
You can also target users with location-specific messages via the app, leveraging both exclusivity and scarcity.
Your app is a rich information source. Analyse customer data and use it for remarketing, as well as for improving your service or product (make sure you have the right permissions in place!)
Provide a superior user experience to your clients
Provide value to your customers by designing a mobile-first service with them in mind. Apps save users’ time by storing their preferences. So make your app smart - automate functions, and don't make users repeatedly click to assert their choices.
You can offer them easy access to their favourite functions, save their history and usage behaviour, and guide them through your customised content. The application can track user engagement, and use it to offer personalised recommendations and updates.
Providing this tailor-made experience will repay you in a boost to your conversion rates.
Your mobile app can elevate your brand
Creating a smoothly functioning, user experience-focused app can make you stand out in a crowded field. If you strike the right chord with users, it’s a great boost for brand awareness.
Once downloaded, your mobile app is like your brand having its own billboard on users’ phones. The more they interact with it, the more you’ll be building brand visibility and loyalty. Applications allow users to easily connect with your company on social media, and share your content, expanding your social media reach to new followers.
Internal apps drive employee engagement
Besides providing special value to your customers, apps can be very effective in engaging your workforce. Most companies now create internal mobile applications with a focus on their own employees.
Enterprise apps are often built to optimise internal communication or to establish work social networks. Reward and recognition programmes, human resources and payroll solutions, too, are migrating to apps. Employee wellness is another field to consider, such as the StepJockey service, redesigned and developed by Despark.
To app or not to app
Designing your app can drive sales for your business and increase ROI. It can delight your customers with a faster and more personalised experience. On top of that, mobile applications could make your own business processes more efficient and organised.
But before you invest the time and money to build an app for your company, ask yourself some probing questions:
What problem would your app solve?
Is it going to create value for your customers (or employees)? What new functionality can it bring to your business? Does the app need access to the smartphone GPS system, for example, or maybe to the camera or touch screen?
What ROI can you expect from the application?
Consider how much of your budget will go into building this app, and how much you can reasonably afford to get out. Keep in mind you’ll have to update your mobile app after you launch it. Don't forget the internal resources you’ll need to allocate in order to launch and scale the application across your organisation.
The bottom line is: know your goals, and know your audience. Understanding your needs and your customers’ behaviour will help you make an informed decision on what digital solution is best for you.
Want a step-by-step process to kickstart your own discovery process? Check out our series here.