21:43 06 June 2018
Whether you are online, in a physical shop or even gazing blankly at an advertisement on the side of a bus, you will see one company after another invite you to download their app.
In fact, those who say this is the internet age might already be behind the times. Mobile has long been the platform of choice for getting online, and we all know it’s easier to do from a smartphone app than a browser. Facebook, Ebay, BBC, the list goes on, and Google Play has more than 3.5 million apps available to download and install.
If your business does not have an app, the chances are, you are wondering if you are missing out on a major opportunity to improve customer engagement and increase sales. And maybe you are – but there is more to getting your own app than just following the herd.
We love our apps
In late 2016, Flurry Analytics published a report that said Americans spend five hours per day on their smartphones. But the interesting thing was what they were doing. The vast majority of the time is spent not making calls or browsing the web, but using apps.
The other interesting point was that people are creatures of habit and tend to stick to a few favourite apps, for example using social media, a news app, mobile banking and so on. A further study demonstrated that people are always willing to install a new app – but that it will often lie dormant and forgotten after they have done so.
Making sure your app adds value
So it’s not enough to simply create an app and expect people to start installing it, using it and sending your turnover through the roof. The app needs to deliver unique advantages, which is why strategic development and mobile application testing are so crucial. Here are three specific points to keep in mind:
1) Sort out your mobile optimisation first
Don’t put the cart before the horse. If your site is not optimised for mobile, you will already be haemorrhaging business, so that needs to be the first job on your list before you start working on mobile app development.
2) An app with a purpose
Some businesses are desperate for an app, but have no idea why. Look at it from the customer’s perspective – what added benefit, functionality or convenience will an app bring that they are not getting at present? Will it save them time? Deliver a better user experience? Allow faster reordering for repeat customers?
3) Learn from the competition
The businesses that are most desperate to develop an app are the ones who have seen that their competitors have already done so. If you are in that boat, use it to your advantage. Look closely at what they are doing, both in terms of the functionality of the app and also the usage statistics and reviews that are there for all to see on the App Store.