Can Small Businesses Benefit from Mobile Apps?

Can Small Businesses Benefit from Mobile Apps?

Unfortunately, many of the small businesses still do not realize the untapped potential of mobile apps to facilitate your growth. Mobile apps are not just a marketing medium, but they can also function as an end-to-end operations tool in case of many standard businesses. Yes, even in startups and small local businesses, mobile apps can play a rewarding role. 

If you are taking care of an SME's operations or marketing, you may have come across the thought of the business having a mobile app. With about 2 million apps o the Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store, some may be thinking that the app market is already saturated and why to bother. Some others may have already invested time and a fair sum to make amazing websites to cover their customers and think about why to take the add-on burden of an app. All these thoughts make sense at a surface level, but here are some other key questions you need to ask yourself.

• How can your customerstake a picture of a particular product you offer from your website and share it on their social walls?
• Is your website capable of telling you when a premium customer walks into your door?
• Can your website offer special perks and privileges to the critical social influencers?
• Is your website good enough to push coupons or incentives to those when they are somewhere nearby to your store?
• Can your website customize, i.e., personalized the shopping experience of your regular visitors?

These are some examples of the add-on marketing value a mobile app can only offer you over a website. With many in-app capabilities like geolocation, sensors, biometrics, and camera access, the possibilities of a mobile app in business are endless. If you are still wondering about the scope of mobile apps for your small business, you also need to consider the role of smartphones in our daily lives now. 

The role of smartphones in human life

If you are into business, you already know what action mobile used to do daily. Since the year 2008, average smartphone usershave grown from just a few minutes of usage a day to nearly half of the day spent on their smart phones and digital media lately. By the year 2014, mobile usage topped desktop use, and then this trend is steadily growing to make desktops or laptops things of the past soon.

The key takeaways of mobile marketing

• The modern-day consumers are mostly dependent on their mobile devices than ever before.
• They mainly rely on mobile devices through their journey to make a purchase.
• Consumers need information on-the-go, and proximity is the key to success in terms of conversions.
• Geolocation services of mobile apps will enable businesses to anticipate and meet customer needs on time.
• The mobile market will help capitalize on impulse shopping and deliver a highly personalized buying experience.

For a small business, mobile apps can now offer limitless opportunities; however, small business app growth seems to be stagnated lately. Insights from a Gartner survey, as interpreted by FLOSUM experts, show that half of the surveyed business owners are still in a dilemma about the need for mobile for their small business. Some other major findings of the survey are as below.

• About half of the small businesses do have a mobile app, and another 30% have a vague plan to build one in the future.
• Small business app growth is almost stagnant lately compared to data of previous years.
• About 28% of small businesses say that they built mobile apps to attract more customers, but this could be a misguided goal for having a mobile app as per experts. 
• About half of the small businesses owned by millennials have a mobile app for the company. Still, the percentage is far lesser (about 13%) of similar businesses owned by the baby boomers.

Mobile apps offering value

With a clear audience and objectives, mobile apps now offer many valuable marketing opportunities. However, apps need to be created with clear purposes to achieve this goal. Even though many companies use mobile apps now, many small businesses give the least consideration to the actual benefits offered by a mobile app.

A mobile app's primary objective is to tap its potential for better communication and enhance the business metrics by introducing better mobility. When you plan to build a mobile app, your target audience and goals should be defined clearly at the first point.

The more rigorously you evaluate your objectives to invest in a mobile app, the better your outcome from it would be. Do not just build a mobile app simply as you also need one as all others’ have. Let us explore how to do it well.

To assess the expectations from a mobile app

To do this, you need to first reflect on your customer journey. This will help identify all the touchpoints in the customer journey, including buying and after-sales services. This forms the base of your mobile app objectives. An ideal touchpoint can be any moment where you exchange information or directly communicate with the customers.

Once this groundwork is over, you also need to assess what impact a mobile app can bring into your business. A successful application should have clear set goals, for example, increasing sales, improvising customer relations, customer loyalty building, customer referrals, and more. Try to set various metrics based on your goals to determine what qualifies for success. Ask questions like how many of your potential customers may redeem a coupon code you share through a[push notification? How many may sign up for your email newsletter through the app? etc. Proper answers to these questions will help you plan your app objectives better.

Once you have a clear-cut roadmap, first build and deploy the simplest version of the app to start with. This will help save a lot of time and money. Evaluate the performance of the simplest version of the app based on your success criteria and then keep on developing it step by step. By following this approach, you can avoid deploying an unnecessarily heavy mobile app which do notbenefit the business.

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