Thousands of businesses have their own mobile applications. But is it a good idea to make an application for yours? Read on to find out.
There is a mobile application, or ‘app’ for short, for almost everything today. If you’re looking for places to eat, Hungrygowhere has an app for this very purpose. Even large companies like Comfort Delgro support their business processes by allowing customers to book taxis through their smart phones.
As the number of consumers using smart phones continues to rise, mobile apps have become a great platform for businesses to reach out to the public, and support business processes with their customers. As more businesses continue to develop their own mobile apps, this, in turn, has pressured many of their competitors to do the same in order to keep up with the trends.
Don’t make an app for the sake of making an app.
Too often do businesses commit resources into the development and implementation of their own mobile apps only for them to fail – simply because the function of the app was too trivial, or more complicated than the usual means. The main difference between success and failure lies on the relevancy of the app itself. A successful app makes a critical business process that a customer has to undertake more easy to use, more mobile, and faster.
How do I know if an app is ideal for my business?
Step 1 – Know what you want your app to do.
Decide what your app’s main purpose is before proceeding with any development. You might want to ask yourself these fundamental questions before creating an app:
- Will it help my customers/ users perform a task more easily?
- Will the app be helping to increase brand awareness?
- Can the app provide me with customer feedback?
- Does the app provide just entertainment or a service?
- Is the app created to perform a combination of all of the above?
Step 2 – Know your customer.
Does your target audience use the iPhone, Blackberry, or Android platform? Having a clear idea of what platforms you wish to release your apps on can help with better resource planning. However, providing apps are useless if the customer sees no need or want for it. It is therefore important to determine beforehand if your app:
- Provides any useful and/or valuable function specific to your target audience.
- Gives a location-based service that can only be relevant if he/she is on-the-move, for example: guiding your customer to your physical store
Step 3 – Stand out from the crowd.
There is a high probability that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of other apps on the market that provide the same type of service. Your app needs to have a unique feature or function that makes it easily identifiable and distinguishable from the rest.
Step 4 – Keep your apps updated.
Does your business require sending regular updates to your customers? If so, you’ll need to easily and effectively grab their attention repeatedly. So send small, bite-sized chunks of easily readable content rather than lengthy newsletters or electronic direct mail.
Developing an entirely new, custom-made application can be very cost-heavy. If you’re looking to first explore the viability of the app before investing resources, there are more cost-effective alternatives. SaaS applications such as ‘ShoutEm’ and ‘AppMakr’ make ideal options for businesses with limited resources to create basic applications at lower costs.
Remember, apps are good for your business, but only when given careful pre-planning and development. A successful, or at least notable, app needs to have the right goals and provide the right services. So if you have gone through the checklist mentioned above, and your application has all of the main points covered, you’re most likely headed in the right direction.
What do you think about apps? Are you currently using one? Let us know your experiences in the comment box below.
This article is part of a series about bring SME businesses onto the mobile platform. Click on the articles below to read more.
- SMEs go Mobile: Should you create a mobile app?
- SMEs go Mobile: How do you optimise your website for mobile visitors?
- SMEs go Mobile: Why a Mobile Presence Just Might Save Your Business (Infographic)