When you hear people talk about mobile apps, it’s easy to forget that the likes of Facebook and WhatsApp are "super apps" – concepts so innovative that they are life-changing and become businesses in their own right.
Existing businesses don’t need to aim for such an ambitious outcome when there are smaller, but no less suitable, opportunities right in front of them.
How would a mobile app benefit my business?
There are lots of ways your business could benefit from a bespoke mobile app. In many cases, it’s about improving customer or stakeholder relationships.
Apps are about functionality: taking a business process and improving it
Identify an existing process that customers find frustrating – perhaps something that’s slow, unreliable or inconvenient – and, with the help of an app, transform that process into something quicker, dependable and easy.
If you’re unsure whether you have this opportunity within your business, start by talking to your important stakeholders: customers and employees.
Ask them which processes they find tiresome or protracted. What wastes their time?
Each area of pain for them is an opportunity for you to build loyalty, which will improve repeat business and employee retention.
An app is a significant benefit to your business as you have a direct line of communication with people important to your organisation...
We already have a website; why do we need an app as well?
Websites and apps play a different role within a business. While your website is likely to be customer-facing, promoting your goods and services and encouraging would-be customers to make contact, an app will have a more defined, narrower focus.
Apps are about functionality: taking a business process and improving it. Websites focus more on promotion and marketing and, although websites include functional elements, the purpose of a website differs.
Apps: the natural advantage
Adults are rarely without their mobile phones and they use them many times throughout the day. This means that your mobile app, once installed on your customers’ or employees’ devices, is permanently available at their fingertips.
This is significant. It gives you a direct line of communication with people important to your organisation. Within a couple of touches of their screen, they can be interacting with your business. And by using push notifications*, you get their attention immediately and directly. There are few opportunities in business to be in such close proximity to your most important people... perhaps now is the time to take advantage?
* a push notification is the SMS-like message that flashes up on a mobile device when an app wants your attention.