Do you need an app for that? With the widespread penetration and usage of mobile, it is no wonder mobile apps are all the rage. Studies show that in 2015 alone, user downloads for iOS apps totaled 25 billion while android app downloads totaled 50 billion! We have certainly seen a huge rise in requests for mobile apps at Jiggle Digital.
The numbers are mouthwatering, but should you jump on the bandwagon just yet? Here, we’ll explore the benefits of developing a native app for your business and what you should consider to make it a worthwhile investment.
Given the considerable investment that goes into developing an app, you might think that native apps are better left to the big brands. The good news is, if you have a worthwhile product and a customer base, you are never too small for an app. While having a mobile-friendly site is a great step in the right direction, an app can confer additional benefits to your customers and to your overall marketing strategy.
A native app can help to:
Going by the number of downloads at any given time, apps play an essential role in how the mobile consumer lives, works and plays. Apps simplify the shopping experience, they help to bring order to disorganized daily schedules, they entertain, and they make it easy to access information. Consumers are looking for brands that can bring all these benefits to their lives and a native app is a great way to provide your customers the value they desire. By serving your customers in this way, you are building recognition, loyalty and value for your brand all along.
How often do customers hear from you or interact with your website using their mobile devices? While studies show that customers spend up to 2.8 hours a day on their phone, there is also widespread evidence that our online attention spans are becoming shorter and shorter.
Look at a native app as a way to thoroughly engage your customers in those (almost) three hours of mobile time. Apps are packed with numerous entertaining functionalities that even a mobile site cannot offer.
Here are a few ideas. From using your website to take pictures of your products, receiving notifications of nearby sales, checking in to their favorite stores, providing feedback, finding the best prices based on one’s social influence to virtually trying on makeup, clothes, shoes etc. before committing to a purchase. An app can do this and so much more and in effect keep your brand visible front, back and center while allowing you to stand out from your competitors.
Apps are more than shiny objects that entertain and simplify our lives—they can also be effective marketing channels when used effectively.
The idea here is not to use your app purely for outright marketing; instead, you want to leverage all the different functions of the app to gradually encourage customers into the sales channel. Apps can let you communicate directly with customers through the messenger function, they offer the opportunity to disseminate crucial information such as prices and ongoing sales and through push notifications, they let you keep your customers updated about special news, promotions and general information.
Even with all these benefits, there is no guarantee that a native mobile app will impact your business positively. Some crucial factors to consider when deciding whether you need an app include:
Your target audience- Studies show that those aged between 18 and 24 years spend the most time on apps but an increasingly older audience are also starting to use them more. Before plunging cash down into developing an app, consider who your target audience is. Who will download your app? Do they need it at all and will they use it?
What’s the purpose- Did you know that 77 percent of consumers stop using an app within three days of downloading? Does your app serve a unique purpose that does not duplicate what is already available? Does it contribute to your overall marketing goals and specific objectives? Do not build an app just for the sake of it—if it does not add any significant value to your customers and to your business objectives, you probably don’t need an app for that.
The budget- Developing an excellent app is not a cheap affair any way you look at it. Is this a plunge your business is ready to take? Do you have a solid bottom line to support such an investment? Will developing an app contribute to your business bottom line in the short-term or long term?
Whether your business needs an app is a decision that should be made after considering all of the above. Just because everyone is doing it does not mean you need one right away. But when implemented strategically, developing an app could just be the break your business has been waiting for.