There was a time when mobile presented a golden opportunity for businesses. It was 2008, and the app store was still a novelty. Since those first 500 apps that debuted, the mobile market has saturated. An app alone no longer proves innovation to a base of users constantly hunting for relevance.
While an app isn’t a cure-all, the ability to bridge the virtual and physical worlds with technology offers businesses the chance to increase and expand customer interaction with existing products. From solutions that allow you to control your warehouse temperature remotely to home security apps, IoT solutions help businesses create continued and evolving value for users.
So Your Business Needs a Mobile App? What to Consider Before Investing in Mobile and IoT Solutions
Businesses looking to take advantage of the mobile platform must no longer bend to the current flavor of innovation. Now they have options. Businesses can build a responsive website or a progressive web app. If a team is looking to release a rich experience across platforms with a single code base, Xamarin.Forms may hold the answer. If the product fit is right, they may even opt to join the rapidly growing IoT infrastructure.
Ask your team:
- Is an app the best way to reach your target audience?
- How much financial responsibility for the solution are you willing to assume?
- Do you plan to support multiple platforms on a relatively spartan budget.
- How could I re-imagine or grow existing functionality delivered through an app?
Still wondering whether a native app is right your your team? Here are 17 reasons it might be.
1. Embrace the Mobile & IoT Age
Back in 2014, MentorMate CEO Björn Stansvik discussed 3 major indications that the mobile era has indeed arrived. The post offers some valuable lessons explaining how businesses can benefit from the mobile era, and many of the lessons still ring true. Björn mentioned the prominence of Facebook, Apple, and Amazon. Since 2014, the sway of these companies has only grown. And, now Amazon has even more data (courtesy of Whole Foods) to mine. How do you stay ahead? Embrace this change and the possibilities it brings. Use it to your advantage. For many businesses, there’s no better way to do that than with your own mobile app.
2. Prepare for the Future
Apart from smartphones and mobile apps, the rush to mobile technology has given way to innovations like Google Glass, smartwatches, and beyond. It was reported this year by USA TODAY that Goodyear is testing the equivalent of a Fitbit for tires. Things are only moving forward toward greater uses for IoT and AI-enabled devices. Having a mobile app now would prepare you for the future enhancements and technologies that will be built or added to the platform.
3. Accelerate Product Innovation
Mobile apps open new business dimensions and opportunities because of the way they are used. Especially significant is the opportunity to put technology to work resolving customer issues and fulfilling client needs. This drives innovation and gives way to new products and services. Take for instance the smart fridge or ingestible medical diagnostic devices. Both alleviate consumer inconvenience by anticipating action, reducing the cognitive load, or improving the experience at hand. How could your business incorporate mobile or IoT technologies to create a more integrated, efficient, or user-centered experience?
4. Strengthen Your Brand Image
Your brand image is critical for your success. Without a mobile app or other technical capabilities, you might appear outdated or removed from modern trends. This can have an indirect impact on the performance and future prospects of your business. We’ve moved beyond the days of a mobile app alone as a differentiator. For many consumers, it’s an expectation. Set your business apart by using mobile to connect the dots for your users, creating a more streamlined experience by enhancing current capabilities or through decreased fragmentation.
5. Boost Your Website Traffic
Apple’s app store and Google Play receive millions of hits every day. If your app is properly optimized for the app store, not only can you attract more downloads, but also route highly-targeted traffic to your website and get backlinks from high authority pages. There’s an art and a science to app store optimization. Selecting and placing the right keywords at the right frequency sets a course to more visibility and potential exposure for your business. While it may be easy to launch your app and forget about it, the key to using the mobile marketplace to boost website traffic requires committed maintenance.
6. Open New Revenue Channels
If you want to, you can directly monetize your app and open new revenue channels for your business. Apps can be monetized through in-app advertisements, by attaching a price tag to the app or by introducing paid features within the app. Photo-editing apps frequently use this strategy. Often a beginner set of filters or edits will be available for all who have downloaded it. Showing your users the full set available “sets the hook” and increases desire. Yet, because these features are usually offered in palatable, incremental purchases, they are tempting without a price tag that deters purchase.
7. Get Priceless Customer Insights
One of the biggest benefits of mobile apps is the volume of detailed customer data that you can gather through them. You can identify your most profitable and promising regions, demographic segments, customer needs, and overall app performance. All this knowledge and data can be used to make product enhancements, identify new business opportunities, and develop new and products or features that meet customer needs.
8. Offer a Faster, Seamless Experience
Both Apple and Google app stores have minimum speed requirements to list mobile apps. This ensures a quicker and smoother experience for users resulting in more action and higher engagement levels. Frequent and thoughtful testing is the key to maintain a best-in-class experience that attracts and converts users. Keeping pace with major platform events and using these test tools can help.
9. Fold in Social Media Platforms
Social networking is deeply connected with smartphones. Mobile apps are an ideal platform to involve social circles of the users through different features and options. Information management has become a key part of users’ lives. They memorize or store passwords. They manage complex ecosystems of content publication every day just to stay connected with family and friends. Anything businesses can do to create continuity and cohesion for users will undoubtedly engender appreciation. Consider including Facebook or Twitter credentials to allow users to sign in to your solution. When your users are greatful, see brand loyalty spike.
10. Be Where Your Customers Are
The most important people for your business are your customers. Depending on their reaction to your product, they can be the biggest advocates or most painful adversaries. Regardless, you can’t distance yourself from them. Their needs, challenges, and barriers must play a central role in any innovation you consider. Most of your customers are avid smartphone users. In 2018, there will be 2.53 billion smartphone users worldwide. Mobile apps consume a major portion of their daily routines. Why not take advantage of this channel?
11. Provide More Product Value
Mobile apps can help you deliver your products and services in a much more effective and timely manner. Highlight and promote the most valuable aspects of your product or services through your app and increase their effectiveness with tailored options and features.
12. Increase Customer Engagement
A staggering 83% of all smartphone users begin their day by looking at their smartphones and using different apps. And, according to CNN, the average American accumulates 10 hours of screen time daily. The level of engagement mobile apps receive is several times higher than normal websites. With an intelligently-developed and designed mobile app, you can benefit from this opportunity.
13. Drive More Action
With increased engagement comes increased action. Mobile apps are far ahead of other mediums when it comes to driving targeted action from users. Whether you want users to buy a particular product or sign up for a new service, mobile apps are your best chance. Why? Mobile and tablet screens generally offer less real estate than a laptop or desktop computer. This constraint can work as an advantage delivering pared-down versions of existing websites designed to elicit precise user movements.
14. Make Your Presence Felt
Consumers live in a state of near-constant option paralysis. They aren’t just deciding between a few choices. Whether that are purchasing a product or selecting a vendor, customers have an ever-increasing pool to explore, vet, and select. Your mobile app will keep reminding users about you. Even when they’re offline or using other apps, they will regularly view your app icon in their app list. This would always keep you at the forefront of your customers’ mind.
15. Leverage Word-of-Mouth Marketing
The increase in the value of word-of-mouth marketing is one of the most significant outcomes of the mobile era. Buying decisions are much more influenced by recommendations from close friends and trusted contacts. If your mobile app has frequent users, they’re much more likely to recommend your company to their circles of influence.
16. Make Your Business Location Independent
With a comprehensive mobile app, your business instantly becomes location independent allowing you, your employees, and your customers to stay in touch across vast distances and time zones. While this may have been enough to attract and retain customers just a few years ago, increasingly consumers expect the services your businesses offers to be remote too. Enter IoT capabilities. This might include monitoring contractors at a job site or even controlling a manufacturing line from hundreds of miles away.
17. Explore New Product Dimensions with Location Tracking
By including location tracking in your mobile app, you open the door to new ways of targeting customers for different marketing campaigns and driving increased action from them. Some of the most successful shopping apps use location-based notifications to alert users about the latest discounts and deals available at their nearby stores.
Summing It Up
As businesses look to add IoT capabilities to existing apps, many express concern about the cost to find and retain such skilled talent. More and more businesses are turning to European teach hubs including Bulgaria to source flexible, project-based talent for limited term roll-outs or ongoing support. Think your business can’t go remote? Think again.
Image Source: Samuel Zeller