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  • Timothy Lord

Knowing the Right Time to Develop Your Small Business App

No doubt, the use of mobile devices and e-commerce have immensely influenced the growth of businesses today. With most consumers having access to mobile internet, small businesses have shifted to online marketing for better engagement and a wider audience reach. They take advantage of their markets' mobile phone dependency, which has increased further for the past years. Seeing the positive impacts of e-commerce these days, more businesses and brands employ digital marketing strategies to sell their products.


This is where mobile applications (apps for short) come in handy.


With the emergence of the mobile internet, traditional marketing has evolved into a more efficient and even cheaper process to promote a business. It also opened bigger and more convenient avenues for the consumers to connect to their preferred products and services. These avenues are mobile apps, and they are one of the most profitable ways for any business to launch its brand. Aside from that, the benefits, which they give, can also increase sales, improve customer service, and make businesses more competitive.


Is your small business ready for an app-grade?


The simplest answer is that it depends on the current status of your business. Is it popular? Does it have a massive following? Can it become more profitable with an app? But before we delve deeper into that answer, let's first define what a mobile application is and how it differs from a web application.


Mobile App versus Web App


A mobile application or just an app is application software that runs on any mobile device like smartphones, smartwatches, and tablet computers. It is downloaded from an app store like Google Play and Apple's App Store, and it is immediately seen on the device's screen after downloading.


Meanwhile, a web application is like a website, but its program is designed to fit the screens on mobile devices. One good example of its usage is that if you can't download a certain app on your phone, you can access it through a browser if it has a web app version. Most businesses now have developed both applications, usually after creating a website.


Between the two, mobile apps are more convenient than web apps because of their easy and convenient accessibility. They also have additional features and are automatically upgraded to enhance their performances.


How do you know if your business is ready?


Similar to making a website, it is an investment to develop a mobile app. It requires time and money, which means that you need to be invested once you decide to have an app for your small business. But how do you know if you're ready? Well, your small business is ready for an app if you're confident enough that it will be successful. It's fairly subjective, but here is a checklist that can help you decide whether launching an app is a green light or not.


What type of business do you have? If your business is related to online shopping, educational or informative platforms, banking, traveling, or social networking, you need to consider developing a mobile app. It will be easier for your market to access and browse the products and services if your business is just one click away from them. It is also more interactive with the features that you have curated for your customers. If you venture into online gaming, gambling, or trading, then your audience or players will have a much better gaming experience than playing it on a website.


Do you have loyal customers? Mobile apps can be a necessity if you have loyal customers. They want to know what's new directly from you, and an app is an effective way to notify them. Your business can even grow to greater heights with an app. According to several reports, customers spend more time browsing through mobile apps than on websites. In effect, the sales or orders also increase through the apps. But this isn't only about loyal customers. With mobile apps, conversion rates are three times higher than on websites. It means that your small business can have more loyal customers if you have an app.


Does your small business require certain features? Many consumers are on their smartphones, and that should give you an idea if your small business needs features that work on a smart device. Most apps are developed to be compatible with smartphone features. Sometimes, the distinct features of a phone are the inspiration behind the app's creation. For example, iPhones have unique camera features that can be enhanced with special apps exclusively downloaded for iPhone users. In other cases, you can create a different app that makes customer engagement more interesting. You can create features like trial mode, wishlists, and special games. If these add-ons become successful, your business will have more customers.


The pros and cons of creating mobile apps for your business


As previously mentioned, developing an app is an investment, one that should not be decided within a day. Apart from the list above, it is also important to consider the pros and cons of creating an app for your small business.


Hey! It's not only about the good sides. There are also bad sides, and you have to know if your business is ready to face the disadvantages that come along with developing an app. To give you a heads-up, here are the pros and cons of building apps.


Pros


A better bridge between businesses and customers. Since apps are downloadable, customers can easily access your business through their mobile phones. It saves time. Once they open your app, the users directly see the products or services that you offer. If your business is a retail store, you provide a convenient way for your customers to shop. They don't have to go to a physical store because you have already provided the items through your business app.


Cheaper avenue for marketing. This is very true. With an app, you can promote or market your business directly to your customers' mobile devices. Features like in-app notifications and push notifications are designed to notify the users about your new products and services, upcoming sales, promos, and discounts. It is safe and economical.


Strengthens your brand. Because customers are on their phones every day, they can also see your business logo every day. In effect, they remember your brand easily, even if they don't access the app on a daily basis. Apps also help build trust. The more they interact with your app, the higher the chances they trust your brand, leading to successful sales and profits.


Increases customers and sales. In connection with the previous point, developing an app for your small business can increase the business sales and number of your customers. Once they see the convenience in using your app, they will remain loyal to you and even recommend your app to other people, resulting in more orders and profits. In a way, the app users don't only become your loyal customers, but they can also help you in marketing your business to other prospects. It's definitely a big win for you.


Enhances communication and customer service. Most apps (if not all) feature a contact page where customers can easily access. Whenever they have questions or concerns to raise, the app's contact page is the best way to get in touch with you. Others have a pop-up chat room where customer service representatives are available to assist the users any time of the day.


Cons


Expensive. Although apps provide a cost-effective platform for marketing, everything about the development of a mobile app is downright expensive. First, you need to think about developing at least two versions of the app; one compatible with Android phones and the other with iOS. Second, there is a high cost for the process itself, which is complicated and time-consuming. Third, maintenance and upgrades are necessary to keep the app working, and they also have separate costs. You may also need to hire a team of app developers, and that means additional expenses. Are you ready for that?


Shared profits. Unless you build your own app store, a part of the profits that you acquire from app downloads or payments made through the app will be taken by the app stores. It's like your payment for renting some space in their stores. It's even more heartbreaking because the amount is at least 30 percent of what your app has earned.


Different platforms for mobile app development


With the assumption that your business is ready for an app-grade, the next step is to find a place to jump-start the app development. For your convenience, here is a random list of some of the best platforms that can help you build the app for your small business.


Mobile Roadie. First on the list is Mobile Roadie, an app creator that lets you build and manage your own app, which either runs on Android or iOS devices. It supports all types of media, and it can automatically import keywords related to Google News, RSS, and Twitter. One of the best things about Mobile Roadie is that you can see the process as you build the app.


Appy Pie. Considered one of the top choices, Appy Pie boasts of a drag-and-drop interface. It allows you to add essential features like AI and chatbots. But it is also a user-friendly platform where you can create apps without coding. A wide range of tools are available at your disposal, and you can publish the app on your preferred app store.


Appery.io. A cloud-based app creator, Appery.io allows you to create Android and iOS apps. It lets you access other open-source app frameworks like Ionic, jQuery, and Apache Cordova. Like Appy Pie, it also has a drag-and-drop interface that makes it easier for you to create the app. It generates the codes automatically, saving you from coding. And since Appery.io is cloud-based, you don't have to download or install anything. You can start the project immediately.


Zoho Creator. This app creator does not only let you build a new app, but it also allows you to modify a pre-made app. Zoho Creator is designed for businesses that aim to simplify and expedite multiple tasks. The app you create in this platform can have functions suited for logistics, sales and management, accounting, inventory, recruitment, and time tracking, to name a few.

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