According to global market intelligence firm IDC, annual mobile app downloads are projected to increase to 183 billion by 2015. Over 29 billion apps were downloaded in 2011, up from 9 billion in 2010. Small businesses can reap the benefits of these app downloads by creating a mobile app in a way that serves customers and showcases your brand.
The IDC said that app developers are taking advantage of this upward trend by incorporating mobile advertising, in-app purchasing, and mobile commerce into these apps. Whether you choose to hire an app developer, or to create the app yourself, thinking about what your app will do is vital. Your app shouldn’t be a carbon copy of your online experience, but ought to serve a specific function that caters to your mobile customers.
For example, if you’re a home cleaning company, you could create an app that offers home cleaning tips, or lets customers book their next home cleaning appointment. If you’re an auto repair shop, you’re app can allow customers to schedule their maintenance, or to see when their car is ready. If you’re an ice cream shop, you’re app can offer coupons, or let customers in on a special discount or reward. Apps are not only good for obtaining new customers, but in retaining current customers as well.
Keep in mind that your app should not try to accomplish everything, but should do just one or two things well for your customers. These one or two things should also be something that works well in the mobile sphere, such as an offer, or a click to call function. An app also needs to be as good, if not better, than the online and/or brick-and-mortar experience. If not, then you put your business at risk of losing customers, as they expect the app to be as good as the “off-app” experience. After all, with so many apps and app downloads, competitors are bound to have their own app on the market as well. If your app doesn’t provide a great experience, your customers will always have the choice to use your competitor’s app.
With mobile marketing on the rise, and so many people relying on mobile devices, an app will certainly reach your customer base, no matter what that customer base is. With so many people downloading so many apps, small businesses certainly would want to get an app on the marketing in order to broaden the customer experience to the mobile sphere.