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Should Your Small Business Create A Mobile App?

Should Your Small Business Create A Mobile App?

by Mark Swartz

 

More than 78% of Canadians own a smartphone. Mobile internet usage is expected to account for three quarters of total browsing this year. So how does your business take advantage of this?

Let’s assume your website is already responsive. It adjusts size whether viewed on PC, phone or tablet. The company’s social media strategy is working nicely too.

Adding a custom mobile app might be what you need. These branded bits of application software can now perform a wealth of tasks. Your customer (and employee) engagement could improve yet be surprisingly affordable.

 

About Customized Mobile Apps

Almost any kind of business can benefit from branded apps. Basically they are software designed to perform specific functions within a mobile device.

Your company’s version might manage customer loyalty programs. Or use location tracking to push localized offers. Marketing and sales are the primary purpose of customer-centric applications.

Users must download the application to their device, agree to the Terms of Use, and enable it. The app then runs in the background or requires manual switching on if desired.

 

Appointment Booking

Does your business offer personal services that require appointments? Your app could let the user schedule their preferred time from a list of available slots. That would trigger the sending of a confirmation message. Reminders could appear on their phone or tablet at pre-se intervals. Your staff is freed up to do more important jobs.

 

Localized Shopping Incentives

A shopkeepers dream: knowing exactly when a valued or potential customer is nearby, and issuing customized inducements to stop in and buy right now. It’s possible with an app that incorporates Location Based Services such as geofencing via GPS.

Customers are steered to your outlets with time-sensitive messages. These might include personalized ads, SMS alert texts, maps, mobile coupons, and other offers through push notification. 

 

Automated Customer Service

It’s possible you’re already using social media for customer service. Handling complaints. Processing refunds. Giving out detailed product and service information to answer customer questions.

The latest generation of apps can assist with this and more. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making its way into application software. It can guide consumers toward items best suited to their needs, add these to the shopper’s virtual cart, and allow the user to buy with one click.

 

Data Gathering And Analytics

An app is meant to reside in the device’s operating environment. While there it can pick up quite a bit of added information that doesn’t violate the user’s privacy. Like what? Type of device and operating system being used. Browser(s) employed.

Combine this info with custom link shorteners to gain pinpoint knowledge of how users interact with your online promotions, email campaigns, and other mobile marketing. 

 

Where To Get One Made

There are three common ways to get an app created for your small business. Supposing you lack an in-house IT department, try the following.

For inexpensive and simple designs, there is self-build software that guides you through each step. Not the do-it-yourself type? Hire a contractor using an online international freelancer marketplace. You provide the specs. They bid for your business. For complicated builds it’s advisable to hire a trusted IT firm expert in designing branded apps or in customizing off-the-shelf versions.

 

Keep Your Users App-Happy!

The branded application software you offer needs ongoing attention. It has to be monitored, repaired and upgraded at regular intervals.

Also important is responding fast to any problems with the app. Else savvy users (think Millennials and Gen Z) will probably vent frustrations via social media.

And to keep your company’s trustworthy reputation, under no circumstances use the app to spy on users. Leave their personal data untouched except for what’s explicitly stated – and agreed to – in your Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. 

Breach this and the only application you’ll be concerned with is the one you fill out to answer a law suit.