Apps are all the rage in 2021. As smart devices get more powerful, it means the scope of what can be included in an app has expanded as well, providing plenty of opportunities for businesses across all industries.
Consider these numbers; there are almost nine million active apps in the wild today that attracted 200 billion downloads in 2019 and $120 billion. It is a massive industry, and we understand why the businesses that haven’t signed up might be getting a severe case of FOMO.
Creating an app for your business isn’t a decision you should rush into, though. There are several factors to consider and costs involved, so running into the process could ultimately mean you lose money.
Can you afford an app?
The actual cost of building an app comes as a shock to some people. In Australia, it will cost anywhere between $50,000 and $250,000 depending on the type of app, the functions it will have, how polished you want it to be, and the skill and location of the development team.
These costs are dropping every year, but there is still an enormous amount of work required to create a high-quality, functioning app, and not every business has a spare $100,000 or more to drop on making this a reality.
You need to determine if this money will be an investment in your brand rather than an expense. If your new app will grow your audience, bring in new customers, and ultimately raise your profits, it is worth it. If you are creating an app just because you think you should or because your competition is doing it, you might need to explore ways to monetize your new app before leaping.
In a similar fashion to creating a business plan, it’s important to work out what your goals are in creating this app, and whether those goals will be worth the amount of time and resources it will take to create one that meets those needs. If you are already an established business, a good metric to keep in mind is how many of your users are already using your site on mobile, and whether you’d be able to provide a better user experience through a designated app than through your base browser site. This leads into another question:
Will your target audience even use an app?
The demographic you are selling to is essential. Are your customers actively using apps on smart devices? Do they prefer more of an old-school approach? Perhaps it is a combination of both, but if the majority of your customers aren’t using apps now, then they are unlikely to start using yours tomorrow.
Some sites and services are always going to be more suited to the smartphone experience than others, so it’s also valuable to see how other comparable apps are faring in the market to determine whether there are opportunities available for you.
Remember, you need to be solid enough so that your audience feels the need to keep your app installed on their device. Most of us are quite skeptical about keeping random apps installed on our phones. You can definitely run app-specific promotions to help with an initial boost, however, for the long term, you need to focus on providing value through your business app.
What value can you provide?
You don’t want a carbon copy of your website; you can make your business site mobile-friendly to achieve that. Your app needs to provide a function or service that provides value to customers and potential customers for it to be worthwhile. Some ideas include:
- Discounts or vouchers that are automatically sent to mobile devices when they get with a specific range of your brick and mortar store
- Online sales
- Personalized shopping experiences and recommendations
- Rewards programs, loyalty rewards, and exclusive promotions
- New technologies like augmented reality provide unique experience customers will want to brag about
- Fun ideas. For example, businesses that sell products or services aimed at children can include games and interactive elements that draw them to the app
Can you commit to it?
It is important to remember that once your app is built, that is not the end of your responsibility to it. Like your website, your app will require ongoing maintenance, upgrades, security patches, and changes based on your consumers’ feedback. Do you have the development team in-house or the budget to outsource this constant upkeep?
Once you have answered these questions and put together a robust business plan, your app can be a potent tool in competitive marketplaces. Just be sure to do your homework first.
Once you are done with all these basics, you are ready to rock with your business app.