Apps aren’t just for entertainment anymore. Businesses of all sizes now use mobile apps to build stronger, more meaningful customer relationships and to drive sales. If your app has a clear mission and a strong user base, a mobile app can be an incredibly valuable tool for growing your business.
Apps and Today’s Smartphone Users
By 2014, more people are expected to access the Web via mobile devices than by desktop computers, and mobile apps are an increasingly significant part of that equation. Mobile apps are Internet-based applications designed to run on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Since Apple introduced its app store, users have downloaded over 25 billion apps for Apple products alone.
In 2011, about 73 percent of smartphone users reported using apps (when available) versus desktop computers for common tasks, including researching and purchasing products and services. Since then, that number has risen to 81 percent. An estimated 62 percent of smartphone shoppers make mobile purchases at least once a month, and over 31 percent of mobile users say they plan to make even more mobile purchases in the future. This represents an exciting opportunity for businesses of all types.
Better Serve Your Customers
Mobile apps work best when geared toward customers who are already familiar with your brand. As opposed to a mobile website, an app allows you to provide customers with a more personalized experience and added convenience.
With a mobile app, you can:
- Facilitate ordering your product or service
- Offer one-touch access to contact information and GPS-based directions to your store from anywhere
- Make it easy for customers to find the products they’re looking for
- Allow app users to easily schedule appointments or request service
- Send appointment and service reminders
- Offer one-on-one chat with a customer service rep or support technician
By using an app to serve your customers in these and other creative ways, you’ll build brand loyalty. As long as your app provides something of value, and your customers are made aware of it, they will use it.
Drive Home Your Message
By providing something of value (i.e., convenience and enhanced customer service), you earn the right to communicate more directly with your customers. In this way, an app can also be an effective marketing tool. Because an app allows you to deliver notifications, you can make customers aware of special promotions, discounts, events and product launches without worrying about getting caught in their spam filters.
A well thought-out, useful app can also be a great way to distinguish your business from your competition. If it’s easier or more enjoyable to access your product or service from a smartphone, as compared to your competitors’, customers will naturally gravitate toward your business.
Support Your Team
Mobile apps aren’t just for your customers. They can also be used to empower your own team members. An app can act as an accessible, convenient resource for employee training. It can allow field workers to generate personalized quotes, check inventory, schedule service, accept payments or request immediate customer assistance. An app can make your employees more productive in the field while enabling them to serve your customers wherever they are, a difference both your employees and customers will appreciate.
Whatever the primary function of your mobile app, it will eliminate one important barrier to usage: physical location. A mobile app makes your products or services accessible from anywhere at any time, opening the door to increased sales and the brand loyalty your company needs for long-term success.