In 2013, Ikea introduced its interactive mobile app powered by AR – augmented reality and opened our eyes to the infinite potential of mobile applications.
Fast forward to 2018, the scope of mobile applications is no longer limited to big brands or retail giants. Small businesses are also jumping the opportunity to leverage the benefits this platform has to offer. The digital ecosystem has transformed drastically over the past few years and mobile phones are the leaders of this revolution. With over 2.5 billion smartphone users in the world, it only makes sense for businesses to establish their presence on this platform.
However, a strong presence requires more than a friendly website. Mobile apps can help you take user engagement and experience to a whole new level.
If you think your business doesn’t need an app yet, because of its size, niche, or any other reason, it’s time to think again!
It’s Time to Get Future Ready
With the focus shifting to IoT and AI, our future will be controlled by smart devices. It is highly likely that our mobile phones will become the central device connecting us to every other object and entity around us. The only way to stay ahead is to equip yourself with the right tools and technology.
A mobile app will help you establish a powerful presence on a platform that will drive the future of your business, or any business for that matter. The fact that you are a small business makes it even more important a tool. The growing pace and magnitude of the competition will affect you more than the big fishes. Gear up with the right technology in your arsenal. When it comes to survival, your size really doesn’t matter. You need to be prepared.
Use Your App to Boost Sales
Every business can use a mobile app to increase sales. With mobile apps, you can offer your customers a more personalized experience and a simpler and shorter path through your sales funnel. For an eatery, a mobile app allows the customers to place an order without calling the restaurant. Frankly, no one likes making those awkward calls where you have to spell everything multiple times. So, your app will help you tap into the market of customers who aren’t comfortable with other sales channels you offer. And that’s a win.
A simple app can offer similar benefits to retail stores as well. We have numerous examples of brands such as Zara and Rebecca Minkoff boosting their sales with their apps. Zara, which claims a tremendous increase in sales with its original retail app, is now set to offer in-store AR experience via a mobile app. So, there is a reason those giants are investing in apps; if you want to catch up, you have to keep up.
Make More Money with Apps
An increase in sales isn’t the only way your mobile app adds to your revenue stream. Just like a website, there are several ways to monetize your mobile app. For a small business, of course, it does not make much sense to offer a paid app. That will just shrink your user base, obliterate it even. However, you can generate an income through in-app ads. Depending on how relevant the ads are, mobile app ads have to potential to bring millions in revenue.
Once your app has earned enough users, you can introduce premium features for a small price or a premium version of an app with more features.
Another way you can earn money through your app is by selling useful but non-identifiable data to survey and research company. While it is illegal to sell user related info and personal data, data that tracks user behavior and buying patterns can be shared with no legal risk. This data is used only to understand the market, predict trends, forecast demand, and improve the overall customer experience.
Offer a Rewarding Experience
Brand loyalty isn’t built upon mobile-optimized websites and addictive apps; you earn it by treating your customers nicely. With a mobile app, you can offer a rewarding experience every time they interact with the app. You can offer in-app points for every purchase they make. You can also reward them for referring other users. You will be surprised by how many new users one happy customer can bring.
There is no end to the number of ways you can use an app to show you care. From feedback on sales to birthday offers, your app can interact with the users much like a dedicated customer support representative.
Use Your App for Retargeting
How do you tell a customer they have an item in their cart waiting to be purchased? With a mobile app, it is just a matter of one notification. Most mobile apps allow a two-way interaction where you have the freedom to reach them in case they have forgotten about you. It won’t be wrong to say retargeting is one of the strongest pros of mobile applications.
Through your app, you can always invite them back to check out products that might interest them. This is where data analysis comes into play. Your app can provide an insight into any user purchase patterns and predict the products they might be interested in.
Many brands a ‘welcome back’ incentive for those who have not used the app for a while. If that doesn’t help retention, we don’t know what will.
Mobile apps may sound like an investment but not having one can be risky. A major portion of your target market relies on their mobile phones not just for finding a business but also to interact with them. No matter how small a business you are, if you don’t have a strong mobile presence, you are literally feeding your prospects to your competitors. Your mobile app can prevent that from happening. Use the good coding practices and you will watch your small business grow into a strong brand.
Sohail Rupani is a senior SEO strategist at PNC Digital, a digital marketing agency based in Orlando. He specializes in SEO and SEM techniques. He is passionate about technology and loves to analyze the tech industry in his spare time and stay in touch with the latest happenings. He also writes technical articles about SEO and digital marketing. Follow @sohailrupani for more updates.