In August 2019, there were around 2.5 million apps in the Google Play store and around 2 million in the Apple app store. In addition, by 2020, apps are expected to be creating around £472 billion of revenue. Given that 90% of time spent on mobile phones is thought to be using a mobile app, it’s not unreasonable for companies to assume that a mobile app would benefit their business growth.
The premise of a mobile app is to take your services (including those on display on your website) and make them into a less complicated and more easily navigable customer experience – for example, by reducing what may be a two-step enquiry process on the website to a one-step process on the app.
Besides this, mobile apps allow businesses to have a direct access route to customers other than through social media or a website. Push notifications can inform customers of incentives, promotions and events directly.
An app also enables the connection of a business and its social media presence. Twitter and Instagram are easily set up allowing customers to share brand information and experiences with each other and a business. Nevertheless, this is only an effective tool if customers and clients are aware of it and understand the potential of the app’s use – time and budget must be spent marketing the app and highlighting its benefits for the user.
Obviously, once the app is ready to go live it doesn’t mean that the development work stops – maintenance and service work will continue. To keep the app operational, a developer will run updates, test for any potential security breaches, and ensure that the app remains compliant with iOS and Android software rules.
So, a company must be fairly sure they will recoup the cost of developing an app through sales for it to make sense. As mobile apps are usually developed for Android and Apple, it can be an expensive process – especially if the app has any functionality that differs from the website. An app cost-benefit analysis would be prudent before proceeding.
It has been estimated that small businesses are likely to see revenues increasing twice as fast as competitors by using mobile apps. If a business knows its target audience, then developing a mobile app may be the ideal way to engage with them further and more profitably.