Does Your Business Need an App?

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By Boris Dzhingarov

It seems like every business has an app these days – and for good reason! No doubt, some of those apps are much more functional than others. However, while some apps are lame ducks, others are strokes of genius. When they are done right, the potential rewards are…appstonishing…ahem.

Make Your Business More Accessible

One of the most compelling reasons for investing in the development of an app for your business is that it makes your business more accessible to consumers. Having an app for your business on the app store will increase your visibility and may lead to people discovering your business, people who would otherwise never have come across it.

Businesses of all sizes can improve their visibility by releasing their own app. It is a persistent myth that an app is only worth it for large businesses that already have a big built-in user base. In actual fact, a well-made app can form the cornerstone of a smaller business growth strategy.

Not only can an app get your business noticed, but it can also play an important role in encouraging new customers to turn into regulars, instead of using your business once and then forgetting about it. By offering discounts to anyone who downloads the app and then buys something from you, you can easily ensure that most people using your business for the first time will download your app. From this point on, you have a much better chance of sticking in their minds and retaining them as customers.

Improve Customer Engagement

Once a customer has downloaded your app, they are much more likely to use your business. If your business also operates out of physical retail outlets, augmenting the experience with an app can lead to some pretty amazing results with regards to your customer engagement. Many businesses have discovered the power of combining their loyalty card with their app. By doing away with the physical loyalty card and replacing it with an app that can be scanned at the checkout, businesses can get people opening and using their app on a regular basis.

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If you also push some unique discounts to your app users to sweeten the deal, you’ll give them even more reason to keep checking in to see what’s new. Don’t waste this prime opportunity to put your message in front of them, whatever that message may be.

There are a few methods as effective for establishing and encouraging long-term engagement from your customers. If you are looking for a method that will produce a sustained increase in the interactions between you and your users and customers, your own app is the perfect way to do it.

Talk Directly With Your Customers

You can use your app to push any message that you want to your users. Of course, if you keep bombarding them with useless notifications, then all but your most die-hard and technologically illiterate fans will soon disable notifications. You need to strike a careful balancing act. You want people to see your updates and read them, but you don’t want to update people so often that they find it annoying.

Depending on your user base, you might even find that it is best to let customers come to you. Instead of pushing regular updates to your app uses, you could instead wait until they use the app to make a purchase or look up information, and then gently remind them of any important updates.

Offer A Personalized Experience

It is hard to overstate just how effective even basic personalization is encouraging customer engagement with your business. An app enables you to personalize the user experience in a plethora of different ways. If the customer has an account with your business, you can easily address them by their first name, and show them offers and news that are relevant to the area they live in.

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Similarly, if they are willing to share their location data with you then you can use this to direct them to the nearest outlet and to alert them if they are near one of your stores. You can even offer them special discounts if they go to your store with the app in their hands. By personalizing the experience, you will make the customer feel as if they are having a genuine interaction with your app and they are just directed towards making a purchase.

Open New Revenue Streams

Releasing a custom app for your business that enables users to make purchases directly will open up an entirely new revenue stream for you. If you present people with another avenue through which they can give you money, it’s pretty much guaranteed that at least some of them will take you up on it. If you play your cards right when it comes to your business app, it can rapidly turn into one of your most significant and reliable revenue streams.

Much like a blog on your website, if you can make a business app that is successful on its own terms, you can monetize it in a variety of ways. The most obvious way would be through advertising. By displaying banner ads or similar, just as you would on your website, you can bring in some serious cash if enough people are using your app. Of course, if you make this too obtrusive then you will ultimately just induce people to uninstall your app, which would be counterproductive.

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Gather And Track Useful Data

It’s impossible to overstate the power that data offers to businesses today. The main limiting factor is gathering the data to begin with; this is something that small businesses have often found difficult to do for themselves. But with more people going digital when it comes to doing their shopping, they have never been more opportunities for even the smallest businesses to begin tracking and gathering key metrics.

Of course, you will have to ask your users permissions before you can begin gathering the data and sending it back to yourself. However, even if the majority of your users decline your request, something that doesn’t tend to happen in the real world, you can still make a fantastic return on your investment.

In short – yes! Your business absolutely needs its own app. Maybe in the very first days of trading, you will have more important things to focus on. But the benefits of an app for you and your customers are too great to ignore.