In the wake of significant movers and shakers like Amazon, mobile app technology is being effectively deployed by B2B and B2C businesses with helpful features that attract customers from all demographics. Here is how to turn this tool of business disruption into an advantage for your business.
If you read my previous article, Amazon’s Secret Weapon, then you already have a foundation for understanding why app technology is a game changer for many businesses.
According to worldwide research conducted by Accenture Mobility in 2015, the majority of top executives in all the key industries found apps to be critical to their business—especially in light of the digital eco-sphere that many corporations are building around customer experience and engagement.
Of course, today, app technology is commonly baked into the entire customer experience from significant product innovators like Tesla to everyday service providers such as utility companies. For many of us, app tech has been part of our daily lives going past ten years now. Most importantly, apps are often the way many customers prefer to engage today.
The Cost of App Development
Because it is so widespread, it is typical to make the mistake of thinking app technology is easy—which is pure fantasy—at least for enterprise applications that are making a difference in customer experience and engagement.
For example, the real cost of an app lies in the custom engineering required to make it do all those wonderful things that appear real-time on our screens. Many potential app buyers are shocked to learn that the average cost of a mobile app is $270,000, according to a recent survey, and development can take from seven months to more than a year.
But I have good news for SMBs. If you are determined to deliver a better customer experience, don’t let the high cost of typical app development faze you! If you are a small business enterprise, many useful apps can be developed for under $50K.
5 App Development Applications for SMBs
Here are some important points that your business needs to consider before discounting mobile app technology as a waste of capital. According to Mehul Rajput, CEO of Mindinventory, these are the 5 top mobile applications that SMBs can use internally and externally to enhance both customer and employee experience, convenience, loyalty, profitability, and productivity. Let’s see if you can identify with any of them.
- Customer Engagement (it’s about instant access to what’s important)
Mobile apps let customers (and employees) get access to needed and often secured information at their fingertips when and where they want it. As a result of reaching your customer anytime, anywhere, and on their terms, you build goodwill right into the experience. This kind of positive experience with your brand often leads to peer-to-peer recommendations and possibly a positive review. Since peer review and recommendation is the number one source for gaining a loyal customer across all demographics, this might be a more significant benefit than you had ever imagined. Most of all, app engagement doesn’t have to be flashy to be valued. Even more mundane tasks like account management or remote management of various assets can score big with clients.
- Promoting Products, Services & Discounts
With the use of a mobile app specific to your business, you can provide customers with accurate information about products or services, discount offers, etc., or entice them with personalized promotions that increase relevancy. If you are a retailer, an app installed on a smartphone opens the door to another possibility, too. It makes it possible to take advantage of in-store beacons that can trigger on-the-spot specials, announce events or contests, or maybe just as important, provide more personalization to the shopping or visitor experience.
- Facilitate Sales
You can also promote business sales by integrating a mobile shopping cart. If you already sell your products and services online, then a mobile app is likely your next best step to increasing sales, particularly as it provides your customers the flexibility and convenience to do things they would have otherwise done sitting at their desks. Undoubtedly this benefits retail, but B2B buyers also have similar needs when away from the office at a remote job location or wherever.
- Customer Service
Mobile applications provide customers a simple yet efficient way to get in touch with your business as you can include detailed information about your company, products & services, hours and direct contact through texting, phone, or email. Even more, request feedback and suggestions from your customers by merely inserting polls and surveys.
- Enhanced Customer Experience
Businesses can make the best use of apps like never before by personalizing some functions such as messaging, photo sharing, loyalty programs and push notifications that connect us to things we want or need to know.
Of course, there are many factors that can disrupt thriving businesses—even well established one with celebrated business models. However, most are not that relevant to small business concerns. Nevertheless, small businesses aren’t immune to disruption.
We considered a top disruptive technology that is the most important for SMBs to consider now and in the near future. Mobile apps can be a significant business tool for all kinds of reasons, and you may have an idea even now that can set your business apart. If so, share it with a trusted app developer who can give a “ballpark” estimate to turn your idea into reality. Then you can weigh its benefits to projected cost to see if it’s worth pursuing.
The big guys like Amazon cannot easily disrupt your business if your business is local and offers more than a shippable commodity. And when you combine your local business with the omnipresence of an app and all of the convenience that it provides customers, your business can give the best in customer service just like the big guys.
Maybe it’s time to brainstorm some ideas with a developer? An app unique to your brand could be just the edge you need to equalize the competition and propel your business forward.