We wrap up our “Bet Ya Didn’t Know We Did That” series with a deep dive into the world of mobile app development. Mobile apps aren’t for everyone but an app may be just what your business needs to thrive in 2020. Don’t write it off because you assume it wouldn’t make sense or be too expensive.
We’ve seen trends come and go over the years, but apps are a trend that’s become a mainstay in the marketing world. Eighty-one percent of Americans own a smartphone and 204 billion apps were downloaded world-wide in 2019 and is expected to continue growing by the tens of billions in the coming years.
These stats may have you wondering if your business could benefit from developing your own mobile app. On the other hand, you may not even be considering it because you don’t think your business would benefit from this kind of tech. We think apps are worth a closer look. Let’s explore the idea a little further and see if building a smartphone app is the marketing tool you’ve been waiting for.
Does Your Business Need a Mobile App?
One of the lesser known services we offer our customers is mobile application development for smartphones and tablets. We build apps for iOS and Android and have watched businesses generate leads and do more business with apps than with their website alone. In fact, one of our clients operates all of its business through the custom app we built for them.
But before we get into specifics, let’s talk about when an app may not be right for your business. It can feel a bit fancy or impressive to have an app for your business. But sometimes what your business needs isn’t an app but a mobile-friendly website.
Responsive Website or Smartphone App or Both?
If you’re researching the pros and cons of smartphone app development, you must consider the mobile responsivity of your current website. Responsive website design ensures that your website displays properly on smartphones. In other words, you shouldn’t have to squint or turn the phone sideways to read website content on the smaller screen. Beyond readability, responsive design includes the functionality of your website on mobile devices. If your website doesn’t function the same on the phone as it does on the regular computer, it’s probably lacking some level of responsive design.
So before we have the mobile app discussion, we need to review your current website and make sure that it’s performing as it should on smartphones and tablets. If it isn’t, fixing your website’s responsiveness issues may solve many problems at once and eliminate the desire for a mobile app. Plus, it is much more affordable to ensure your website is meeting your customer’s needs in a mobile-friendly way than it is to build an app.
Mobile Apps Benefit Mobile Businesses
Generally speaking, if you can get it done with a well-designed responsive website, we’d advise you spend your marketing dollars there rather than on smartphone apps. But depending on the kind of product or service you offer, an app may make business run more efficiently for you and your customers. The obvious benefit of designing your own mobile app is giving your customers easier access to your products and services on-the-go, especially if your customers need to connect with you on mobile devices as easily as they can from a PC.
Bloom’d—Mobile Beauty for a New Generation
Bloom’d, is a mobile beauty service that is redefining how cosmetology services are advertised, requested, and provided by the beauty industry. Think Uber-esque user experience but for hair and nail appointments. Bloom’d connects beauty service providers with customers through the app we created, allowing customers the convenience of having the provider come to them. Too busy for a cut? No time for that manicure? Need a close shave? Hop on over to the Bloom’d app and schedule a stylist to come to you. After successfully launching in Washington, DC and L.A., Bloom’d is now recognized as a top app by wedding site theknot.com.
For Bloom’d, an app actually makes more sense than a website because the entire brand is built on mobility—the idea of on-demand beauty services that come to you. Therefore, the process by which these services are advertised and requested must be more than just mobile friendly. Bloom’d thrives on the mobile app platform because the brand they’re building is mobile at its core and the functionality driving the app they’ve created underscores the company’s commitment to customer convenience. This is an instance where an app can do more for the company than a website alone could do.
It’s All About the Code
The ones and zeros that bring mobile apps and websites to life can often accomplish very different purposes. If you want to create an unusual customer experience that requires pulling info from multiple sources, an app may be the better tech for the job. The real estate industry is another good example of mobile apps out-performing websites. If you’ve ever searched for a new home, you’ve likely used one of the popular reality websites out there. And if you are like us, you quickly grew to prefer using the app rather than the website. This is because you can do different things with the code running mobile apps than the code that drives the websites. Apps definitely have their place when the technical details driving the experience can’t be executed the same way on a website.
Sunnyway Foods—Strengthening Customer Relationships
Known for its strong roots in the community and its commitment to providing the best service to its loyal customers, the owners of Sunnyway Foods are always looking for opportunities to deepen these personal connections. Providing the mobile-generation with an app established more on-ramps for customers to connect with their products and services.
One of the biggest benefits of the Sunnyway app is the real-time integration of PumpPerks. Like many grocery stores, Sunnyway offers discounts on gas based on dollars spent in-store. Before creating the app, customers had to go to the store’s customer service desk for info on their PumpPerks. Now customers can access that info via Sunnyway’s app, saving them time and giving Sunnyway more opportunities to communicate with their regular customers.
Push functionality on the app also enables Sunnyway to notify users of weekly sales and specials in real-time, plus the added ability to add those items directly to an in-app grocery list customer can use in-store. Putting this info right at the customers’ fingertips has enabled Sunnyway to further establish their brand identity and promise in the minds of the local community in which they serve.
Is a Mobile App Right For Your Business?
We know that there are many ways you could be spending your marketing budget and perhaps you’re not sure that web app development is right for your business. If you have more questions, give us a call. We can talk through the specifics and help you discover whether or not mobile app development will deliver the return on your investment, and we will audit your current website to evaluate its mobile agility and effectiveness.
It may be that investing dollars in a website redesign may accomplish more for your business than a web app. On the other hand, if you have ideas to create unique mobile customer services, an app may be a better solution than a website. Send us an email right now and we can find the best time to talk! We’d love to work with you to bring your ideas to life!
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