What is a mobile application? What kind of benefits does it bring to businesses? Read this guide to learn about the process of building a mobile app.
Mobile is a growing industry that attracts businesses from every marketplace. No wonder – mobile app revenues are projected to reach almost $600 billion in 2020. The exploding popularity of smartphones and tablets has made mobile application development an increasingly popular trend among business owners all over the world.
But what exactly is a mobile app? What kind of benefits does it bring to businesses? And what does the process of building a mobile application look like?
We prepared a guide that answers all of these questions and more! Read on to learn everything you need to know about mobile apps and their development.
All this knowledge comes from our 9 years of experience which we have gained as an Android app development company and iOS app development company.
What is a mobile application?
A mobile application (also called a mobile app) is a type of application designed to run on a mobile device, which can be a smartphone or tablet computer. Even if apps are usually small software units with limited function, they still manage to provide users with quality services and experiences.
Contrary to applications designed for desktop computers, mobile applications move away from integrated software systems. Instead, each mobile app provides an isolated and limited functionality. For example, it can be a game, a calculator, or a mobile web browser.
Because of the limited hardware resources of the early mobile devices, mobile apps avoided multi-functionality. However, even if the devices used today are far more sophisticated, mobile apps remain narrowly functional. This is how mobile app owners allow consumers to handpick exactly the functions their devices should have.
Does My Business Need A Mobile App?
If you have ever thought “does my business need a mobile App?” you’re in the right place. Building a mobile App for your business is a serious endeavour, so you need to understand the importance of having a mobile App for business and the advantages of having one within your organisation. This guide will shed some light on why your business needs an App, the functional and marketing benefits of mobile Apps for business and the use of mobile Apps in business.
By 2019, over a third of the human population on Earth had a mobile smart device such as an Android phone, iPhone or iPad. This statistic represents a new way undreamed of ten years ago to communicate with new customers.
In the UK alone, 78% of adults use mobile and smart devices to access the Internet. In 2017, a mobile device was the most popular way for adults to access the Internet (73%). Only 43% of users used a “traditional” desktop or laptop computer to access the Internet, and the market for mobile Apps is only growing and getting bigger as more and more people each year switch to a mobile smart device over a computer or laptop.
Developing a mobile App for business can offer valuable marketing opportunities and help you reach your target audience, as well as many other advantages that will help put you ahead of your competition.
Benefits of Mobile Apps for Business
1. Direct Communication and Engagement with Clients and Customers
One reason why your business needs an App is to improve direct communication with clients and customers. With access to a wealth of information at just a touch of a button, business mobile application development has opened the door to clear and direct communication between customers and businesses. The information gathered from customers using these Apps is invaluable for any business, with shopping behaviour and buyer personas being readily available to help enhance marketing strategies.
2. Improve Customer Engagement
For customers, they must be heard and have an easy form of communication. Customers often communicate wanting to know the answer to a question regarding your service or their order. Or they want to complain. Mobile App design and development makes both these processes much easier for everyone; with the idea being that the quicker a customer can communicate their concerns and receive a response, the less likely they are to leave a bad review.
3. Increase Brand Awareness
A mobile App is an extension of your brand and therefore is a chance for you to remain true to branding while being able to explore how it can be presented on a completely different digital platform; perhaps in a completely new and innovative way. It can also be thought of as a new advertising platform for the business, that can say whatever you want it to for your brand to get more exposure and therefore, awareness.
Developing a mobile App for business allows you the opportunity to reach potential new audiences. As a completely new platform, business mobile application development can also cause a new demographic of customers to reach you, one that finds using Apps more preferable than a web browser.
4. Create a Useful Marketing Channel
Custom App development also allows notifications and information to be sent to customers in an instant. If this information is useful and relevant to them, for example, containing information regarding exclusive deals and offers, it can help you make loyal customers who value using the App.
5. Create an Effective Loyalty Programme
Suppose your company has a loyalty programme or is considering introducing one as a way of encouraging sales. In that case, a digitalised loyalty scheme via a mobile App is an effective method for building and creating a community of customers. Once customers are rewarded for their spending, they are much more likely to come back. A mobile App makes it a much easier and quicker process for them to do just that.
6. Get Ahead of Your Competition
One of the important benefits of mobile Apps for business use is that it will make you truly stand out from the competition. Apps are very relevant in modern technology today, and using them for business is quickly becoming a trend. Still, it hasn’t quite taken off across the entire board yet, allowing you to get the edge over any competition.
Why Your Business Needs An App To Overtake Competitors
You are probably interacting with your customers in some way online right now. Maybe you have a simple web site, or perhaps you provide a service to your customers (e.g. an online store, a booking system, a product configurator etc.) via a web portal. At McKenna Consultants, we build web and mobile applications, which puts us in a great position for comparing usage amongst customers. For example, after one year of service, a new mobile payment App we developed for a utility company showed that over 60% of customers preferred to use a mobile App to make payments rather than use the mobile-friendly web site. This figure indicates a consumer preference in online interaction.
1. To Create a Barrier to Entry
If you deliver your product or service to your customers via an iOS (iPhone / iPad) or Android App, then any new disruptive start-up entering your market will need to make that effort too. Thus, you raise the barrier to entry and protect your competitive position in the market.
2. Offers Unique Services
A mobile App for your business will give you the ability to deliver your services in new and more competitive ways. For example, we have built a Product Finder App (Android and iOS) for one of our global PLC clients. This App enables its users to quickly scan one of their competitor’s products and find one of their alternative products that match the specification of the scanned product. This App feature allows our client to directly take business away from their competitors with very little effort, directly challenging their prices and product quality.
3. Gives Customers a Truly Mobile Experience
Your App can also give you a competitive edge in the field (literally in the case of our client AuthenticateIS). Your App will work when your customers are out and about including areas where no Internet connection is available. AuthenticateIS have a market-leading web-based portal for certifying food chains but were increasingly being asked about providing a more portable experience for users.
Their users were keen to directly input information into their system whilst in rural areas with no Internet connection. A mobile App was able to expand its service and deliver this new value to its customers, therefore giving further competitive advantage. User experience is arguably the main purpose of creating a mobile App for business, connecting your business to customers with ease and with minimal effort required from their end.
How to Have an App Made for My Business
It follows that if you want to grow your customer base in the modern world, you should seriously consider how the use of mobile Apps in business can benefit your interactions with your customers. They like the convenience, the familiar and easy App-like experience, and it puts your company’s logo on their mobile device home screen! For more information on how to build a mobile App, please check out our dedicated blog post on the topic.
Consider Your Goals and Target Audience
While there are many cultural differences all around the world, many different viewpoints and different ways of doing things, mobile devices seem to be universal. Steve Jobs would relate the story of watching a child in India who had never seen a computer begin to immediately and intuitively use an iPad. We have seen the same effect for our customers in the mobile Apps we build for them. Apps are available in over 30 countries around the world and have been translated into a similar number of languages. At McKenna Consultants, we also provide translation portal services so that our customers can keep their App text up to date all over the world.
IOS Vs Android Development
One area where there is some regional difference is in Android vs Apple device usage. For example, in the UK, 53% of smart devices in use are Android, and 46% are iOS. Globally, on average, the split is 86.1% Android and 13.9% iOS. The USA is dominated by Apple, with 64% of all devices being iPhone or iPad. Developing nations have much higher percentages of Android devices due to its lower-cost nature. In general, most of our clients create both iOS and Android Apps, but your customer profile may indicate that you can prioritise one platform over another.
Use of Mobile Apps in Business
There are many benefits of mobile Apps for business as outlined above. In a world that is rapidly growing online, the benefits of mobile Apps for business are increasingly apparent. It is no longer a question of “does my business need a mobile App?”, rather, “how do I have an App made for my business?”