As consumers make the shift to carrying smartphones, businesses have turned increasingly toward opportunities that enable them to take advantage of the “always-connected” consumer. The question for business owners becomes, “Does my business need a mobile application?”
Mobile applications work very well for some businesses in some circumstances. If your business happens to be one that can take advantage of a mobile application, then making one available to your customers will help them remain in contact with you, access valuable services and improve their relationship with your business.
So what are the concerns you need to consider before developing a mobile application for your business? While there are many individual considerations, here are three important things to think about, if you’re thinking about going mobile.
First, about half of all consumers in the United States have a smartphone, which means that the other half of consumers don’t. If the majority of your customers are in the “don’t have” category, then developing a mobile application for your business may not produce the immediate returns you’re hoping for. On the other hand, if the majority of your clients carry smartphones or other mobile devices, or if the traffic on your mobile website has risen substantially in the past 12 months, those might be indications that a mobile app for your business would be well received by your customer base.
Second, most mobile applications have fewer than 1,000 downloads. For small businesses, having a mobile app with few downloads might not be a bad thing, especially if your customers can make really good use of your application. For example, a local restaurant may have an app that enables smartphone users to find out the real-time wait times for a table or make reservations. This app may be tremendously useful for the restaurant’s clientele, which may only number in the hundreds of persons. Even with relatively few downloads, a mobile app is still a great investment in this case because it helps the restaurant maintain the goodwill of its loyal clientele.
Third, there’s more to having a mobile app than simply making one. Over time, you’ll need to update your application and maintain the mobile application services the app is designed to facilitate. The mobile adoption rate in the US is phenomenal, so it’s unlikely that mobile device use among consumers is a fad. For businesses that are positioned to take advantage of this adoption trend, mobile app development holds the promise of capturing and retaining a lot of new business.
On the other hand, it could be that mobile app development is in the future for your business, but now may not be the best time to invest in building your business’ own mobile application. If you don’t have a clear development plan for mobile users, or your business doesn’t cater to that many mobile clients right now, you may want to hold off on mobile app development until the need for a mobile application makes itself very clear.
If you would like more information about mobile application development and how it might work for your business, please contact Dave Ramsell, Creative Director at Grantstreet Creative. Dave can consult with you on mobile application development for your business and show you how you can deliver valuable services to your clients.
Photo Credit: smarthero, via Flickr