Is Creating an App for my Business an Option or a Necessity?


A few years ago, creating an app for one’s business was something only for the most dedicated of techies—it would surely set you apart from your competition, but it was nowhere in the realms of your customers’ automatic expectations. Nowadays, without an app you are easily set apart from your competition in the complete opposite direction; customers may not even bother with your company if it is not available to them through a smartphone-friendly channel. To further understand why having an app is a huge advantage to your business, and what you risk by not having one, read on. 

Mobile Presence

At the very, very least, every business needs to have a website with a responsive design, or better an HTML5 app to serve as a mobile version of their website. It is extremely unideal for customers to visit a website on their device that is incompatible with mobile devices. Once users are on the HTML5 version of the site, it can act as a funnel, bringing them to the option of downloading the app. Providing the customer with the opportunity to work with a native app really adds an impressive element to brand identity and is a huge appeal.  
A lot of people believe that there is no real advantage of having a native app if they already have a mobile version of their site. While many mobile sites have an impressive amount of functionality, make sure you are aware of some aspects an native app can provide you with that a mobile site cannot.

Native App Advantages

User Expectation
If people didn’t appreciate all of the unique features smartphones and tablets have to offer, they would still be sticking with laptops and flip phones (this is a frightening thought). It’s safe to say that most people using smartphones have a certain (rather high) level of expectation regarding User Experience and want to see their device being taken full advantage of. Native apps allow for a very high degree of customization, attention to detail, and therefore really fantastic User Experience.

Brand Image and Content Delivery 
Of course you want your users to have access to your business at any time, regardless of the status of their network or wifi connection. While mobile sites require a decent connection in order to function properly, a lot of content delivery can be performed even in an offline status, since the app has been downloaded and installed onto the device. Another plus of having your app installed on a customer’s phone/tablet is that the image of the brand is always within clear view, which is a great marketing tactic for strengthening brand image. 
Extra Value 
Having a native app allows you to integrate all of the features that make a smart device so special that would otherwise be completely ignored in a mobile site. These include interactive features that are favorable for the user (camera access, GPS, microphone), as well as aspects that can be advantageous to you (statistics, push notifications, user localization).

Using an App as a Marketing Tool

Do you think marketing is an option? Probably not. Most businesses invest a large amount of time and money into market research, and rightly so. Knowing the demographics of your clients , and how to properly use this info, is the underlying basis of your business and should never be undermined. 

Marketing is a two way channel (the initial collection of data followed by the disbursement of carefully crafted publications) and with their unique qualities, apps serve as an undeniably great tool for gaining maximum benefit from both ends. 

Market research 
The real value of your app is obvious when you look at it in terms of the amount of data it yields. Once your customer has downloaded your app onto their phone, you have instant access to a plethora of data concerning their movements within the app (such as content they tend to visit or ignore), their demographics (age, sex, location), and more.  

This type of information can be found on GoodBarber’s “Audience” and “Users” sections, where you can see a number of very specific traffic, editorial, demographical, and technical stats.  This will prove to be quite useful for knowing what content is relevant to your users' interests and for perfecting your overall marketing strategy.
Implementation Strategy
Once you have gathered all of the data about your users and their preferences, you can implement a strategy to reach them in more effective ways. Push notifications, social media posts, and other means of communication can be based off of your findings, as well as tailoring your product or service to better meet preferences. User interaction should also be encouraged via user generated content, which builds a sense of community as well as providing you with an unmatched source of information.  

You can also use your marketing research as a way to monetize your app. If your app is being used as a marketing tool for your business, you will probably not choose to sell it in the app stores. However, there are other ways in which it can be profitable, and what business couldn't use a little extra cash?

GoodBarber allows you to create your own ad campaigns , where you can directly sell advertising space in your app. By using the data you have collected, you will have a very convincing offer for prospective advertisers, because they can be sure that their product is specific to the preferences of your users. 
So, is having an app for my business an option or a necessity? I think you have your answer. The bottom line is: in order to remain competitive in your industry—whatever that may be—it is imperative that your business has an app. Whether your main concern is keeping up with insider information regarding the market, providing your customer with an easy and enjoyable experience, or earning maximum profit, you will really not be able to achieve any of these things without a beautiful application on your side.