Does Your Business Need an App?

Having an app can be a great asset to a business, some companies rely solely on their app to make money. There’s a growing trend for every business out there to splash out on an app with all the bells and whistles, but it’s surprising how few businesses will actually benefit from one. If you’re considering creating, or paying for, an app for your business then it pays to weigh up the pro’s and cons first. We’ve put together a list of questions that you should be asking before commissioning an app. If it still sounds like a good idea, then an app is definitely the right choice for your business.

Is it Prohibitively Expensive?

Some apps are very simple to put together, others need a great deal of prototyping before they’re ready for customers to use. Think about how difficult your app is going to be to create. Very simple apps can be made using premade templates, whereas more complex apps will require a great deal of work to ensure they work flawlessly. Whether your app is simple to make or not will have big implications on how much it costs, which brings us onto the second step of deciding whether an app will be too expensive to justify: taking an honest look at your business accounts. For a brand like Virgin, an app isn’t a big deal, they’ve a team for it and the capital to back it up. For the local cornershop, there’s unlikely to be the in-house expertise necessary and there probably aren’t millions in the bank. Remember, if you’re making the app yourself then you need to factor in your time to the cost of the app. Even if you’d happily work for free, you have to consider the time you could be spending elsewhere and the value it could add.

Can It Make Life Easier?

If you’ve decided that your business can front the cost of an app then the next thing to consider is whether it will make your life, of your customer’s lives easier. Some apps are designed to take some of the workload off the business, whilst some are designed to make life easier for the customer. For example, banking apps, although they arguably remove some customers from bank branches, thus maybe easing queuing, are basically designed for the convenience of customers. It is a lot easier to send money from your mobile phone, than it is to visit a branch of your bank in person, stand in line and instruct a teller. If your app can save your customers valuable time, then it could be a good idea for you.

Conversely, some apps are designed to save businesses time or work. Many betting shops have branded apps that allow them to take the pressure off in-shop betting and still make money. Keeping a brick-and-mortar shop open is expensive, so many betting shops have created betting sites and mobile apps to alleviate the need for a physical high street presence. They are able to offer better promotions, offer 24-hour automated customer service and generally provide a better experience for customers. So many shops have taken this route, that SBO.net has compiled a list of the best sites, including the offers they provide, as well as information on mobile apps, security features and deposit options. If your business could easily make the move from high street to online in this way, then an app could save you a fortune in both time and money.

Will it Keep Customers Loyal?

Starbucks are masters of customer loyalty
Starbucks are masters of customer loyalty

Customer loyalty is the thing that all business owners dream of. Returning customers enjoy the service, tell their friends about it and end up making you lots of money. If an app can create loyalty for you, then it’s a wise investment. The masters of this sort of app are coffee shops. Coffee is a frequent, low value purchase, so having an app that offers rewards to loyal customers is a great idea. Most of us have a coffee card in our wallet or purse, that reminds us of the brand we by coffee from every day. Once we get to a certain number of free stamps, we earn a coffee. An app is just that little bit handier, because we can do things like order in advance to skip queues, as with the Starbucks app, collect those points and never have to worry about having left our purse at home, or even add money to the account, so we can buy a coffee any time. Apps that can do all of this create very loyal customers, if your business could do the same then consider investing in one.

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