We were recently talking to a business owner about our company and he asked me a simple, but important question: Why does my company need a mobile app?
As someone who is deeply invested in apps, I was somewhat flabbergasted, but then realized as we close in on the 13th anniversary of the iTunes App Store, many business owners remain tethered to their web sites, Facebook pages, and email databases.
In order to be prepared for the next time we’re asked this, we’ve come up with five reasons (and a bonus reason!) for why businesses need a mobile app:
1. You can’t carry around a computer with you everywhere you go
There is only one device that we never allow to get too far away from us, whether we’re in a store, at the office, at a ballgame, traveling, or even sleeping – our smartphones. User behavior has changed to the point where the only way to successfully stay in touch with people is to exist in the palm of their hands, in a convenient, elegant way. And that’s with a mobile app.
2. Apps are like real estate: Location, Location, Location
If the smartphone is the one device that is always with people, having access to your brand front and center on the screen is the only way to maximize the opportunity. An app keeps your business accessible at the moment when potential clients are ready to make a decision.
3. Apps are the Swiss Army Knife of software
Google does one thing: search. Microsoft Word lets you type out a document. Both highly functional, but limited. The things a mobile app can do are limitless, and when tied into the power of a smartphone, is an unbeatable combination. People can call, map out directions, search inventory, place orders, watch instructional videos, read articles, listen to podcasts, take tests, and more. To steal a phrase from Capital One, what do you want in your mobile app?
4. Apps are for your best customers
You might have heard about Pareto’s Principle – that’s the theory where 80% of your business is done by 20% of your customers. And guess who is most likely to download an app – yes, that’s that 20%. Businesses need a mobile app to take care of their best customers.
5. Apps are flexible
Apps need to evolve with the changing needs of a business – and the people involved in the business. Most of our clients have been with us for an average of five years, and not one of their apps is the same today as when it was launched. They contain updated design, new features, and new ways of engaging users.
Bonus Reason: Mobile apps provide a distinct competitive advantage
A few years ago we developed an app for a road construction company to manage their inventory and logistics. It was the first of its kind, and not only did it make them more efficient and profitable, it also separated them from their competition and generated business and loyalty. In addition, having an app changed the perception that potential employees had about working for a more traditionally-imaged industry, making them more attractive to younger candidates.
We could go on, but it is suffice to say that mobile apps have become an essential element of a business’s user engagement and retention program. Being wherever your users are is essential in today’s economy, and an app makes sure your business is always in the right place at the right time.