Mobile apps are no longer just a nice-to-have feature for businesses — they’re essential to any company’s digital strategy. In fact, a 2021 survey found that nearly half of respondents spent an average of five to six hours per day on their phones. And that number is only increasing as time goes on.
Have you ever wondered how to tap into mobile activity to help your business? Having a mobile-friendly website is a good start. But what about developing your very own app? Building an app may sound like a lot of work, but there are many reasons developing an app for your small business is beneficial.
So if you’re interested in building a custom mobile app for your small business but aren’t sure if it’s worth it, here are ten reasons developing an app can benefit your bottom line.
Let’s jump right in.
1. Future-proof your business
As a small business owner, it’s crucial to make smart investment decisions, especially regarding technology. You should invest in forward-looking technology that’ll remain relevant in five to ten years. Sometimes it feels like technology becomes obsolete overnight. Do you remember the Flip camera? Or the Snapchat Spectacles? Case and point.
Anyways, the key here is that you can help plan for the future of your business by investing in technology that’ll help it grow. Since people spend nearly 90% of their mobile internet time on apps and use an average of 30 apps per month, apps are a good investment. It’s hard to predict the future, but according to these statistics, it doesn’t seem like apps are going anywhere anytime soon.
App development is a long-term investment, but it’ll surely pay off if done right. Successful apps can be a great asset to your business if you decide to sell the company later down the road.
App development isn’t just about creating an app that works for your business now — it’s also about developing an app that can adapt as needed and change over time. For example, if you are building an eCommerce app with a shopping cart, plan how you might add related features later. These could include chatbots or new payment gateways.
Apps are extremely customizable, so if you keep up with quarterly or yearly feature upgrades, you can succeed in the long run.
2. Deliver value to customers
You want to be at the forefront of your customer’s minds when they are ready to make a purchase. Someone else will if you can’t. So get in front of them and provide them with what they want.
One of the biggest benefits of app development for your small business is that it allows you to deliver value directly to your customers where they spend the most time. Mobile-first and location-based mobile experiences allow users to get information quickly, which enables them to make informed decisions.
Your customers want everything available to them at their fingertips. Why do you think some businesses in the finance industry, like personal banking apps or stock trading apps, have grown exponentially over the past five years? People want to know their savings account or stock portfolio balance in seconds.
Logging into a mobile site is already too much work. Let alone walking to the actual ATM or calling your broker to find this information. Consumers have a very small attention span, so creating a mobile app helps solve this problem by giving them everything they need in one simple location that requires minimal effort.
3. Provide a new way to engage customers
As a small business owner, you know how important it is to engage with customers and build relationships with them. According to Forrester Research, consumers prefer to interact with businesses on their terms: they want to be able to use your app whenever they want, on their preferred device, in the way that best suits them.
Even if you have a responsive SaaS website, including app development into your SaaS strategy can be crucial for customer relations and conversions. By creating a mobile app, you’re making your service more convenient for your users.
It’s no secret that people are spending more and more time on their phones, so it makes sense that you should capitalize on this trend.
An app can help you increase engagement by:
- Making it easier for customers to find your business and contact information.
- Offering new services like online ordering or reservations that weren’t previously possible on a website alone.
- Encourages repeat visits because people enjoy using apps vs. mobile sites.
Developing an app allows you to provide these opportunities by giving customers more ways of interacting with your brand.
4. Generate a new revenue stream
Chances are, you’re always looking for ways to generate new revenue streams. And guess what? App development is one simple way to accomplish this very goal.
Mobile apps are a significant source of revenue. In 2020, global app revenue reached $582 billion. By 2023, it’s expected to grow to around $935 billion, showing how profitable this market is with the right app monetization strategies.
App development can monetize your business in several different ways:
- In-App purchases, subscriptions, and ads — If you have an app that generates revenue through in-app purchases (e.g., premium features), subscriptions, or advertising, then you’re already on your way to making money with your app. This is the most common app monetization model used by many successful apps such as Spotify and Dropbox.
- Sell physical products — Apps are an additional sales channel for your physical product offerings.
- Drive traffic back into brick-and-mortar locations — Sometimes, it makes sense for businesses who sell both online and offline (like restaurants) to have an app where customers can order food ahead of time through their phones. This way, they don’t have to wait in long lines at the counter when they arrive.
- Create awareness about new products/services – Sometimes, companies use this tactic during launch periods to send out push notifications for sales and special events to build hype.
5. Increase customer loyalty and drive repeat sales
Your website is where people go to get information about your business, but it’s not always easy for customers to find what they need quickly or easily. An app gives your customers a convenient way to access exclusive offers, customer service, company news, and more from their phone screens.
Apps are designed to provide a seamless experience for users to stay connected to the business they love:
- View and purchase products or services in real-time.
- Get news and updates about new products or services.
- Leave reviews and ratings on products or services.
- Receive notifications when new products or services become available.
With the right app, you can create a personal relationship with your customers and build trust in your brand. You can also get your customers involved in developing your product by giving them access to beta testing, which can help you make sure that your product is ready for prime time. Focusing on what the customer wants is key to beating the competition. That is why many small businesses are adopting a product-led growth strategy for their products and using a product-led approach when building their mobile apps.
6. Streamline workflows
You don’t always need to create an app that helps you sell something. For instance, you can create an app that improves your daily processes, streamlines your workflow, and increases productivity. In fact, 53% of employees in a recent study indicate that mobile apps help improve business processes and productivity.
Let’s take a look at an example. A doctor’s office typically collects information from new patients during their first visit.
So on your first day, you walk into the waiting room, and the receptionist hands you a clipboard with a pen and a few forms to fill out. Right off the bat, this is a pain in the neck for you. But it is even worse for the receptionist, who must manually enter all this information into the computer. And manual data entry is very prone to errors.
In this case, an app would be helpful to:
- Simplify the collection process by providing one mobile and digital platform where both patients and office staff can access all relevant information in one place
- Speed up billing by allowing automated invoices using pre-existing information
Not only does an app help with creating an easier way to collect data, but it also provides a simple solution for storing and retrieving data. Now anytime you show up for a future appointment, the receptionist can pull up your information in a flash, increasing their productivity levels.
7. Improve customer service
Good customer service is crucial to the success of your small business.
Just think about how annoying it is when trying to get a hold of an airline for a canceled flight. Oddly, you’ll be spending hours on hold trying to speak to a representative. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could chat with an agent in an app? You want customers to have an enjoyable experience with your business and come back for more.
Developing a custom app can help solve these issues by making it easy for people to do just about anything they need on their phones:
- Find your closest store location
- Contact customer support at any time through live chat
- Rate their experience after making a purchase
8. Building an app is cheaper and faster than ever before
Today, the cost of app development has decreased dramatically, to the point where it’s relatively affordable for small businesses. Most companies will be able to find experienced app developers who can build a high-quality custom mobile app for a reasonable price.
When developing a new app for your small business, you’ll have to go through the design phase, such as defining a new logo, colors, user experience, etc. There are tons of logo design options for all budgets available in the market to make sure you save on the design costs during development.
Also, the time it takes to develop an app has decreased significantly over the past decade. Many companies claim that they can build your custom mobile application within three months from start to finish. That means you don’t have to wait years before your business gets access to all the benefits of having its custom mobile application.
9. Custom software built for your business
App development can help you turn your unique business ideas into reality. The great thing about developing an app from scratch is that it is customized to your business.
You can choose a mobile-friendly design that suits your brand or experiment with different features to see what works best for your business.
Building an app that fits your needs is easy because the options are endless. You can choose from several platforms and operating systems, including web and native apps for Android and iOS devices. You no longer need to worry about compatibility with other software and waste time on apps that don’t 100% meet your needs.
Here are a few pros of building a custom app:
- You’re in control of the design, functionality, and features.
- You can make sure that the app will work how you want it to.
- You have access to all the data generated by the app.
10. Enhance your data security
Data security is very important for your consumers.
Unfortunately, many small businesses are targeted for cyberattacks. And you need to protect your data from cybercriminals who try their best to get access to your private information.
But how can you do that? The answer is simple — build a custom app.
When you build a custom app, you have full control over all the features and functions of the app, which means that you can make sure that it has the right security measures in place to guarantee that your data remains safe and secure.
We hope we’ve given you some useful information about the benefits of app development for your small business.
The bottom line is that creating an app for your small business is a worthy investment. Apps can serve as an important source of new revenue, help extend your business’ reach, and even serve as a tool for streamlining your operations.
Keep up with the changing demands of your consumers by aligning your digital presence with their current behaviors. That’s the secret sauce to long-term business success.
About the author – Shane Barker
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Content Solutions, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.