Mobile Apps for Business: Should You Develop One?

Why should a small business have a mobile app?

Creating a mobile app for your small business can better introduce new customers to your products and services, and increase customer retention by serving existing customers, promoting new product and service offerings, sales, discounts, loyalty programs, and more for your business, not to mention keeping customers more closely connected to your business and its activites.

Mobile apps are rising in popularity amongst small businesses with the rise of mobile devices and mobile-first consumer behavior. Over 48% of small businesses had mobile applications as of 2022, a 16% increase over 2021. Plus, approximately 27% of survey respondents plan to invest in one to support their future business growth.

These businesses are striving to improve customer service and boost their branding efforts. The study found that 79% of small businesses outsource the development of their app and most offer both iOS and Android apps to their users.

Although it may be appealing to consider creating a mobile app for your small business, should you? That’s exactly what we’re going to discuss in this article. So, keep reading so you can make an educated mobile app decision for your business.

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Does Your Small Business Need a Mobile App?

How do you know if you need a mobile app for your small business? Although your company may benefit from having its own mobile app, is it practical to develop and maintain an app for your business?

Consider the following factors to decide if a mobile app makes sense for your business:

Who your customers are

What is the age range of your customers and the likelihood of them using a mobile app. If your customers are younger and more mobile-oriented, then they’ll look forward to downloading and using an app. Otherwise, you may encounter resistance when promoting an app to your audience.

What your customers want

Are they looking for things like convenience, personalization, and perks? If so, your audience may enjoy a mobile app from your business.

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Will a mobile app improve your customers experience?

If your customers tend to access your website on the go, even the best mobile-friendly website may become a chore to navigate. In this case, a mobile app will boost customer experience by making it fast and easy for them to get the information, service, content, and notifications they want. Plus, they won’t need to wait long for webpages to load—they get instant gratification.

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Benefits of Mobile Apps for Entrepreneurs

Does your small business need a mobile app?

Mobile apps offer many potential benefits for your small business such as:

    • Greater customer engagement: Makes it easier for customers to interact with your business in ways such as browsing products or services and making purchases.
    • Better customer experience: Enables businesses to offer personalized recommendations, offers, and notifications that improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.
    • Increased brand visibility: A brand logo and name on customers’ mobile devices reinforces brand recognition and keeps you top of mind with your audience.
    • Competitive advantage: A mobile app is an attractive differentiator to some consumers, so a well-designed, user-friendly app can help you attract and retain more customers.
    • Boosts sales and revenue: Apps can eliminate make shopping effortlessly convenient, resulting in increased sales and revenue.
    • Enables valuable insights: Makes it easy to gain customer behavior and preference insights to help refine your marketing strategy, product offerings, and ability to personalize customer experiences.
    • Facilitates direct marketing: Enables you to easily send targeted notifications directly to users’ devices based on their personal preferences including special offers, new products, events, or discounts. Keeping your brand in front of your audience makes yours the logical choice when they are ready to buy.
    • Streamlines customer support: In-app chatbots or messaging simplify quick and efficient customer support without the need to make phone calls or send emails.
    • Encourages social sharing and referrals: Incorporating social sharing features into your small business mobile app makes it easy for users to share their experiences with your company with their network. This boosts brand awareness and new customers acquired through referrals.

Remember that the benefits of mobile business apps vary based on the type of business and its target audience. It’s critical to take into account your customers’ needs and preferences before your decide to develop a mobile app for your small business.

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Types of Small Business Apps on the Market

There are a wide variety of small business mobile apps available today designed to boost productivity and to offer convenience. Some popular types include:

    • Second phone number apps: To enable phone communications from any device while separating personal and business communications through a virtual phone number.
    • E-commerce and shopping apps: Enable businesses to sell products or service directly to customers on their mobile devices. They include features like product catalogs, shopping carts, secure payment options, secure order tracking, and customer service.
    • Food delivery and restaurant apps: Facilitate online ordering, menu browsing, table reservations, customer reviews, and delivery tracking.
    • Appointment scheduling apps: Enables clients to schedule appointments with places like salons, healthcare providers, spas, and personal trainers. These types of apps also generate reminders and facilitate managing bookings.
    • Loyalty and rewards apps: These apps are useful for businesses implementing customer loyalty programs, making it easy to offer customer discounts, rewards, and special offers that encourage repeat business and customer loyalty.
    • Financial apps: These apps can be used by businesses to manage accounting functions and by individuals to manage interactions with their bank, like mobile deposits and transfers.
    • Collaboration apps: Facilitate internal communication and collaboration while your staff is in the office or on the go with a collaboration app.
    • Customer support apps: Provide your customers with efficient customer support through a mobile app including features like in-app messaging, knowledge bases, and ticket management systems.
    • Project management apps: Make it easy to manage projects and productivity with features that aid in task management, time tracking, document sharing, and team project collaboration.
    • Marketing apps: Help businesses manage their marketing efforts and social media presence by including features like content creation, analytics, social media scheduling, and advertising management.
    • Logistics and inventory management apps: Manage inventory, process orders, track stock levels, and streamline logistics operations on the go. This type of app is especially useful for retail, distribution, and manufacturing businesses.
    • Point of sale (POS) apps: Enable businesses to process payments, track inventory, and manage sales with their mobile devices with features like receipt printing, barcode scanning, and integrated payment gateways.
    • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) apps: Manage customer interactions, streamline sales processes, and track leads when away from your desk.

The specific apps and functionalities vary based on industry, audience, and business needs. Discuss your specific needs with an app development professional to determine the best app for your small business based on your audience and budget.

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Top 10 Use Cases for Business Apps

There are a variety of use cases for small business mobile apps. The top 10 that we’ve identified include:

    1. Customer Engagement: Business mobile apps enable businesses to engage directly with their customers so they can offer personalized recommendations, send targeted notifications or special offers, and deliver a seamless buying experience.
    2. E-commerce: Small businesses can leverage a mobile app so their customers can browse product options and make purchases from their mobile devices. Business mobile apps can feature secure payment options, personalized shopping experiences, and order tracking.
    3. Appointment Scheduling and Management: A mobile app of this nature is ideal for businesses relying on appointments and bookings, enabling customers to schedule appointments, receive reminders, and manage bookings from their mobile devices.
    4. Loyalty Programs: Mobile apps streamline the implementation of reward and loyalty programs, making it possible to offer perks, discounts, and exclusive offers to entice repeat business and nurture customer loyalty.
    5. Customer Support: Make it easy for customers to easily get assistance and communicate with your business with in-app messaging, chatbots, and an in-app knowledge base as a self-service option to answer questions and resolve issues efficiently.
    6. Marketing and Push Notifications: Easily send targeted notification directly to users’ devices to promote new products, share updates, or deliver personalized offers to keep customers informed and engaged.
    7. Customer Feedback Collection: Mobile apps can be used to request valuable customer feedback that helps your business improve the quality of your products or services and continuously improve your customers’ experience.
    8. Simplifying Internal Operations: Business mobile apps can be used to streamline internal operations and communications, like sharing a business phone number with your team or documenting customer details in a CRM.
    9. Social Sharing: Social proof is gold today, so it makes sense to include a feature in your mobile app to make it easy for customers to share their experiences with your products and services with their social networks. This can help you grow your business through referrals.
    10. Gathering Data and Analytics: One of the benefits of mobile apps is that they enable you to easily gather valuable data and insights about customer behavior, usage patterns, and preferences. This helps you understand your customers better, refine your marketing strategies accordingly, and make more informed business decisions.
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How to Get Started with App Development

Mobile app development

As it is with all technology, mobile app development is constantly evolving. If you opt to develop a small business mobile app for your company, it’s essential that you recognize that this is not a one and done process. Whenever a new version of an operating system rolls out, you must update your app accordingly to ensure compatibility and avoid cybersecurity issues. So be sure to budget accordingly.

Making your business’ mobile app a reality involves the following main steps. Being aware of these steps will help you navigate the process more efficiently.

    1. Concept: Determine what problem you want to solve with your app, who your target audience is, and the value of its features. Then figure out if there are any similar apps already in the market.
    2. Interface design: Create a user-friendly interface for your mobile app.
    3. Development: Have the code written and developed for your app. Then initiate preliminary testing.
    4. Testing: Complete quality testing, identify malfunctions, and plan improvements.
    5. Launch: When your app is bug-free and functional, publish it on app marketplaces like the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
    6. Promotion: Market your app to get users to download it and provide feedback on how you can improve user engagement.
    7. Maintain: Remember to perform routine maintenance and updates to your business mobile app as mobile platforms evolve.
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Is It Time to Create Your Mobile Business App?

Small business mobile apps can provide your business with many benefits, but they aren’t a great fit for all businesses. Take the time to consider your audience and whether they will actually use a mobile app before deciding to develop one for your business. If you believe developing a mobile app for your small business will be worthwhile, decide what you want to achieve with your app and initiate the development process.

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A special high five to Margot Howard for her outstanding research and contributions to this article. We love working with and supporting like-minded entrepreneurs who are passionate about business success strategies. Thank you Margot! ❤️

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