Statistics show that 57% of digital media usage comes from mobile apps. And that’s not surprising.
Apps offer a range of unique advantages to users, from the various features to better compatibility with mobile devices.
Because of that, more online businesses are deciding to develop their own app as well. That can not only provide an additional way for audiences to interact with your brand but can also increase brand loyalty since having an app on your customer’s device offers a lot of marketing opportunities.
But figuring out how to create an app from scratch isn’t easy. To someone without prior experience, the process can seem very technical, and many might not even know where to start.
So, to overcome these obstacles, let’s break down the process of developing an app into actionable steps.
Determine Why You Need It
Creating an app can provide numerous benefits, but only if you can figure out how to use it effectively. Since there are so many potential features and design elements that you could use, you’ll need to narrow down your choices, and the only way to do that is to determine why you need the app in the first place.
If you run an online store, one of your top priorities should be increasing sales. An app can be great for running special promotions, learning more about the user’s shopping habits, and keeping your store in their mind even when they’re not actively engaging with your website.
If that’s the case, then you should make sure that shopping on your app is as simple and convenient as possible. The fewer hurdles there are to overcome, the higher the chance that your app users will actually finish their purchases through the app.
Another common reason for having an app is convenience. No matter how mobile-friendly your website might be, it still has limitations when adding features on different screens. Meanwhile, apps have many features for shopping and consuming content that make the entire experience much more pleasant when using a mobile device.
In the end, focusing on a few key features and driving the app’s users to take the actions that you want them to should be your primary concerns. If your app has a specific purpose and is convenient to use, you probably won’t have any issues getting your customers to use it.
Create Your App
Once you understand what you want your app to do, you’ll need to turn your vision into reality. And you have a couple of options for approaching the challenge.
You could hire an app development team to create your app for you, which would provide you with more customization options. But for many small and medium-sized businesses, the investment required might be too steep, at least initially.
But the good news is that there are plenty of app builders that are simple to use, require little to no prior experience, and can create beautiful and functional apps that you can start using quickly.
If you find a user-friendly option, the process can be very simple.
First, you choose a theme that you like depending on what your brand is about and who your audience is. You can usually find a wide range of themes designed for different situations, giving you plenty to choose from.
Then, you can fill the app with content and brand elements to make the design your own. You can even test how the app looks on different devices to ensure that your brand is represented well.
Once you know how the app will look, you can start adding features that you want your app to have. Many app builders have add-ons or plugins that allow you to instantly add functionality that has already been tested and optimized to work on any device.
Finally, you can map out your app’s navigation, overall look, and unique design elements that will help guide your app’s users where you want them to go.
Then, as you get ready to launch, test out the app as much as possible to see if there are any issues, inconsistencies, or errors. While some problems are to be expected, you want to minimize the negative experiences if you don’t want your app’s reputation to turn sour before it even has a chance to take off.
Incentivize App Usage
Even though your app might be very useful, convincing your audience to give it a try can be a challenge at first. Especially when you consider that after the initial launch, there will likely be at least a few kinks to work out before it’s working smoothly.
Therefore, if you want your app to take off and get real-time usage data that you can work with, you’ll probably have to incentivize your audience to give it a try.
Now, there are many ways you can do that, which will largely depend on the types of products you sell and the type of relationship you have with your customers.
If you run an online store, something as seemingly simple as a discount to the first order might be enough to persuade people. You could place a banner on your website, informing people that they’d save a certain percentage if they bought the same items through the app.
Another approach is to offer a loyalty system, especially if you want to use the app to actively engage your audience. The members could enjoy unique perks like free shipping, special deals, or even exclusive items that aren’t yet available on your website.
Once you get the ball rolling and your app gains traction, you might not need to provide huge incentives, as people will notice the app’s popularity and will be keen to use it anyway. But having better offers will ensure that your app remains popular and that those who download it actually use it as well.
Building an app can seem scary if you have no prior experience, but it doesn’t have to be a long and complicated process. Today, app builders can provide you with a wide range of powerful features, allowing you to enjoy the advantages of having an app even if you can’t afford to hire an app development company.
But, to make yours successful, make sure to figure out what you want it to represent, who your audience is, what type of functionality you want the app to have, and how you’ll get people to start using it once you launch it.
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