Nowadays it seems as though any business worth mentioning has its own app, whether that’s through Android, iOS or both. Though it’s a no-brainer for many global companies, for a small business, launching an app needs to be a carefully considered decision. There are several factors to take into account before taking the plunge.
With that in mind, here is a breakdown of everything you need to know about having an app for your business. Including whether or not your app should be on Android or iOS.
How Many Small Businesses Already Have an App?
Currently, a survey by Clutch revealed that 42% of businesses have an app, and a further 25% planned to build one in the near future. This means that there’s still a large chunk of businesses who don’t have an app, and who aren’t planning to build one anytime soon. What’s more, those who have chosen to build an app are largely millennial business owners, followed by Generation X at 42% and lastly, Baby Boomers at only 13%. Getting an app for your business, then, could be extremely valuable.
Before you invest in an app, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
Will it Help to Grow Your Audience
Once your app is well established on various app stores and you’ve advertised its availability, you’ll receive interest far beyond your current customer base. It helps that mobile apps can be integrated with social media which can also boost your reach to a wider audience. Furthermore, companies with mobile apps make better impressions than others without.
Is Your Site Mobile-Friendly?
It’s long been said that you shouldn’t run before you can walk. The same applies for creating a mobile app. Before you get ahead of yourself with building an app, is your site optimized for mobile as is it? An app won’t solve all your problems when it comes to bounce rate and user experience. If this is what you’re searching for, then it’s best to address the problems closer to home first. Consider upgrading your website before you devote time, attention and money to developing a mobile app.
Do Competitors Have Apps?
One of the most objective ways into looking at whether you should invest in an app is seeing whether your competitors are doing the same. Do they currently offer an app? And is it available on both iOS and Android? You should also look into the available statistics. You can then see the number of downloads and user reviews. This could give you a priceless insight into how customers are reacting to your competitor’s app.
Who Offers the Best Features?
Developing an app for Android will allow you more flexibility with the features. This is because it’s an open source, meaning there’s far more flexibility to customize your app to build the app that you think your audience wants. One negative to this, however, is that it means Android can be more vulnerable when it comes to malware and pirate apps. A good platform will have strong features of authentication, data storage, easy integration with other services and most importantly – hassle-free hosting and debugging. In this sense, Apple is generally seen to be the more secure of the two. This is the main reason as to why start-ups and enterprises opt for iOS over Android.
Will it Offer Convenience for Users?
If it doesn’t offer any additional benefits or functionality for the user, is it worth developing? Perhaps not, as it will struggle to gain interest from customers. One way in which your app may prove useful is for integration with voice search. Alexa developers have been working tirelessly on so-called ‘Alexa Skills’ that can be paired with the smart device. In the same way, apps can also be tailored to be compatible with voice search and voice recognition devices – a growing trend.
Do You Have a Customer Loyalty Program?
If there’s nothing to entice customers to your app, and consequently keep them there, it may not be as successful as you’d hoped. Having a customer loyalty program can make it easy for customers to earn rewards which, in turn, increases customer loyalty. Through an app, you can offer discounts, coupons, and competitions.
Is it Worth the Investment?
Overall, an app could be worth the investment for a small business if the customer demand is there. However, creating a mobile app to try and seem more technologically advanced won’t necessarily put you in good stead to gain new customers. One good way to see whether your app could be successful is to ask your current customers whether they want it! Would they use it? Will it enhance the way they shop with you already? If the answer to these questions is yes, then indeed, your small business may just need an app.
When is it Time to Extend to Another Platform?
Don’t feel trapped within one platform! Once your brand has grown and your business has expanded, you’re free to extend your app onto another platform. You’ll know you’re ready when your app has taken advantage of its current platform, reaching a position where it enjoys a constant revenue stream.
Which Platform is Best for Your Business?
To conclude, the best app for your business greatly depends on the type of app you want to launch. A start-up business with a limited budget may benefit from building an app for iOS. In comparison, a brand with a global reach in mind may wish to front the costs of developing an app for Android, where they can also relish in more flexibility with features. It’s also best to work with an experienced developer who can also offer their opinion as to which platform they think will work well for your particular business.