Today, mobile app development has spawned into a big business. According to Forrester research, app downloading is expected to cross 226 billion in 2015. This development can be attributed to the massive proliferation of mobile phones in society as well as business the world over. According to the real time tracker at GSMA Intelligence the number of mobile phones has already overtaken the world population of around 7.1 billion people.
The impact of mobile apps on business and society
As discussed above, this phenomenon has a direct impact on how mobiles are used, and this has an effect on mobile app development. Today, mobile devices have become extremely important in many people’s lives across the world. Many online brands are coming out with mobile friendly websites and are developing various apps that entice the users to make more purchases.
The probability of acquiring more customers vastly increases with the help of mobile apps, while these make it convenient for current customers to stay connected with your small business organization. A good app definitely adds value to your small business, and can improve your business potential by a great extent.
A few questions which you can ask
Reading these statistics and going by market trends, you too might be tempted to build a mobile app for your small business. However, before jumping into app development right away, it will do you good if you ask yourself a few questions:
- Does your small business really need an app?
- Do you have the budget and the resources to build an app?
- Have you studied your competitors business?
- Have you come up with the right strategy for building your app?
- What is the purpose of your app?
Why app development is important for small businesses
Hence, the nature of your small business can help determine the importance of developing an app. Some businesses are high importance and require a mobile app to keep in touch with potential as well as targeted customers. Thus, today’s small businesses not only need a mobile presence, but need accessibility and usability in the form of mobile app. You need to ascertain if the mobile app will pay off or not and if the resources spent will be justified.
As a small business, you might just need to get the word out on your business, so building an app might not be justified. However, if building an app is part of the small business strategy for a larger customer or profit base, then the benefits might far outweigh the disadvantages.
App Development: some considerations for small businesses
- Some of the mistakes that small businesses make when it comes to app development is paying more than what it actually costs to develop an app. Rather than going big on app development right from the beginning, a small business needs to test the waters first. It needs to see whether customers take to the app and to what degree do they accept it.
- For a small business, choosing the right business application also matters. This means that you need to decide before hand on which platform to chose before jumping into the app development fray. Today’s major app platforms include Android as well as Apple, and if you are developing a native app, an app for an android device will not work on an iOS device or vice versa.
- Developing for both might be a good idea, but is not cost-effective in many cases. Once again, it must be determined if the app will be paid or will remain free. Free apps are typically supported by ads, but it must be noted that some people are sensitive to some kind of apps. If an app is priced too low, customers might doubt the value of your small business and your app. However, if the app is priced too high, customers might move away elsewhere.
- For many small businesses, a free version of their mobile app may do good, but for other businesses, a premium version might suit their needs. Thus if your interest is in promoting your business, then a free version will suffice, but if monetization is your priority, then you can go in for a premium version. Alternatively you can go in for a free version initially, but you can lure your customers to upgrade and obtain the premium version.
- With the help of your mobile app, you can update your customers on upcoming sales, promotions, as well as new products or services. You can even offer helpful tips and avoid being too aggressive because it can be too annoying to users.
- Once you have decided on the above factors, you will need to begin with the app creation and development process. You can hire developers on-site or have your own in-house developers to do the job for you. It is always better to go in for experienced developers, which means that your development costs might be slightly higher than expected.
- There are multiple options available on the market, which means that you can look at freelancers as well for the right options. Also, there are freelancer website such as Elance, Guru.com and oDesk, which means that you can post the project there and request bids. It’s not always necessary to go in for the cheapest bid, because the concerned bidder might be lacking relevant experience.
In the end, you must understand that the market is unpredictable. Even if your app is beautiful, elegant, or feature packed, there is no guarantee that it will be a hit. Sometimes, an app is created from a developer point of view rather than a user point of view.
Such apps hold a slender chance of success, because the user view point has not been included as part of the design process. Also, in today’s fast paced life for most people, it is essential that an app loads quickly on a mobile device so that a user can view it on their mobile gadget with ease.
Finally, the view is that as app development is a fast-paced industry, what works today might not work tomorrow. Hence, apps need to adapt to fast changing social preferences and devices while maintaining their primary purpose. Nevertheless, a lot stands to be gained from mobile apps development, especially for small businesses and users can gain especially from these mobile apps in the long run!
Images: “Hand holding smartphone with media icons and symbol collection / Shutterstock.com“
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