In a report by Go-Globe, people spend 52 percent of their time on a mobile app. While mobile apps provide another way to engage with your customer is creating one really necessary for your business? Below, 12 entrepreneurs from YEC provide practical advice you can use to determine if an app is required to propel your business forward.
How Does It Help Your Customers?
I always ask my clients the following questions when they are not sure if their business needs a mobile app: Would an app bring new customers or help existing customers, would it help increase internal productivity, would it help beat the competition, would I get good ROI? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you should build an app for your business.
Where Does Your Audience Shop and Research?
If your audience uses their phone to do research, shop for what you offer, or needs to tap into what you offer on the go, then you need to get a mobile app to facilitate these tasks for your customers. Especially if you take a payment from them, then you really should get a mobile app.
What’s the Context of Use?
Think about the “context” of the user. They’re likely on the go, looking for immediate information/action and don’t have time for complicated multi-step experiences. If your business can play to these contextual clues, then an app might be helpful. If, however, your business can’t provide simple and immediate value, then a mobile app is likely not the best tool for engaging with customers.
Is There a Niche for It?
With the millions of apps available and being created yearly, consumers are getting tired of having an app for everything. Before investing in an app, consider whether or not this app will provide significant unique functionality. Are there other apps out there that do something similar? Would you be better off having a responsive version of your site? Make sure there’s a niche for your app!
Will It Add Value to the Customer Experience?
While it might be neat to have, if it doesn’t really add value for the customer in a way that excites them, then it’s not necessary. For example, if you are in a business where the on-demand concept is hot, you may want to consider adding an app to bring the mobility feature to the process. Also, if you think your customers may be enticed with loyalty programs and coupons, an app works well.
Who Is the App for?
The best apps delight users and empower their professional or social lives. Some of the worst apps exist solely to serve the interests of the company that made them. Ask yourself: Do you want an app to “increase engagement,” bombard users with promotional notifications, or harvest their data? Or do you want an app because you can see the real-world benefit to its future users?
Will It Provide a New Utility?
Begin with usability testing of your mobile site to see if an app will bring value to your most loyal customers. Brands with repeat customers who do very specific repetitive tasks on a mobile site can benefit by creating a seamless app experience with wanted push notifications, in-store beacons, customized offers, reminders and profile management.
Can It Be Handled Via the Web?
As CEO of a software company, I hear this question often. Thankfully the filter is straightforward – can what you need be handled via a website? If so, save your investment in an app. Visiting a website is simple, but the inertia of searching an app store, downloading and then actually opening and using an app is so high that it rarely pays off.
Will the Mobile App Deliver ROI?
Developing a native mobile app can get expensive depending on functionality. However, there are many cost-effective solutions that allow you to create an app without breaking the bank. Mobile apps are a great way to increase customer engagement and loyalty. Over time, that increase in customer engagement and loyalty will translate into an increase in revenue.
Has Anyone Asked You to Create a Mobile App?
Questions your team needs to consider as it relates to customers include: Did they tell you they were trying to find you in the app store and couldn’t? Have they complained about your mobile experience or lack thereof? What research have you done to find out how your customers feel about these matters?
Will It Increase Your Sales?
We had an e-commerce client who successfully converted about 1.5 percent of their visitors to paying customers who made at least one purchase. To decide if the business needs a mobile app or not, we tested the market with a simple minimum viable product and saw the conversion rate doubling. When asking yourself is a mobile app required for your business, build a prototype and test the results with your user base.
Will It Be Easier for Customers?
The biggest difference between being on a phone and being on a laptop is screen size. If your business depends on pictures, and customers need to see certain details before making a decision, a mobile app will not be used much. Ask yourself if your business requires a lot of subjective decisions on the customer’s end. If so, don’t do a mobile app. If not, why not try it?
The answers above are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.