8 Reasons Your Business Needs a Mobile App in 2016

8 Reasons Your Business Needs a Mobile App in 2016

If you’re in business, you will know that mobile is where all the action is today. You only have do a quick Google search that will inundate you with a plethora of statistics to show you how consumers are more dependent than ever on their mobile devices in their day to days lives and indeed, as they move along the path to purchase.

Ofcom research in 2015 has revealed that smartphones have overtaken laptops as the most popular device for getting online, with record ownership and use transforming the way we communicate. Two thirds of people now own a smartphone, using it for nearly two hours every day to browse the internet, access social media, bank and shop online. A third of internet users see their smartphone as the most important device for going online, compared to 30% who are still sticking with their laptop.

Interestingly, Smartphones have become the hub of our daily lives and are now in the pockets of two thirds (66%) of UK adults, up from 39% in 2012. The vast majority (90%) of 16-24 year olds own one; but 55-64 year olds are also joining the smartphone revolution, with ownership in this age group more than doubling since 2012, from 19% to 50%. This surge is being driven by the increasing take-up of 4G mobile broadband, providing faster online access. During 2014, 4G subscriptions have leapt from 2.7 million to 23.6 million by the end of 2014.

Believe it or not, we now spend almost twice as long online with our smartphones than on laptops and personal computers. On average, mobile users spent nearly two hours online each day using a smartphone in March 2015 (1 hour and 54 minutes), compared to just over an hour spent online by laptop and PC users (1 hour and nine minutes). The rise in smartphone surfing marks a clear shift since 2014, when just 22% turned to their phone first, and 40% preferred their laptop.

This rise in mobile-phone usage means that having a web presence alone is no longer sufficient as online activity continues to shift to mobile. As such, smartphone apps have become a key marketing tool for companies of all sizes, including small businesses. If you are a small business owner and your business does not have a mobile app, you need to get one. Simply put, smartphone apps have become too important a marketing tool for small business owners to do without.

If you think that mobile apps are solely for big name brands like Marks and Spencer and Barclays, you are wrong. More and more small and midsize businesses are following the mobile trend, understanding that an effective mobile strategy involves more than just a mobile-friendly website. These days you’ll notice that many small businesses you interact with in your everyday life have their own dedicated mobile app — be it the corner coffee shop or the local beauty spa down the road. These businesses are ahead of the game when it comes to taking their marketing to the next level.

On a basic level, there are typically three reasons why you might want to build an app: to increase brand awareness, to acquire new customers, or to provide an improved service for existing customers. Beyond that however, an app can go above and beyond providing your current (and potential) customers with a highly interactive, personalized and valuable mobile experience. Mobile apps increase engagement with customers. They boost repeat visits and permit a wide variety of online transactions, including the deployment of loyalty cards, push promotions, and ecommerce transactions. Apps also allow you to deliver coupons, send announcements that build your sales with customers and importantly also accelerate contact with your business, which enhances relationships with customers in a world where speedy responses are appreciated and also expected by consumers.

Still not convinced? Here are eight top benefits of getting a mobile app for your business;

1. Mobile Is King
Since 2008, the average smartphone user has gone from spending just a few minutes a day on his/her device to spending nearly three hours each day consuming mobile digital media. Around 90 percent of those three hours each day is spent interacting with apps on the mobile device, compared with just over 10 percent spent on mobile websites. In addition, in 2014, mobile use topped desktop use for the first time, so if you are just banking on your mobile website to capture your customers’ attention, you need to think again.

2. Create a Direct Marketing Channel
Apps serve many functions: they can provide general information, news feeds, booking forms, search features, prices, user accounts, messengers, and much more. One of the biggest benefits of having a mobile app is that all the information you’d like to provide to your customers – including special sales and promotions – is right at their fingertips. Through push notifications you’re getting even closer to a direct interaction, and can easily remind customers about your products and services whenever you want.

3. Provide Value to Your Customers
Convenience
– Mobile applications are easier to use than websites. Apps are usually designed with primary focus on usability. The benefits are even greater when businesses develop a custom mobile app that allow more flexibility and can address specific customer needs. This professionalism you show will increase trust and recognition by your targeted audience through your app.

Anywhere, Anytime – A mobile app can be accessed from anywhere at any time. Consumers can interact with your business while on the go. For example, they can not only place orders but can access all account information, track recent sales and account activity. Business can also respond immediately to customer requests. This level of service takes your business to the next level in your customers’ minds.

Ease – An app provides you with an easy way to display your products and/or services to your existing and prospective customers. Each time they want to purchase something, they can simply use it as one-stop point to get all the information they need. Going beyond this, whenever you update the content, you can notify them and they can get the first glimpse of the new products or services you have on offer. This invites and tempts customers to check out your app.

Better Service and Sales – Mobile app development has made sales easier than ever before. It is changing the way people buy and sell products and services, changing the way customers view and research a product/service before purchasing. This means that consumers have more options than ever to make informed buying decisions. Mobile apps are perfect for service and support and your business will benefit greatly from provide your client with a dedicated app, focused on providing customers with the information they are looking for.

4. Build Brand and Recognition
A mobile app for your business can greatly contribute to your brand awareness. A mobile app is like a blank billboard sign. You can do what you want with it, packing it full with features your customers will love, while at the same time having it well branded and beautifully designed. The more valuable and engaging functions/ content you put into your app, the more you can get customers involved with your app and therefore the sooner they will be inclined to buy your product and/or service.

5. Improve Customer Engagement
Having a messaging (or help desk) feature within your app can really make a difference in the way you communicate with your customers. Prioritising engagement ensures that your business is right in the palm of your customer’s hand. Consumers can interact with your business while in the car, in the dentist waiting room and in line at the bank. Furthermore, you can use their location and profile information to personalize your offers in order to make them more relevant and attractive.

6. Stand Out From the Competition
When you hear the word ‘app’ it immediately conjures up the image of a large FTSE 500 company, and as such mobile apps at the small business level are still quite rare. This is where you can take a big leap ahead of your competitors. Be the first in your industry/ location etc. to offer a mobile app to your customers and they’ll be astonished by your forward-thinking approach.

7. Real-Time Rich Data Capture
A mobile application saves you from the slow process of collecting data and analysing it. Mobile apps make it easy to capture information about customer preferences and actions on your app. This information can be used to deliver personalized content that is relevant to the individual consumer as well as for making decisions on how to improve your app based on how customers are actually using it.

8. Cultivate Customer Loyalty
Last but certainly not least, with all the noise out there — roadside billboards, facebook ads, newspaper ads, flyers, vouchers, websites, website banners, and email marketing — we slowly lose our impact on customers because of the immense amount of advertising surrounding us all. A mobile app can be a way of cutting through the noise and going back to the time of making a true and sincere connection with your customers, encouraging them to become a loyal lover of your product and/or service and seeing you as trusted authority by being just a “fingertip” away at all times.

The mobile industry is thriving and a mobile app is going to be a standard component of any business in the future. If your business is not mobile and not thinking about investing in mobile app development, then you are already behind your competitors. Set the foundation for your forward-thinking business today, get in touch. Call us on 0845 543 8477 or email info@obelisk-apps.co.uk