There is no disputing the fact that the rise of online shopping, coupled with the exponential growth in the use of smartphones, has disrupted how most businesses work. Large online retailers and giants have cornered a huge chunk of the market, hurting smaller businesses. At the same time, a few savvy small businesses have gone beyond the local market through the power of online selling.
Small businesses that stay ahead of the technological curve can not only keep competition at bay, but also get an unfavourable advantage over their rivals. Along with responsive websites, creative and strategic mobile apps can be formidable weapons in a small business’ arsenal.
How can mobile apps help small businesses? With consumer-facing apps, you can improve customer acquisition and retention, while business-facing apps can help you improve business productive and reduce costs. Let’s take a look at some really effective uses of mobile apps for small businesses:
1) Branding and marketing: A mobile application can set your business apart from the competition. With the rise of social media marketing, we have seen that consumers are ready to engage with specific brands on a daily basis. For small businesses with a personality, mobile applications function as a smart platform for marketing efforts. Building a mobile app for branding and marketing can be quite effective for your business if you are able to offer relevant information or entertainment to your customer base.
2) Mobile payments: Whether you are running a grocery store, are a clothes retailer or a restaurant owner, many of your customers are already using mobile applications to shop for the types of goods you are selling. And they will expect the same service from you. Even if you are a brick-and-mortar concern primarily, a mobile app that simply allows the customers the convenience of making swift mobile payments can go a long way in earning customer interest.
3) Improved services: It is possible to deliver a superior service experience to your customers through a mobile app. For instance, if you are an accounting firm, you can send regular reminders to your customers – reminding them of approaching deadlines, sending tips for tax saving and allowing them to make appointments. These are just a few basic examples – the information related to any facet of the services you provide can be delivered through the smartphone app.
4) Beacon and geo-location: In-store or location-based targeting can help stores target users on the basis of their location. Specific messages can be sent to devices based on the users’ location within the store. Mobile apps can also deliver specific messages or reminder when the users are within a certain distance from the store.
Checklist: Does my business need a mobile app?
If your answer to any of the below questions is in affirmative, you must consider investing in a mobile application.
- Can you get more business by reaching your customers 24/7?
- Can you reach a new set of customers through your mobile app?
- Are your customers likely to download your application?
- Can your application add convenience / entertainment to the life of your customers? Can it help you provide better service or experience?
- Can the app help you drive more sales?
- Can you reduce admin costs and time by using a mobile application?