Businesses develop apps in order to leverage the humungous portable device user base! Just about everyone has a mobile device, and many of those people eat, sleep, and breathe by their phones. Cell phones aren’t just about playing games and making calls anymore-- people use them to help run their lives! The ubiquity of smart phones, and the usefulness of mobile applications, makes having an app the future of business.
Seeing as most people have their phones with them 24/7, it makes sense that when you offer a customer a useful mobile app, you’re allowing them to access your services anywhere at any time, which facilitates a bond with your brand.
Here’s an example of how this bonding might evolve:
We have two dogs here in our office.
That’s little Bella and Dolce right there.
Aren’t they adorable?
We think so, but sometimes they get a bit smelly, bless their little hearts. And we’re so busy here that we don’t always have time to pamper the GLAD pooches like we should. So, wouldn’t it be nice if a dog groomer had a mobile app that helped by allowing us to schedule grooming services right from our smart phones?
It would be very nice.
And what if that app had location awareness technology, so that the groomer comes right to GLAD WORKS to pick Bella and Dolce up for a day of beauty?
That would be seriously fabulous, people.
And since we’re dreaming here, it would be pretty slick if the mobile app could save their grooming preferences—Dolce likes her nails painted in a demure shade of pink, Bella prefers oatmeal shampoo—so that those instructions are carried out every time they’re picked up by the groomer! If an app made life that simple, and they were the only dog groomers who had such a thing available, there would be no reason to call anyone else.
What we’ve just described here is the ideal app! It’s easy to use, interactive, and it fulfills a need by making life easier and helping accomplish a task.
But mobile apps don’t have to do all of that fancy stuff to be useful. They can be really simple, too, like an app that has recipes on it and gives you a list of what you’ll need to buy at the store. Maybe it even has a map of your favorite store. It all depends on what your customers will find valuable and useful. The hard part is figuring that out.
When thinking about possible app ideas for your business, there are a few things for you to consider:
Any company, whether they’re as small as little Bella and Dolce, or as big as Clifford the Big Red Dog, can benefit from a great customer-focused app, but you have to compete for your customer’s attention and loyalty! Just because they bought your app, doesn’t mean you’ve won their undying devotion. Your app must keep them engaged, or you’re going to lose them to companies that do have engaging and useful apps. That’s why it’s so important to put tons of thought and research into this—once you get those customers, you have to keep them!
So, ask yourself these questions:
- What do I want my customers to do with this app? Will it help them? Will it entertain them? Will it inspire them to spend money in my store?
- What will my business get from it? How can I grow my business with this?
- Will it create enough income to justify creating it?
Once you’ve answered these questions, save them. They’ll help guide you through the process and keep you focused on your goals. Once you’ve established what your intentions are, you’re ready to get creative! (Or, you can call us and we’ll get creative for you…)
A well thought out mobile app can help you boost your company’s bottom line in two ways. When you engage your customers and create a bond with them by offering them a useful app, they will think of you whenever they need something your business can provide. They’re also likely to recommend you to their friends. So, great apps can keep old customers coming back, and they can help bring in some new ones too.
There are two basic kinds of mobile apps:
- Those that are meant to generate income by customers paying to use them
- Those that serve purposes of marketing, branding, or customer service, which are usually free
Free apps are generally promotional in nature and make money by driving business to your company in some way. The fee-based apps are usually fancier than the free ones (duh! Or nobody would buy them!) and can be a direct source of revenue. Remember those goals you wrote out? Now would be a good time to dig them out and see how these choices fit into your plans.
Once you’ve established what your mobile app is going to do, you should know that different kinds of phones have different requirements, so you need to decide which kind of phone your customers are using and develop an app for that one first. Once it takes off, IF it takes off, you can develop apps for the other kinds later. Mobile devices have different building approaches based on who produces them. We recommend debuting your mobile app on the iPhone. Why? The iPhone arguably started the ubiquitous app trend, and still remains the easiest to build for from a development standpoint. Apple's iOS platform is limited to two major devices: the iPhone and iPad. Android and Blackberry have multiple devices to develop for, which in turn costs more in development and usability testing hours.
Now comes the hard part: How are you actually going to build this thing? That’s where folks like us come in. Apps aren’t so easy to create if you don’t have the technical know how to pull it off. So, whomever you choose to help you, make sure they
A) Know what they’re doing
B) Have two little dogs in the studio named Bella and Dolce, and
C) Have developed lots of apps and have loads of experience. (We’ve developed 400 of them here. Just sayin.’)
But seriously, if you need help, make sure you find the right people to guide you through this phase. Now is not the time to cut corners and have your neighbor’s kid do it for you. Trust us. Call us at (401) 724-4523 or use our iPhone App inquiry form to learn how we can make your iPhone Application dreams a reality without breaking the bank.
So, that’s basically it!
Just remember that today’s consumers are addicted to their mobile devices, and ignoring this fact and doing nothing to capitalize on it might turn out to be an unfortunate oversight in the future. Smart, forward thinking businesses are getting on board the app train to make sure they stay relevant and useful to their customers.
And please, if any of you out there are in the dog grooming business, CALL US! We’ve got a great idea for an app!