An app, in its most basic form, is a computer program designed to run on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. Apps often work with internet services such as social media or email to add functionality and interactivity to mobile devices. If you’re looking to build a business app, you can either use existing software platforms (such as Google) or create your own platform. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that you consider your end goals when building your app; will it help achieve long-term strategies or are there ways it could be refined? What about costs? How much does it cost to build an app vs. hiring someone else to do it? Asking such questions early on will help you properly understand whether an app is what you need.
A common problem facing many small businesses is how to stay connected to customers when competing against companies with much larger budgets. One way to get around that issue, as it pertains to online businesses, is through a mobile app. A business can create and market a free mobile app that delivers useful services directly from their brand, making them more accessible than ever before. For example, Starbucks created an app specifically designed for its customers that provides coupons and other offers in addition to a rewards program and customer service. Users can also use apps like Yelp or Groupon to receive discounts on food and other items.
One of the biggest benefits of having a mobile app versus just relying on your website is control over user experience. When users visit your website they may see something different depending on what device they're using and what operating system they're running — but with a native mobile app, you can ensure that every customer sees exactly what you want them to see every single time. The fact that customers don't like surprises means less opportunity for things to go wrong in your business.
A good app goes a long way toward establishing your brand as mobile-friendly and attracts people who value user experience. You can even use your app to reward customers for positive behaviour, encourage repeat visits, and keep them coming back. These factors are important to building loyalty and retention — two elements of any successful business. For example, Starbucks lets you earn stars as rewards that can be redeemed for free drinks, food, or merchandise. Starbucks has created a community of brand loyalists by giving its customers something fun to do with their mobile devices. The more engaging your app is, the more likely it will motivate users to return and make future purchases.
There are many options to choose from when it comes to building a mobile app. Many popular business platforms like WordPress and Squarespace also offer mobile app templates that can make development easier and faster. Just know that no matter which platform you choose, development will take some time and cost money. Also, if you don’t update your app it can be removed from the app stores, so be sure you are ready for the commitment. You could spend as little as $2,000 on a simple database-driven app or as much as $1 million on a fully developed game with graphics, complex functionality, and more. It all depends on what you want your app to do and how complicated it needs to be.