Does Your Small Business Need a Mobile App

Does Your Small Business Need a Mobile App

Choosing whether or not to go with a mobile app for your business isn’t an easy decision. More users are moving away from laptops and desktops to mobile devices that will satisfy their computing needs. You can’t afford to ignore them and stay competitive, but is a dedicated app right for your business?

Most companies today offer either a mobile-friendly website or a mobile app, if not both. It’s important to know the difference before you start investing in your company’s future.

Mobile Websites

A mobile site is hosted over the Internet just like any other website. The difference is that mobile-friendly sites are designed to be displayed on smaller touch screens. Mobile sites are usually simplified and streamlined for faster load times. Truly mobile-responsive sites can detect the type of device trying to access them and adapt automatically to the best display and performance.

Mobile Apps

A mobile app, however, is a stand-alone program designed for mobile devices. They are downloaded and installed like any other computing program. Typically apps are download from an online store like Google Play, or perhaps a company website that offers its own apps. Apps may be free or paid, but most companies with their own app offer it for free to encourage its use among consumers.

Features of Apps

Mobile-optimized sites and mobile apps are different, but both generally provide the same features. And they typically serve the same purpose – making it easier for mobile users to find and interact with your company. Mobile apps are quicker and easier to access than web pages, while allowing you to customize your own marketing strategies and payment platforms. Some of the benefits designed into a mobile app include:

  • Marketing via email or text, such as loyalty programs, digital coupons, or opt-in offers.
  • Social sharing – Mobile users can share your company content on various social media sites by simple using a button.
  • M-commerce, or mobile commerce, which allows uses to view and purchase your products with various easy payment options.
  • One-click calling lets users tap a button connecting them to live phone operators in customer support. One-click chat is a similar features that connects users via live text.
  • Click to map lets mobile users tap a link to find your business locations, including directions, through their device GPS.

Cost of mobile app development

When considering a mobile app, you generally have the option of either building your own or hiring a developer. Understand that a successful app is more than just writing some code. With the variety of devices out there, apps have to be cross-platform in nature. The three dominant mobile device OSs include iOS, Windows, and Android, but there are others. Apps that interact with social media or the Web have to consider compatibility with the platforms of major social sites like Twitter or Instagram, and incorporating HTML5 and the latest version of other code and security standards. All of this must be packaged in a graphical user experience that is designed for appeal and ease-of-use.

When considering what the total cost might be, don’t forget that in addition to the actual development you’ll have costs regarding testing, product launch, marketing of the app, and ongoing support. Big corporations might spend a million dollars or more on a major app, while even small businesses can expect to spend $50,000 or more. If you’re prepared to invest, the best choice for SMBs is often outsourcing to a professional development company that already has the skills, experience, and organization to produce apps efficiently.

Who benefits

With all the potential features and revenue-generating benefits, nearly every company could benefit from a mobile app. Every business with a physical location, retailers, transpiration and supply chain vendors, construction companies, business analysts and consultants, and anyone using social media can improve their marketing presence. However, companies that don’t typically have long-term customers, such as hotels, surgical clinics, roofers, and even real estate brokers are unlikely to get a full return on investment, as they tend toward one-time clients who are unlikely to bother installing and keeping a mobile app.

Mobile devices are the new digital wave that it seems is only expanding, all over the world. In this digital landscape, a large and growing segment of the population is uses their phones to find and buy products. A mobile app can help in promoting your business and tapping this vast marketplace, so establishing a mobile presence is a wise investment.

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SMB Reviews
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SMBReviews is committed to providing small and mid-sized business owners with the information and resources they need to select the best service or product for their company.

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