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Last week whilst riding the train, I overheard a conversation that really made me think about why a business needs a mobile app. Two gents in their late-twenties were discussing their preferred barbershops. They were almost arguing about which was actually the best place to get a haircut! Because my friend owns a barbershop in another part of the city, I listened intently and made mental notes. As they each began to lose interest in winning the argument, one asked a decisive question. He asked how difficult it was to get an appointment with his favorite stylist. The other responded cheerfully, “There’s an app for that!”

My mate is a little old fashioned, but understands the importance of keeping his business relevant to his clientele.  We’ve even discussed the possibility of developing a mobile app for his customers. But like most business owners, he doesn’t recognise the impact a mobile app can have on his business. He has yet to realise that companies who choose to incorporate a mobile app into their strategy have seen up to a 60% increase in profits. 

Have YOU considered developing a mobile app for your business? If not, you need to check out the infographic below and read on!

does my business need an app

Reason #1: To Maximise Engagement

We all see people hypnotised by their phones, accessing the never-ending wealth of information and entertainment available at their fingertips. Did you know that the average person spends four to five HOURS on their phone every day? It’s hard to imagine what they are doing that keeps them so occupied and focused. However, statistics tell us almost 92% of that time is spent in mobile apps. Playing games. Posting on social media. Making an appointment with their hair stylist. The list of mobile apps available is overwhelming, many of them free to users, giving us the ability to avoid having to sit down in front of a computer or laptop to conduct our daily business.

Better yet, mobile apps even have the ability to prompt users with notifications that they need our attention. With this increased level of engagement, users are far more likely to continue in the habit of tapping those alluring icons, almost ensuring they will be repeat customers, time and again. Ultimately, this engagement feeds your bottom-line revenue! This is because they have direct access to the solution to their problems through your presence in their pocket.

Reason #2 Why Your Business Needs An App: To Build Brand Loyalty

Because we each have preferences, we often hold a point of pride in the companies we frequent. The train gents certainly were fond of their barbershops. As a new customer of any business, our most critical evaluation occurs during the first transaction.  Beyond that point, any contact either strengthens or weakens our opinion. This is actually great news for savvy business owners that provide consistent value to the clients they serve! Once we prove our value, we can build a certain loyalty with people that can tolerate the occasional hiccup in perfection.

Looking at the rising costs of marketing and advertising to new audiences, the profit margins on those first transactions become razor-thin. In fact, acquiring new customers will cost businesses more than seven times the amount of retaining a current customer. Added to this, repeat customers often spend 14 times MORE after loyalty has been developed. By engaging more with current customers through your mobile app, customer loyalty becomes stronger over time. This results directly in more stable cash flow, higher profit margins and even more capital available to help scale your business.   

Reason #3: To Stand Out from Competition

It was clear to the gents on the train, the level of service was a determining factor in how much they would prefer one barber shop over another. Likewise, nothing is more telling about the level of customer service a business provides than how they handle problems and complaints. Should a client encounter a problem or have a question, they typically have only a handful of methods to resolve it. In person, which is time consuming and undesirable. Over the phone, which can be even more time consuming and frustrating. Website navigation, generally confusing and sometimes leaves the situation unresolved.

However, if you implemented a well-developed mobile app that was focused on solving your customer’s problems, you actually have a chance to become the hero! It might alarm you to know that 66% of businesses without mobile apps have actually seen a decline in reported customer service levels. Now ask yourself again, does my business need an app? You would probably say yes now, right? Offering customer service solutions through your app helps you stand out from your competition. This solidifies your position as a leader in your industry.

In most cases, customers walk away from a business within one day should their concerns not be resolved appropriately. Not only will you be prepared to offer the highest levels of service to your current clientele, but you will also become known as the best choice for those unhappy clients of competitive brands.  

Reason #4 Why Your Business Needs An App: To Market More Directly

Many of the justifications for developing an app can actually seem subsidiary at first glance. However customer direct marketing is one immediately tangible benefit.  Remember, when your customers choose to download your mobile app, they are actually inviting your message to find them! In the barrage of unrequested and misaligned marketing messages that are hurled at each of us on – what certainly feels like – a constant basis, users of a mobile app will be most receptive to effective and appropriate marketing from their preferred company in that industry. 

For example, if I own a golf center, my mobile app users might be predominantly middle-aged men. If my message has information about the newest type of golf ball available, it has more likelihood of striking the mark. Yet, if I sent a marketing message for women’s lingerie to the same group of middle aged men…well, perhaps that is a poor example.

The point being, if the message is not aligned correctly with the intended audience, it misses the mark.

With an app, you can be close to 70% certain that your marketing efforts will align with the audience. This increases their interest in your products or services. 

What’s more, as users navigate the app and engage through your process, the data collected will become invaluable to understanding EXACTLY what your customers like and dislike.  If you ask one hundred people what features they would like to see in your app, most will not even be able to think of a response. Some will name awkward features or distracting bells and whistles. Once you have the initial version of an app, you will receive data by testing the app with 100 of your well-established customers. Here is where you will be able to tell exactly what they prefer.

As you custom tailor your features and benefits to the customer over time, you are no longer guessing at what might work and hoping for the best, you will have the answer in the palm of your hand.

Reason #5 Why Your Business Needs An App: To Provide More Value

Ultimately, the companies that succeed are the ones that are able to provide the most value to their customers. In the past few decades, websites were able to provide a level of value that had never before been experienced. But the truth is, a website is only a basic level of interaction that leaves the process in the hands of the user.  They click and scroll, sometimes never finding the solution or function that will meet their needs. With a mobile app, you are able to custom tailor an interactive process. This can determine the user’s needs and provide a solution within moments.

The most valuable thing in the world is time. People are no longer willing to waste it by waiting patiently for information.  Every second that passes pushes their attention further and further from your product or service.

Having a website is great – almost a necessity. But a mobile app will provide a level of value that will set a new standard for your customers’ expectations.

Another source of value presents itself in how your customers communicate with you through an app on their mobile device. There is no need to call them back, shoot them an email, or any other method of communication. Your company can actually respond immediately, THROUGH THE APP! Hold onto your hat because that isn’t the end of the story. You can likewise communicate with the user at any time no matter where they are.  Everyone carries their phones with them. Updates and notifications add a level of value that can push your customers into a new paradigm of service.

We all enjoy when a product or service meets our needs and expectations, right? But how much more valuable is it when that product or service suggests itself to us, just at the right moment! The gent on the train understood this immediately. If he were using the mobile app of his favourite barbershop to find the nearest location, the app interacts back. It may ask if he would like to schedule an appointment with his favourite stylist. Or even purchase his favourite shampoo because it has been almost thirty days since he picked up his last bottle. Endless possibilities, unprecedented value. 

To Conclude…

Does my business need an app? Not every industry model would have great potential for a custom app. The question you have to ask yourself is this:

Does building brand loyalty with customers over time and providing them with as much value as possible align with the vision and mission of my company?

If no, then a mobile app may not be the right solution. As the gents on the train convinced me, it certainly would be a great idea for my mate’s barbershop. In fact, I went to visit him and after I was done explaining some of my ideas for an app that would serve his clientele, he suggested that we call to order pizza, hoping to stay in and continue our discussion. You already know what I said, “There’s an app for that!”

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