Mobile phones and devices have become an integral component of Western society as a whole. How do they impact businesses and should you invest in one?
We use them to communicate with others, access information, go to school, and a plethora of other things. Many of us can’t even think of a single day when our devices aren’t by our side.
Although this sometimes puts a dent in our social lives, it’s good news for businesses. We live in a time where convenience is king, where purchasing items from a smartphone or mobile device is the preferred shopping experience for many consumers.
Even though mobile apps have been around for a while now, many businesses still don’t have an app to call their own. With the way apps are trending, your business will be left behind if you don’t get a move on. So, are mobile apps the future of business? For the foreseeable future, the resounding answer is yes.
Mobile Apps: A History
First, some background on mobile apps and how they came to be.
In June 1983, Steve Jobs predicted that we would one day use digital distribution systems, likening it to a record store.
As the years passed, different devices were created with rudimentary apps — such as calendars and email — and predictions were made on appliances that would connect and entertain us even more.
With the advent of PDAs, it opened the door to a whole new line of portable devices that contained simple games for consumers to play. Soon after, iPods, iTunes, and iPhones were invented, leading to the eventual development of the App Store.
In just the first week alone of the App Store opening in 2008, 10 million of the 800 native apps were downloaded. In just a few short months, the App Store recorded over 100 million downloads with more than 3,000 apps to select.
From there, other companies created their own app stores, including Google, Microsoft, and Amazon. With over a million apps to choose, billions of downloads and smartphones worldwide, the rest, as you would say, is history.
Why Your Business Needs a Mobile App
This rise of app culture has resulted in the downfall of many businesses that don’t have apps of their own. That’s reason enough to develop an app right now. However — whether you’re business is big or small — there are more benefits of going mobile than just staying afloat.
Mobile apps are an integral part in any business’s marketing campaign. With people spending up to 5 hours a day on their smartphones, it’s hard to get that kind of customer visibility anywhere else. The push notification function of mobile apps is also a great resource for companies since you can send regular reminders on special sales and new items to consumers.
Plus, apps offer users easy access to information on your business that people should be aware of or need regular help on. It’s doesn’t hurt your branding either to be on more people’s phones. Having an app that’s eye-catching while representing the kind of company you are will encourage more downloads and recognition over time.
Mobile apps can also make it easier for customers to engage with your business. About 50 percent of people would rather use a customer service app than call, so having a messaging feature on your app will encourage more people to get in contact with you if they have a question or feedback.
Beating the competition
Also, as mentioned before, there are still plenty of businesses that don’t utilize mobile apps. By getting ahead of the game and creating your own before them, you’ll be able to surpass your competition and stand out to consumers.
It can be difficult to be noticed in a crowd, but the loyalty of customers can still be won by making things as convenient as possible for them. By being one click of an app away from them, you’ll win the hearts of consumers as well as exceed your bottom-line.
Mobile App Trends to Look Out For
To get the most out of an app for your business, jump on top of upcoming mobile trends and be a trailblazer in your industry. As we know, fortune does favor the bold. Here are some mobile app trends you should keep on your radar:
- Single Feature Apps: Facebook and Google have already taken advantage of this trend by breaking down functions of their central mobile app into different standalone apps. Single feature apps are especially useful when particular features are heavily used over others, such as Facebook’s messaging service (Messenger) and Google’s word processor (Docs).
- Playable Mobile Ads: If we can skip over a mobile ad, we usually do. However, by making an ad into a mini-game, people will not only participate, but actually enjoy the experience. How many other ads can say they do that?
- Chat bots: Chat bots will definitely be making more of their way into mobile apps. No matter the time or day, chat bots can help customers through their shopping experience and also provide you with a wealth of information on what customers like and don’t like.
- Instant Apps: Although Instant Apps is a Google service, it’s predicted to become an app-wide trend very soon. Instant Apps allows people to test an app without even downloading it. So instead of missing out on a useful mobile app because you can’t use it before you buy it, you can now try them out before making a financial or data storage commitment.
Many innovations come and go in the business industry. However, as long as mobile phones and devices are around, mobile apps will be too. If you want your company to last in the long run, you need to invest in an app and keep up with current mobile trends. After all, in order to be successful in business, you need to be where your customers are at — and right now, they’re on their devices using apps.
Author: Amethyst Tagney is a freelance writer and illustrator. She spends her time writing on a variety of topics and is an avid learner. When Amethyst’s not drawing, she loves to share what she discovers. You can find her on Twitter @AmTagWrites.