Almost every business has an app that helps them connect with their customers. Even retail stores now have apps that represent their loyalty program, their massive catalogs of products, and their online shopping experience. The debate around whether businesses really need apps for their individual brand has been going on for ages, but the big question remains: are apps still a valuable asset for today’s business?
This is not a question that can be answered without first looking into the advantages offered by developing a native app for your business. Whether an app can be a valuable asset for today’s – your – business depends on whether your business needs these market advantages.
A Native Experience
One of the biggest advantages offered by apps is the native user experience that they can deliver. Unlike websites, apps can interact with user devices directly. They can tap into native functionalities such as camera and GPS without asking for user permission every time.
This type of native experience means native apps can be used to deliver a unique and positive experience in more ways. If you are a retailer that wants to offer a better shopping experience to your customers, for instance, you can use a native app to offer location-based promotional offers.
It is also important to note that user experience is more important than ever. Users have more options and the market is heavily saturated, so it is not surprising to find businesses with native apps that deliver a good user experience to be leading different market segments.
You don’t have to have a large development team to develop a native app. There is also no need to make large investments in the app itself or the cloud infrastructure that supports it. The latter is now offered as services, which means you can have your cloud infrastructure up and running with as little as £3.80 per month.
Development is also more manageable with service providers and teams of experienced developers. As long as there are project leads working in-house and managing freelancers or external developers, you can adopt methodologies such as agile without hiring in-house developers extensively.
The same is true for testing. Global App Testing is a good example of a reliable testing provider. Globalapptesting.com is filled with information on how you can streamline agile testing and ensure the delivery of working apps while keeping the development cycles short.
More Marketing Opportunities
Having an app means having one more marketing channel to utilise. More importantly, the app is already in your users’ phone, which means you can run marketing campaigns designed to build a stronger, more personal relationship with the customers.
The loyalty app mentioned at the beginning of the article is usually created for this purpose. Users can collect loyalty points, earn rewards, and get push notifications on exclusive discounts or other promotional offers, all while enjoying a pleasant UX.
Other apps are tailored more towards making sure that users can enjoy the most value from the products they buy. For example, retailer AliExpress regularly publishes articles to help users pick the best products at the best prices. It’s not always about promotional offers.
Better Understanding of the Users
Another great thing about publishing a native app is the ability to better understand how users interact with your brand, your products, and your organisation as a whole. This is something that websites or landing pages cannot always offer.
Once again, the fact that the app is installed on the users’ smartphones is responsible for this. You can collect more data about the customers and gain a much better understanding of the market; data collection is done with the user’s permission of course.
Being able to collect and process user data brings more advantages to the table. You can have personalised promotional offers, customise the user experience to specific needs, and even run campaigns that target specific pockets in your target market segments.
Good for Branding
Let’s not forget that your business app is a branding opportunity. There are actually a lot of opportunities to run branding campaigns when you have an app on the App Store and Play Store. You can, for instance, use branded app icons to promote brand elements and become the company that users remember the most in your category.
The same is true with the onboarding pages, the main page of your app, and the rest of the user experience. As long as you maintain a consistent branding across the user journey, you will always have the opportunity to connect with users on a deeper level.
At the same time, you can use your app’s pages on the Play Store and App Store to put emphasis on certain parts of your brand. The screenshots or app videos posted on App Store, for instance, can be used to highlight the unique selling propositions that your business has.
Higher Customer Engagement
Multiple studies have shown that native apps boost customer engagement by as much as 80%. When customers have your app installed, they are more likely to inquire about your products, interact with your brand, and buy your products and services more frequently.
It doesn’t stop with customer engagement either. Customers who are used to engaging with your brand will also make purchases faster. They don’t have a long decision-making process like customers who are not familiar with your app’s user experience.
This means you can use native apps to shorten your sales funnel by a substantial margin. The result is not just a higher conversion rate, but also a shorter, more efficient sales funnel and a more pleasant customer journey.
A Wider Reach
The biggest benefit of them all, however, is the fact that you can expand your reach with the help of the app. As long as you offer real value to the users – and not just paying customers – you can have an app in millions of user devices in no time.
That brings us back to our original question: is it still a good idea to invest in an app today? With all of these benefits to enjoy, the answer to that question is a definite yes.