Does your small business need a smartphone app? It could be useful. Depending on your customer base demographic and future marketing efforts, getting a phone app for your business might be a useful way to promote customer loyalty, make it easier for your clients to schedule appointments, or even place orders to your store conveniently. As smartphones become more widespread and more capable of being used to complete small business transactions, they offer a greater chance to reach and serve a large number of customers.
Here are some questions to keep in mind when considering whether or not to get your company an app.
What Would Be Your App’s Main Function?
While a phone app can be programmed do many things, the most successful apps stick to one or two key functions. Would your app allow your customers to place orders to be picked up in store? Then you’ll have to make sure your app can communicate with your store’s main email and possibly with your inventory. Is an app that lets your customer receive personalized loyalty discounts what would be most useful? Consider how the app would synch with whatever your customer loyalty software currently is. Could your app let clients pay their outstanding balances by phone?
By having a clear idea of your app’s basic design and functionality, you can estimate both its usefulness to your clients and the difficulty of development.
Would Your App Fill A Need?
You wouldn’t invest in providing a new product or service for your customers without first determining that it would be of use, would you? Similarly, before devoting a considerable amount of resources towards building your app, determine that there is a demand for the product. A quick way to determine if the app would be of use would be to look at your customers’ most common complaints or suggestions! Compile feedback from your customers on whether or not an app that performs your intended service would be convenient to them before you look for a developer.
It’s also important to consider if any other small businesses have apps that perform the same function or if there are any competitive apps that might perform it better. For example, if you run a petrol station, creating an app that displays the current price at your store might make you stand out from other small petrol station businesses, but could your app stand up next to the more global MotorMouth or Petrol Station Finder apps? Knowing your competition will give you a better idea as to whether or not an app is right for you.
Who Would Develop the App?
Once you’ve determined that an app would in fact be useful for your small business, it’s time to consider the logistics of actually having it developed. Broadly speaking, there are three main ways to go about developing your phone app. You can:
- Develop the app yourself.
This method would be the cheapest option and, if you’re handy with programming languages, will allow you to build your company’s app to whatever specifications you desire. Attempting to design and build your own Android or iOS app without a solid programming base is, however, ill-advised and can result in a sub-par or non-functioning product that no customer would want. Be honest with yourself about your skill level.
- Use an app-building WYSIWYG.
A compromise between hiring a developer and doing it yourself, a WYSIWYG (or, What You See is What You Get) lets you “build” an app without programming skills. By offering a number of app templates which you can customize to better suit your brand, WYSIWYG companies will provide you with an app that is less expensive than contracting a developer and also easier than building it yourself. The downside? Working off of templates doesn't give you the same creative control of function and design. Decide if sacrificing originality and control is worth the price and convenience before going this route.
- Hire a professional.
While contracting a professional developer might be a more expensive option, it’s often worth the price. A professional developer will work closely with you to make sure that your app is functional, well designed, and meets all of your requirements.
Interested in getting your small business a unique app or other personalized software? Check with us . BuzzAGeek provides custom software development and can provide intelligent and friendly customer service to help you determine your individual needs.