Knowledge is power, especially when making apps

With the vast majority of the population relying on apps, making apps to help your small business see bigger turnover, reach more buying customers, and retain those who are already loyal to you is a huge advantage.

This is a guest post from Jonathan Carmel, Founder at Comparakeet.

According to mobile measurement and advertising platform Flurry, the average person spends 86% of his or her smartphone and tablet usage on apps.

Chart displaying Time spent on iOS and Android devices between apps and browser

Time spent on iOS and Android Connected devices.

How to build an app that will boost your business

Your small business mobile app should definitely not go to waste, especially since you will or already have invested time, money, and effort in creating an app.

Presence and presentation

When creating an app for your business, look at it as another opportunity to solidify your branding.

As you have probably noticed, an app is usually represented by an app icon that differentiates it from the thousands of other apps out there. The icon should be something simple but recognizable, such as a company’s logo. An outstanding app design will increase your brand’s awareness and reach, as shown in Comparakeet’s review on Shoutem.

Using the name of your company can also work and can actually help make your brand a household name for clients and customers if they are exposed to it numerous times.

Functionality: Test and debug

The overall look and feel of your business app should be consistent with your company’s culture, whether it is simple and minimalistic or grand and highly intense. Whichever path you choose, functionality should always be the first priority in an application, especially since one of the main reasons customers will be compelled to download an app is the convenience it offers.

Always keep the user in mind when designing the overall layout of your app.

Simply having a business app is an advantage, and it will put you in front of your competition. However, you should make sure you created a plan and made a list of goals you want to achieve with your business app.

Only a fully functional, fast, user-friendly mobile app will enable your clients to share likes and recommendations with other people and prevent them from getting frustrated with a buggy app just sitting on their home screens.

If properly built, fully tested, and debugged, your app will load fast, and it will become your company’s best entry into the mobile space.

Young male making apps design prototype on papers

Prototype your mobile app.

Accessibility: Ease of use

Once a customer installs an app on his or her device, it is considered accessible, right? Nope. Once your company decides to create an app, consider what it will include and how easy it should be to use.

If applicable and if your budget permits, you can incorporate a payment gateway (such as PayPal, Authorize.net, or First Data) so customers can use your app to purchase items from your store.

As an alternative, you can include a menu so customers can see a comprehensive catalog of your products or services and their prices. Don’t forget to include your operating hours if you have a brick-and-mortar store.

This information will be accessible to users even when their phones are offline, so make sure you take advantage of this.

To help extend the reach of your business app, make sure it is compatible with and available on the most prominent mobile platforms: iOS and Android.

Excel at customer support: Instant communication

Improved customer service and direct links to customers are two of the biggest reasons why small businesses opt to create apps. This certainly has a positive effect on the customer experience since clients know they have the power to be heard by companies and receive responses as soon as possible.

With the power of social media today, every single customer interaction can either enhance or damage a brand’s name, so it is absolutely imperative that you give your customers a way to express their concerns and feedback.

A support channel in an app shortens response times and reduces negative word of mouth. In addition, superb customer service will encourage people to come back to your shop, especially since they know any issue they have will be investigated and resolved in an efficient, timely manner.

The power of word of mouth: Social media

Since social media power is increasing, make sure you connect your app to various platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat, so your customers can share their experiences with your brand, review or share the products they purchase, and get inspiration for future transactions.

Social media can boost your business app to reach more customers

Use the power of social media to promote your app.

Increase retention: Push notifications

Business Insider found a positive relationship between enabled push notifications and user retention:

By using push notifications, you can easily disseminate important announcements to your users. In addition, you can send promos, special deals, and flash sales, the success of which depends heavily on customer participation, directly to each customer, removing the need for flyers, banners, and posters.

Moreover, you can create a loyalty program to show your appreciation for recurring customers and offer them rewards. Letting loyalty app users know about these special offers first will make them feel special and cared for, therefore earning your business lots of points for customer service.

Chart displaying global average app retention rate for iOS users in 2016

The chart of global average app retention rate for iOS users.

Use your business app to monitor the market

Once you create an app, one of the best ways to use your mobile channel is to gather user-generated data. This data will help you identify the demographics of your market, which can help you make or break your business model.

Eventually, you can create more effective promos and marketing plans, experiment with new offerings, and determine which products or services are your best sellers and which are slow movers.

You can adapt your business strategies and major decisions based on the information gathered via your business app. Having a reference point when making a choice, no matter how small that choice is, can help you determine where your business should go. Knowledge is power, after all.