When you consider that the average smartphone user launches an average of 6.65 apps per week (and this number is increasing year-over-year), you may be prompted to build your own app. But before you invest in a mobile app, there are other factors that you need to consider. Digging a little deeper into the research, we find that users tend to use only five apps on their mobile device on a regular basis, and one in four users abandons a downloaded app after installation – so navigating the world of helping your customers interact with your brand better via an app is more complicated than it first sounds. This is why we here at Designli spend so much time ‘framing up’ the goals and motivations of new software projects, collaboratively identifying the best way to solve a specific problem or to engage customers.
How do you know if a mobile app will benefit your company?
Here are five factors you should consider before building a mobile app for your customers.
1. How Established Is Your Customer Base?
When developing a customer base, your company’s marketing dollars should be focused on building a mobile-friendly experience. Perhaps this means a mobile app, but maybe it means a mobile-optimized website (or ‘web-app’) that can be used without the user having to install anything on their phones.
With over 2.1 million apps available in the app store, your app appearing in search results without being explicitly searched for is not very likely. For this reason, mobile apps work best for engaging current customers; if new customers will be using the app, it will need to be marketed so that it’s searched for directly.
2. What are Your Mobile App Goals?
Building a mobile app just because it’s “cool” or because “everyone has one” won’t tell you what your customers value in an app or what features would help you reach your growth goals. Outline the specific goals that your mobile app should accomplish to help determine if you need to build one. Speak with a firm like Designli that can help you prioritize the user experience of your customers over anything else, and to help identify the most applicable software-driven solution – even if it isn’t what you were initially thinking.
3. How Would an App Make Your Customers’ Lives Easier?
One of the most important things to address is how a mobile app would actually help your customers. Will they be able to more easily perform actions using a mobile app than using your mobile website? Can you automate redundant tasks and make it easier for your customers to interact with your brand? Can you use a mobile app to keep your customers better informed? Do your customers use other device functions, like taking photos or accessing GPS when interacting with your product or services?
For example, if you offer a loyalty program, you can use an app to help your customers keep track of their savings and alert them to new opportunities. Exercise tracking apps may use GPS to calculate and report results.
Knowing how your customers interact with your products will help determine if building a mobile app will benefit them.
4. How Is Your Competition Using Mobile Apps?
Do some research to discover if your competitors are using mobile apps. If so, review their download numbers to get a baseline on their popularity. Are their apps popular? What services are they offering on their apps? Are there things you can do better?
Knowing what’s already working and what’s not can help determine if building an app for your customers will be a good investment.
5. How Much Will It Cost to Create and Market?
Build cost is another important piece of the puzzle. How will you build your app? Do you have talent in-house or will you outsource? There are plenty of routes to take when it comes to designing and developing a new mobile app, so it’s important to consider all of your options and the pros and cons of each.
Don’t forget marketing costs as well. Like any other product your company creates, a mobile app will need to be marketed to your customers in order to be successful. Create a plan to get your mobile app in front of your customers once it’s built and keep them using it once they have it.
6. How Will You Test and Measure User Experience?
A poor or under-performing mobile app can be worse than no app at all. How will you test user experience? Before launch, your app should be thoroughly tested for functionality and ease of use. During and after launch, it’s important to continue gathering user feedback and have a process in place to make improvements.
Building an app for your customers can help improve sales, build customer loyalty, and set your company apart from the competition. However, creating a mobile app just for the sake of having an app is not the best approach. Know what you want to accomplish, do your research, and have a roadmap to create an app that will truly resonate with your customers.
Want to learn about our app roadmapping process or talk about your project idea? Get in touch.