The following is an excerpt from our new Guide to Mobile Apps for Business, a PDF written specifically for business owners that may be interested in developing a mobile app and want to brainstorm how that might play out for their venture.
This post is modified from the original PDF so it can stand on it’s own, but I encourage you to download the full document to get the whole picture about how to successfully develop an app for your business.
Don’t lead with fear
When 72% of adults in the US own a smartphone, and mobile has taken over desktop for global internet consumption, it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on the mobile revolution. There may be any number of reasons you haven’t developed a mobile strategy yet, but don’t worry, you’re definitely not alone – in fact, about 1 in 4 business owners don’t have one. You’re likely wanting to break out into the 3 in 4 that do, but please be patient. Don’t let the fear of missing out lead your decisions about what to do or how to do it.
Understand the value your app will deliver
The first step to developing a successful app is having a clear understanding of how your app will add an incredible amount of value to your users life. If there’s one theme to repeat during the design and development of a successful app, it’s to always be thinking of your users first. Why? Because if you replace their needs with yours, and build a non-solution that attempts to cash in on your audience, your app won’t stand a chance. Trust us, you don’t want to be lumped into the 23% of apps that are only opened once after being downloaded and then abandoned, never to be touched again.
Successful apps can definitely generate significant ROI for your business, but they will only be successful if the people using your app want to use it and look forward to it. If you empathize with their habits and needs, and make your app simple and easy to use, you’ll have a much greater chance of success with your mobile strategy.
With that in mind, a successful app always has a very clear purpose, usually doing just one thing exceptionally well.
Who does your app serve?
In order to find your purpose, you’ll want to figure out if your app going to be a B2C, B2B, or B2E solution. This largely depends on how you want to increase ROI from your mobile strategy. Do you want to get more customers and more sales? Increase the amount of sales per customer or margins per sale? Or possibly increase the amount or frequency that each customer purchases from you? Each of these might implement a mobile app in a different way.
If you want more ways for your customers to interact with your company, you may want to give users a branded experience that they will remember and share with their friends and family. If you’re selling products through your app, you’ll want to make their discovery, reviewing, and purchasing as frictionless as possible. If your business aligns with these goals, you’ll want to go with a B2C app that focuses on creating a unique customer experience that increases customer loyalty.
Do you want to allow the businesses that rely on your goods and/or services to easily find information about your new products, check up on the status of orders, and receive inventory updates? Then some kind of B2B application might be something to consider if your business customers are on the go using mobile devices.
If you want to create more integrated and efficient ways for your employees to accomplish their routine operations, then your business might need a B2E app. Think about how a smart phone’s camera, geolocation data, microphone, or other sensors could be utilized to streamline work and create a positive employee experience. And as we’re seeing the emergence of Augmented and Virtual Reality via our mobile devices, would these fit well into your processes now or in the future?
Can you measure success?
Regardless of what kind of app you develop, you’ll also need to understand if it’s working the way you intended. So consider the metrics you’d want to track. Do consumers make more or different purchases from your app vs your website? Is your business consumer using your app in the way you envisioned? Are your employees more efficient and happier with your mobile solution?
Home screen advantage
Depending on what your business needs are, focus on creating a solution or experience that will make your users want to put your app on their home screen. That means understanding who they are and ensuring that your app is simple to use and an enjoyable experience in every aspect.
In short, a successful app solves one problem in a significant and measurable way by focusing on creating a great user experience and a drive to repeat that experience over and over again.
Spend the time to realistically assess the needs and habits of your target users and then make their lives better or easier through your app. It’s a simple idea that takes great care to execute properly.