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Mobile App or Bust: 7 Questions to Determine If Your Business Needs One

Mobile App or Bust: 7 Questions to Determine If Your Business Needs One

From your local coffee shop to your bank, companies small and large use mobile apps to connect with their customers. While mobile apps have become a ubiquitous part of our lives, not every business needs one. Building an app requires a significant investment of time and resources. That's why it's crucial to carefully assess your goals and weigh the potential benefits against the costs.

This guide will walk you through seven key questions to ask before diving into mobile app development. We'll explore how to determine if an app aligns with your business objectives, consider alternative solutions, and assess the potential return on investment. By the end, you'll have a clear understanding of whether a mobile app is the right move for your business. 

7 Questions to Ask Before Building an App for Your Business

These seven questions represent some of the top questions to ask prior to investing in a mobile app for your company. They include several questions tech experts recommend before you launch into the development process as well as some questions small businesses in particular should consider. 

1. What is your goal for the app? 

There are many reasons why businesses choose to build a mobile app. Are you building an app for a direct line of connection to your customers? Are you hoping to improve customer experience? Attract new clients? All of these are ways a mobile app could support your business. Before you start the process, get clear on your “why.” 

2. Are there other ways to achieve the same goal without an app?

Once you have a vision for your app, take a step back. Consider what else could help you achieve the same ends. For example, if you want to create a more personalized patient experience, perhaps a better intake process, an email survey, or an online website portal might work just as well. On the other hand, a mobile app might offer clear benefits that other tools simply can’t replicate. 

3. How would customers interact with your app?

One critical question centers around customer interactions. It’s easy for a business to dive headfirst into building an app before considering how users will benefit from it. Building a mobile app is great for you if it will give you more access to customers, better data, and more sales opportunities, but what’s in it for your users? You must consider their perspective when weighing the choice to build an app.

4. Are you tempted to build an app just because everyone else has one? 

One Forbes article poses this question differently: “Are You Considering An App Because Of ‘FOMO’?” Fear of missing out can be a powerful motivator, but it’s not the best business coach. The mobile app market is oversaturated as it is, so just building an app for the sake of having one isn’t a smart move. 

5. What could a mobile app offer that a website couldn’t?

Mobile apps offer different features and user experiences than a website, but not every business will use or need the full range of mobile app benefits. In many cases, a well-designed, mobile-responsive website will do the trick.  

Learn More: Mobile App vs. Web App vs. Website: Which Is Better and Why?

6. What can we afford to spend on mobile app development and maintenance?

Budget is, of course, an important consideration in any business decision. Once you have a general idea of your project scope, you can begin to estimate exactly how much app development will cost you. While the bulk of the expense will be related to building the app, be sure to plan for some ongoing costs as well related to improvements, hosting services, and support staff. 

→ Learn More: How Much Does it Cost to Make an App?

7. How often do we expect users to interact with our app?

Frequency of use is a key metric to consider when building a mobile app. While an app might be helpful for, say, scheduling appointments, that action might not be frequent enough to warrant a fully-fledged mobile app. Activities with a lot of repetition—whether that’s listening to music, shopping, entertainment, or tracking goals—tend to lend themselves better to the value inherent in a mobile app. 

→ Learn More: Most Important Mobile App KPIs to Measure

Benefits You Can Expect to Unlock with Your App

Building a mobile app isn’t free, but many businesses discover that the benefits of mobile apps far outweigh the costs. Here are just a few reasons why building a mobile app could be an asset to your business. 

Improve Customer Engagement 

A mobile app serves as a direct line of communication to a customer. This is, of course, a huge benefit for businesses hoping to stay top of mind with buyers and users. Push notifications make it easier than other digital tools to keep customers engaged. For example, a timely abandoned cart notification or promotion prompts users to re-open the app and pick up where they left off. So, a mobile app offers an enormous opportunity for companies hoping to boost engagement.

Personalize Marketing Efforts

An app allows a company to send promotions to specific customers based on their interests. Personalized marketing has a two-fold benefit. By segmenting customers via a mobile app, marketing can become more relevant for customers. It also increases the chances of effectiveness. Ultimately, more precise marketing can mean fewer dollars wasted on irrelevant messages. 

Boost Customer Loyalty 

Mobile apps have, for many businesses, replaced the old-fashioned membership card or punch card. Apps make it easier for customers to earn and use loyalty rewards. At the same time, having a mobile app for earning points can nudge a user to choose one business over another without an app. Plus, mobile app push notifications make it easy for a business to serve up custom offers—like a limited-time treat or discount—that support brand loyalty. 

→ Learn More: What are Push Notifications, and How Do You Use Them?

Create a Cohesive Brand Experience 

A mobile app acts as an extension of your brand. You have more control over your brand experience in a mobile app than you might in other mediums. Savvy businesses use this fact to their advantage, cementing the hallmarks of their company ethos and culture through the app. You can leverage mobile app features, like push notifications, customized user accounts, and beautiful design, to attract and retain raving fans for your company. 

Strengthen Revenues 

Having loyal customers and better experiences does more than sound good. These impacts of a mobile app can also translate into more dollars to the bottom line. Committed customers return again and again to spend their dollars with your business. They choose you over your competition because of your standout customer experience. So, a mobile app can propel your company to better financial footing and stronger growth. 

Why Mobile Apps Can Be a Business Advantage During Times Of Economic Uncertainty

When a recession feels imminent, the last thing most businesses want to do is spend money. Actually, however, there’s research to show that too often, companies take a blanket cost-cutting approach and actually cut out investments that could help their businesses grow. 

Instead, experts recommend a cost transformation approach—one that keeps the business running lean while prioritizing strategic investments. Mobile apps can be one such investment. For the right companies, a mobile app gives the business a competitive edge and allows it to thrive during and after tough economic times.

In addition to the benefits listed above, here are just a few more ways a mobile app can help your business thrive, even in a recession: 

  • Boost both customer and employee retention 
  • Improve sales 
  • Set your business up for the future 
  • Reduce employee and training costs 

Remember, while it’s easy to think of a mobile app only in terms of a customer-facing solution, there are plenty of ways that an internal, enterprise application is beneficial too. 

→ Learn More: What is an Enterprise App (+22 Examples)

At the same time, when business is booming, building a mobile app can be a great way to insure against hardship when leaner economic times inevitably come. Investing in a mobile app can help you retain solid standing in the market despite an economic downturn. 

Building a Mobile App: Your Key to Strengthening Your Business

For the right businesses and ideas, a mobile app unlocks tremendous potential. It can buoy your business in hard times and help set it up for long-term success. Thoughtfully executed enterprise mobile apps don’t just add to the noise—they build stronger brands. 

Looking for a partner to help you scope and build your mobile app? We can help. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your idea and get started. 

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