Since mobile internet has become so widespread thanks to the explosion in the smartphone market, one of the big changes has been the popularity of Apps. These small but often powerful pieces of software have simplified the way in which consumers interact with businesses online, bypassing the main website and instead installing a software-based link between the consumer and company.
Dedicated stores are run by major smartphone software manufacturers such as Apple and Google, and these make the process of browsing, buying and downloading the Apps incredibly straightforward. It is perhaps this element that has been key to Apps’ success – after all, they are just pieces of software. Another strength is how targeted they are, in some cases just performing one function – such as displaying departure and arrival times for a particular airport.
A recent report by App Annie has suggested that big businesses are at risk of being left behind if they don’t start making the most of the opportunities offered by Apps. Marcus Sanchez, from the company, said to The Guardian: “The reality is that apps might not be quite as prolific as websites, but you can have niche apps that have 1,000 users and thatâ€™s fine because they make a couple of bucks off each user a month.â€
There is another option beyond a standard App (known as a ‘native’ App) and that is using a web-based version. This offers you a lot of flexibility in terms of access for consumers (users of any mobile device can easily access it) and updates can be made quickly and easily without needing to go through App stores. Thanks to HTML5 things are moving ahead with web-based Apps, and many more businesses are choosing this option.
So, are Apps important for small businesses? As usual there is no definitive answer, as the individual circumstances are so critical. However, for an App to be a genuine benefit, you will need to balance development costs against both the usefulness to your consumer base and potential financial returns.
Apps do not work in terms of ‘passing trade’ since they are almost entirely aimed at loyal customers, so if that does not sound like your business model, an App is not for you.
In the majority of cases, a skillfully designed website will provide everything a small business needs, and these work for passing trade as well as returning visitors. If you are unsure about how to move to the next stage of your small business’s online offering, contact Rosco Digital Media today.