Take a Chance on Me: Should Your Small Business Get an App?

September 12, 2016 Alycia Gilbert 0 Comment


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You’ve probably seen more than a few articles circling the Internet that are focused on Pokémon Go, since it’s taken over the world. Well, not the entire world. Not yet—but it’s making its way through Europe, and the app’s becoming available in more and more countries each week. Pokémon Go has surpassed twitter, Netflix, and even Snapchat in their number of users, and Nintendo’s stock has spiked. They’re living every dream every app maker has ever had.

There are a lot of reasons why Pokémon Go has become so popular so quickly. Obviously the Nintendo franchise already had a huge number of brand advocates, especially with their Pokémon games. Nostalgia marketing also played a Snorlax-sized role. But if we look at the benefits Pokémon has experienced with the launch of their app, and shrink those benefits down from Titan-esque to the realm of mere mortals like ourselves, the question arises: are apps beneficial to small businesses too? 

Mobile apps have become increasingly popular tools for companies. The number of published apps per year hasn’t been called an explosion for nothing.

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And if you think that they’re only used by big name businesses, you’d be mistaken.

Let’s break it down.

Visibility
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In the States, people have an average of 37 apps on their phone, and they use about 12 a day. But they play favorites, and that’s what’s tricky. Typically each user sticks to around 3 of those apps for the majority of their mobile time. But the time mobile users spend on apps is a huge part of their day—five hours. You might not be one of those apps that dominates a mobile user’s time, but you don’t have to be User’s Pet to reap the benefits of those average five hours. Apps grant access to that giant chunk of a mobile user’s life, and your app lingering on their screen continually reminds and invites your customers to spend time on your app. Apps are proven to boost your company’s number of repeat visits. That little logo is a constant reminder that your company exists—easy, subliminal advertising. 

Access

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Apps bring your business straight to your costumer. It’s the ultimate convenience. Apps are designed for specific, immediate uses and easy browsing (there’s a whole lot less of a reason to do the Our Message or About Us spiel), This makes navigating your company’s sale process much easier and faster for a client than your mobile site may allow while still giving them space for a more cursory experience. Since apps are also available nearly 24/7 to anyone with a smartphone, your customers are also able to wander through your company’s app on their own time without feeling rushed or tied to a computer screen.

Branding

Making yourself more available to your customers and more present in their lives increases the strength of your brand. Exposure and interaction are everything. Your app lets you show more of your company’s identity to your customer—everything from the layout of your app, your logo, to your tone sends a brand message to your user. The convenience of an app and its constant presence on a phone also make your customer more attached to your company’s existence in their sphere. Absence might not make the heart grow stronger—instead, mobile apps provide a proximity that makes your company seem more integral to your customer’s life. 

You Don’t Have to Be Afraid to Market

On social media, you’re constantly having to toe the line between creative content and straight-up interruptive advertising.  While you want to keep your app engaging and useful, you don’t need to worry about avoiding straight marketing as much. An app user has already committed to your company, and now they’re focused not only on your content, but also on your product or service. They’re ready to know more about what you’re selling to them, and they’re eager to hear suggestions of what else your company has to offer.

Customer Loyalty and Rewards

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Your app is a wonderful opportunity to strengthen your relationships with your customers, even outside of simply reinforcing your brand. Your app can be used for customer support and communication, a place where your customers can engage with you through the app instead of over the phone. Easier and faster communication boosts customer experience, which improves customer loyalty and increases engagement times. You can also use an app to offer notifications on sales, deals, and new products—all of which encourage customers who aren’t using an app to download, and all of which are clever strategies to increase your number of sales. 

Downsides

Remember when we said that cell phone users play favorites? It’s hard to become one of those favorites. Of course, you don’t really need your customer to be on your app for five hours a day—you only need them on your app often enough to engage with your brand and your product/services. 

But creating an app that’s compelling enough to get users to pull up frequently can be an issue. And an even bigger issue is getting your customers to take the plunge in the first place, to get them to even download your app. 

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Ultimately, though, apps are on the rise. They’re becoming popular in each business market because of their benefits, and that includes the small market. Mobile apps are turning into a powerful trend, and some experts see the shift to apps as an inevitable expansion of online marketing. So what’s right for small businesses? What’s right for your small business? To app or not to app?

Most businesses assume app development is outrageously expensive - but did you know that you can launch a mobile app for your business for as little as a $100 setup fee and $20.00 per month?

CoreCommerce is proud to announce a new partnership with AppNotch, an innovative provider of affordable mobile app technology!

For a brief overview of the AppNotch platform and features, check out this video: 

 

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Note: Your site must be mobile responsive before you can obtain an app. Not sure what mobile responsive means or how to update your site? Check out these blog posts to learn more!

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