I’ve been thinking about apps a lot lately as a client of mine was thinking about creating an app for their store. Thanks to modern technology, our society is connected like never before. Everyone has a mobile device and the majority of those devices aren’t just being used to make phone calls. They’re also being used by businesses as a way of connecting to their customers and providing an additional portal for sales interaction. A lot of shopping is happening across mobile platforms. Could your business be losing customers to a competitor’s app? Does your business need its own mobile app? The answer to those questions could be found in the following considerations:
Developing a Mobile App
As with any kind of business decision, cost will be a factor when it comes to developing a mobile app. The range of price depends on the design company you’re hiring and how sophisticated you want to make the app. You also have to think about whether the app should be made available across various platform operating systems. Although that can increase the cost, it is advisable to make the app as accessible as possible. After researching this for a client, on average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $25,000 to $100,000 for the development of your business app.
There are a ton of companies who can design the app from start to finish. You should interview a few mobile app designers and let them pitch some ideas along with a proposal budget. It will help if you can provide a “wish list” of functionality for your app. The best way to do that is to go on mobile apps of like-minded businesses to see what works.
Collecting Customer Data
As you know from your own experience, using a mobile app requires some level of registration. Your own app can gather a lot of personal informational data, such as phone numbers and email addresses. It can also gather data about shopping habits. That is where the real “gold” for a business can be found. This is when a decision has to be made with how you’re going to use that data.
There are many companies who collect data for their own uses and then they turnaround and sell that data to other companies. This is where those annoying “spam texts” originate from. There isn’t anything unethical about this practice provided you let the customer know that selling their data might be a possibility. This means having them agree to a user agreement.
The other option is to make it clear that you’re not going to sell their data. Which might be an added incentive for a customer to sign up with your app.
Data security should be of major concern with the development of any mobile app. It seems like every few weeks there is a new story about a data breach at a major company (hi, Facebook). This makes customers understandably hesitant about giving up their personal information. You should make data security a priority from the beginning of the development process. That starts with your designers and what kind of encryption they’ll be able to provide to keep that newly collected data secure. You also have to think of the back end. How secure are your servers and cloud backup systems? Every security check that you engage with will be another level of assurance you can pass onto your customers.
Mobile app development is all about providing the customer with more shopping options. It really is that simple. Once a customer downloads and begins using the app to make purchases, they’ll see how convenient the process is. There is a strong likelihood of an increase in sales because mobile users are more likely to repeat purchases when using a mobile app. That can only happen when the app is easy to navigate, and those purchases are delivered on time and without incident. That will build customer loyalty.
Above all else, a mobile app for your business allows your “store” to be open 24/7/365. Customers can place orders from anywhere they have an online connection. Once the app is up and running, the goal switches to customer acquisition. Having an app can make it easier to find those new customers!
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