According to Pew Research, 85% of Americans now own a smartphone. This percentage rises to over 90% for those aged between 18 and 49.
Considering that most people always carry their mobile devices with them, this poses an incredible opportunity for businesses to use mobile apps to reach their target audience.
In this article, we’ll look at the benefits of mobile apps for business and how you can use them to provide valuable customer satisfaction.
Benefits of Mobile Apps for Your Business
A Mobile App Can Increase Sales
More sales and increased brand awareness is ultimately what all business owners want, right? Whether you are a coffee shop, fitness studio, restaurant or any other type of business, increasing sales of your products and services is what will lead to the success of your business.
Mobile apps can help. Studies have found that time spent in-app correlates strongly with sales. People use your mobile app to connect with your brand and to research purchases. The more time they spend doing this, the more they are likely to buy from your business.
Customers are also increasingly purchasing on mobile rather than desktop. SaleCycle found that 53% of ecommerce sales came from mobile in 2019.
Offering the best possible mobile app experience will ensure you are best placed to take advantage of changing consumer habits.
AppInstitute’s own research corroborates the idea that mobile apps can increase sales. We found that after using one of our mobile apps for a year, the average number of online orders per customer per month grew from 1.21 to 2.48, the average annual online spend per customer increased by 112%, and the average online spend per customer increased by 51%.
There are many reasons why mobile apps make such a good sales channel for products and services.
For starters, it’s easy for people to buy via apps. Once they register as a user their profile, delivery, and payment information is saved in the account. There is little barrier to repeat purchases.
It’s also easy to offer extra features—like loyalty schemes and push notifications—that encourage your customers to buy from your business.
Compete with Larger Businesses
Running a small business is never easy, and you need every advantage you can get to help compete with larger brands, ensure customer satisfaction and boost brand awareness.
Having a mobile app helps by letting you offer the same experiences as larger competitors which are already benefiting from mobile app development.
Example: Mobile Order Ahead
An example of how a mobile app lets small businesses compete with larger brands is by helping restaurants provide Mobile Order Ahead.
This is a way of ordering at restaurants or coffee shops in which customers order the food before arriving at the store and then pick it up when they get there.
It is a trend that has seen significant growth. Large chains such as Dunkin’ Donuts and Chipotle are reporting year-on-year double-digit growth of this type of order.
Customers seem to like it too. PYMNTS.com reported that nearly three-quarters of customers expressed an interest in using Mobile Order Ahead because of its potential to save money and reduce the frustration of waiting in line.
Once larger companies roll this out, it is likely to become something that customers look for when deciding where to buy.
By having an app with this capability, small food businesses can offer the same experience as their larger competitors. It ensures they are able to provide the type of service their customer base expects.
Mobile Order Ahead isn’t the only way that mobile apps can help small businesses compete with larger ones. They help across a wide variety of industries and business types.
Here are some more examples:
In-app ordering helps independent fashion stores provide the same mobile shopping experience as brands like Zara and H&M.
Loyalty schemes help coffee shops compete with Starbucks.
Live stream apps let independent radio stations take on industry leaders such as the BBC.
In-app table booking and reservations let restaurants provide the same features as the likes of Pizza Hut.
The key is to look at the types of features that the leading companies in your space offer. Then create apps for your business with similar functionality.
Communicate Directly with Customers
Mobile apps enable communication between businesses and consumers in many ways. Here are some of the most effective.
Push notifications are one of the biggest app communication channels. If you have a mobile app, your business can send notifications to customers when you have news to share.
This could be to alert customers to offers, new products and services, or company updates.
You don’t want to send too many push notifications for fear of annoying your customers. But if your notifications provide value, it can increase user experience and build brand awareness.
Direct messaging is another way that mobile apps allow direct communication between potential customers and your business.
Here is one place where this can help:
Online shoppers often need support to complete a purchase. This could be because they are unfamiliar with the technology, or because they need more information about a product before buying.
Either way, in-app direct messaging makes it easy for customers to contact someone while buying. They get answers to any questions they have about your product or service.
You could also use in-app messaging to offer customer support, enable bookings or reservations, or take orders directly.
Promote Other Mobile Communication Channels
Mobile apps are a useful way to direct customers to other support channels. Adding your phone number, links to social media channels, and email address to the app makes it easier for customers to contact you.
Or you can create support documentation that answers common customer questions on your apps.
The key is to look at the ways that customers want to connect with you and promote these in your mobile app to increase customer engagement.
Simplify the Buyer Journey
A few years ago, customers had to visit a shop when they wanted to make a purchase. More recently, they were able to buy by finding a computer, heading to your website, and choosing what they wanted.
One of the advantages of mobile apps is that you can take this evolution one step further by making it easy for customers to buy from you wherever they are. They no longer have to come to your physical location or log in to a computer.
While mobile websites also do this, there are several advantages of mobile apps over websites.
Mobile apps are generally faster to use. Customers no longer have to navigate to the website on their phone. They open the app on their mobile devices and are already on your platform.
Additionally, customers that use mobile apps can stay logged in and save their details, including payment and delivery information, to their phone. This makes buying easy to do.
Build Customer Loyalty
Having loyal customers can increase sales. Studies have shown that members of loyalty schemes spend more than non-members.
Other research suggests that it is much cheaper to sell to existing companies than new ones.
Businesses can improve customer loyalty with a mobile app through a customer rewards program.
These programs encourage customers to make repeat purchases by offering rewards and freebies to those who frequently buy from your business.
Starbucks is a business that knows the value of a good loyalty program. The most recent figures from the company show that its Starbucks members program has an incredible 17.6 million active members, with the CEO calling the program an “important growth driver.”
Rewards schemes aren’t the only way to build repeat sales with a mobile app. You can segment users and then send them personalized offers and discounts that appeal to their needs.
Or you can create and share content that brings the user closer to your brand.
Build Your Brand Value
Providing a positive in-app experience can help drive sales at your business.
WillowTree found that when an app experience is positive: 67% of people would sign up for loyalty programs, 64% would make purchases through the app, 50% would use the app regularly, and 47% said it would increase their brand loyalty.
There are other ways an app can build brand value. Having a mobile app puts your company in the same category as the larger business.
It makes you appear to be at the cutting edge of technology. It also provides further brand visibility as customers can interact with your brand in more ways.
Create a Direct Marketing Channel
A huge benefit of a mobile app for your business is that it is a direct marketing channel between you and your customer. This means you own the channel and there is no third party that controls your communication or messaging.
This has several benefits:
Once a customer has downloaded your mobile app, you don’t have to pay a cent to get in front of them. You can send notifications, offers, or messages promoting your business as often as you want at no extra cost.
Compare this to other channels like PPC search ads, social media advertising, or billboards. With these marketing methods, it costs money every time you want to promote your product.
You Own Your Data
Mobile apps aren’t the only free marketing channel. Social media sites like Instagram or YouTube also offer free ways to get your brand in front of customers. But their effectiveness is entirely reliant on an algorithm controlled by a big tech company.
This means you are always at risk of losing access to your audience. Consider what happened to the organic reach of Facebook pages in the middle of the last decade.
Pages went from reaching most people in their audience to hitting an average of 5.2% of a page’s followers.
These sites can still be great marketing channels. But building your own direct channels alongside social audiences can reduce your risk exposure to algorithm changes.
Keep All Your Profits
Another benefit of owning your own marketing channel is that you keep all profits from sales. You don’t have to pay a third party a percentage of your sale.
Take a restaurant that offers its service on delivery platforms like Uber Eats or Just Eat. These services can charge commissions of up to 30% of a total order value.
If you make a lot of sales through these platforms, this commission soon adds up to a lot of money.
You don’t need to move away from these platforms entirely. But by building your own mobile app audience alongside sales from these products, you will be able to reduce your dependence on third-party platforms.
Provide a Personalized Experience
Another benefit of mobile apps for business is that apps provide a personalized experience. For example, you can schedule notifications using geolocation technology so that the customer receives a notification when they are close to your business.
Alternatively, you can create customer segments and then tag each customer based on these segments to provide more relevant content. This will allow a restaurant to send one offer to families and a different one to young professionals.
Increase Brand Engagement
Mobile apps are excellent tools to increase customer engagement. They do this in several ways.
Loyalty schemes give your customers reason to keep buying from your business.
Once a user has installed the mobile app, you can use notifications to get them to reopen it.
Users can communicate with your business directly through the mobile app. By making it easier for users to get in touch, they are more likely to do so.
By releasing mobile app content frequently, you can encourage users to keep coming back for more. For example, the McDonald’s app has coupons that change every week. This encourages users to check back frequently. Another example is the BBC Sounds mobile app, which publishes regular content from its shows to keep users interested.
Creating a Mobile App for Your Business Is Easier than You Think
There are many benefits of mobile apps for business owners. They are a great way to provide value to your customers, and in turn, they can increase sales.
People often assume that mobile apps are expensive and difficult to create. But this isn’t always the case.
App builders like AppInstitute simplify mobile app development. They let business owners create mobile apps by choosing from a selection of ready-made features to offer to customers.
Once you’ve chosen the features you want to offer, you just have to customize the app with your branding and images. The whole process can be completed in just hours or days, and we’ll even help publish your app on both Google Play and the App Store.
Have an innovative product idea? Let’s find out which app is best for your product: Native app or Progressive Web App (PWA).