If you have a smartphone, like most Americans, it’s probably loaded with apps.
You have a handful for specific purposes—like Google Maps for navigation or Uber for on-demand transportation. You have a few for major brands—like the eBay or Amazon app for on-the-go shopping. And you have a collection of others for entertainment purposes—like mobile games you can’t help but play once or twice a day.
Seeing this assortment of apps, you might believe that app development is for “everybody else,” or that your business isn’t the type that needs a mobile application. You probably don’t have any reason to develop a game, and you might not have enough online orders to justify the cost of development. Whatever the reason, it seems like an app wouldn’t help you much in the long run.
On the contrary, apps are becoming more ubiquitous and even more important for businesses to develop. If you don’t start developing your app now, you could be missing out on some serious opportunities.
Consistent Brand Reminders
According to a recent study from Flurry Analytics, the average American spends nearly three hours a day using a smartphone, and the vast majority of that time is spent on apps.
That translates to enormous potential visibility for your brand—if your app is seen, even at a glance, by your user base, it will be far easier for you to stay top-of-mind, which will lead to more conversions and more repeat customers.
Let’s say 100 people end up downloading your app. It sits on their home screen, so any time they unlock their phone to make a call, check their messages, or even spend a few minutes on their favorite game, they’re going to see your brand and they’re going to think of you. If that additional exposure leads to an extra sale even one percent of the time, that's extra revenue.
Immediate Marketing Opportunities
When people download and use your app, you have a perfect opportunity to market to a captive audience. Rather than blasting out generic emails or buying up public ad space and hoping for the best, you’ll be advertising directly to customers who you know value your brand enough to use your app, and you can customize your messaging accordingly.
Publicize special offers, give out discounts exclusively for your app users, or do whatever you think could increase sales—it’s a brand new channel, so use it wisely.
Greater Customer Value
As long as you put some serious time and effort into developing your app, you should be able to end up with achieving the goal of publishing a product that’s truly useful and adds value for users.
You might offer a unique function—for example, a financial services provider could offer a calculator for their customers. You might offer a more convenient way of doing something you already allow—such as a modernized product ordering platform. Whatever you choose to do, you’ll be providing additional value to your customers.
Those who use your app will see that extra value, and your brand reputation will grow. Assuming they like your app, they’ll spread the word about it, and before long your community of app users will explode.
More Earning Potential
There are countless ways to turn your app into an additional stream of revenue. Many games and entertainment apps offer in-app purchases for small amounts to generate revenue over time, or external advertising to raise funds.
Some companies charge a few dollars to download the app initially. Some others just make it easier for customers to order products and services that they would have purchased anyway. No matter which route you take, you’ll have one more way to trade value for money, and your business will have an additional stream of revenue.
The Death of the Traditional Website
Finally, and most importantly, the world is heading toward an era that’s completely reliant on app functionality—and eventually, the traditional website will die out. Users began to get used to the idea of app-based functionality with smartphones, but already other forms of technology are taking on the model—tablets and laptops favor the use of apps, and wearable devices like smartwatches are making it practically impossible to use anything but apps.
Rather than rummaging around the Internet trying to find information or a specific function, users can host a customized assortment of easy-to-use apps on whatever device they want. Eventually, traditional web browsing will be eliminated altogether. Already, major tech players are starting to make preparations for this transition—for example, Google is starting to index apps much in the same way it currently indexes websites.
This won’t mean much for the next five years or so, but eventually, apps will become the new norm in tech usability. Getting ready for that transition now will put you far ahead of your competition and keep you from experiencing any ranking or digital visibility catastrophes as the world begins to change.
Failing to develop an app in the next six months won’t kill you, but failing to develop an app in the next few years could seriously compromise your online and mobile reach.
It’s a critical opportunity to gain more brand visibility, more online transactions, and more competitive advantages—so why not take the opportunity now? As long as you take the time to make a quality product, the increased revenue you receive from your app will far outpace what you spent to develop it.