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App Takeover: 7 Surprising Ways They Can Boost Your Business

Silvio Porcellana
Silvio Porcellana

With the growth of mobile, more and more consumers are also being conquered by apps.

In fact, smartphone users spend 89 percent of their mobile time using an app. Compared to traditional websites, apps are more immediate and allow businesses to communicate with potential customers in an innovative and customized manner.

They meet people’s need to access products and services right away and wherever they are, thus enhancing the effectiveness of marketing activities.

What companies and customers value the most is the app’s ability to convert an interest into an action in just a few clicks: not surprisingly, the top used apps are E-commerce apps, followed by those related to media and entertainment.

Graph showing number of app launches per month

If they are used by brands in a substantial and strategic manner, apps lead to an undeniable growth in business and more engagement with customers. Let’s take for example the pizza chain Domino’s: its app has conquered users by making ordering experience easier and immediate, and by giving them access to special offers.

Or Starbucks’ app, which not only allows customers to choose and pay directly for the brand’s specialties but also provides many additional services, such as the loyalty plan and the possibility to download music and other apps for free.

Related Article: Mobile Apps vs. Mobile Web: Do You Have to Choose?

Starbucks Mobile Apps screen shots

Why Don’t Many Businesses Have an App Yet?

Despite these promising prospects, about 35 percent of companies do not have an app yet because they do not feel the need to have one or they think it requires a very substantial investment. The good news is that there is a solution to this problem: you can choose an online platform to create a fully functioning app.

It is a great tool at an affordable price, without involving external resources, and therefore bearing additional costs, for graphics and programming, because any marketer can use these systems. All you have to do is choose the template and other ready-made elements and put them together according to your needs.

In a short space of time and staying on your budget, you will be ready to launch your app. But make sure you know how to use it well...

When an App Is a Useless Investment

Another category consists of businesses with an app but does not use it effectively. In fact, some apps are just a replica of some sections of the site and often have poor content, instead of proposing something more.

Others fail to entice users to use their app more frequently and they usually slide into oblivion right after being downloaded. These configuration and management errors frustrate the efforts made in creating the app. This is also why we are offering a solution, or rather seven, to make the most of your app, turn it into an investment and boost your business.

7 Ideas for Boosting Your Business With Apps

1. Re-think advertising with geo-targeting

Smartphones allow you to collect information about its users, including their geographical location. That’s why it is possible to create targeted advertising campaigns for products or services that are in demand in a certain area. It is just like spending your time on the beach during the hottest time of the day with a fridge full of cold drinks: how many people do you think would take up your offer? You’ll certainly get more customers this way than offering your product to everyone, in the wrong place at the wrong time.

2. Use relevant push notifications

Push notifications have a strong impact on user’s attention. The average CTR is 40 percent and their engagement is higher than that of an email. And it’s easy to see why: people are glued to their smartphones and they check them constantly. Push notifications are very effective since users can see them right away.

But you must not abuse this feature: in some cases, the percentage of users disabling push notifications goes up to 60 percent, while in others this percentage is rather insignificant. What makes the difference is the relevance of the information that is being provided. When it comes to time-sensitive information, such as car sharing or food delivery, users usually keep push notifications on due to their convenience.

Related Article: Launching An App? You Need These Tips for Promotion

iOS Push Opt-in Rates by App Industry graph

To make your push notification relevant, target local customers. Send offers and promotions that are valid only for those who are in the immediate vicinity of one of your stores. Or set a time limit: when a user abandons a cart on your e-commerce, send them a push notification within 24 hours to bring them back to the purchasing experience. You can also promote a discount on items that they were going to buy.

3. Create dynamic offers

The multitude of data collected through apps, with geolocation and mobile campaigns, is a resource that grows over time and allows the creation of very specific and customized promotions for each user. For example, a store can track down people asked questions about a product without purchasing it and send them a discount coupon. 

Groupon Now is an excellent example of this strategy. Its app allows businesses to post promotions in real time directed to a certain target, so as to get new clients when business activity is slow. Users can view these local offers on a map in real time and they are valid only at certain times of the day.

Groupon offers by category

4. Enable auto-fill

What do you want people to do when they are on your app? Fill in a form, subscribe to your newsletter, or buy a product? In all these cases, precisely because the most appreciated quality of apps is their immediacy, every action must be simple and completed in as few steps as possible. For example, one of the most boring activities on mobile is filling in a form.

Thanks to GPS, apps are able to auto-fill some information related to the user’s address. This system is used by Seamless, a food delivery service. Its app can automatically track the user’s location and it, therefore, shows the restaurants that deliver in their area. The user’s address is auto-filled by the system.

5. Offer added value

Another way to increase your business with an app is through offering users added value, in terms of convenience, comfort or exclusive benefits. Make those who use your app feel like a member of an exclusive club: send previews of new products and offer special discounts. Consumers will appreciate and will reciprocate by making purchases.

For example, Delta Airlines’ app allows users to check-in, change the flight and automatically display passengers’ boarding passes once they reach the gate. In this case, it is not about economic value, but making life easier for people and thus making them feel more attached to the brand.

Delta Airlines App

6. Design your e-commerce as an app

Making a mobile version of an e-commerce is not an easy task, especially if you are offering a wide range of products. Creating your app with an E-commerce section, which allows users to purchase from mobile in just a few clicks, might be a viable alternative. However, you must make sure that the purchasing process is very fast and smooth. Allow users to safely save payment data during their first order, so that they can avoid this step in their next purchase and make the process even faster.

7. Create loyalty programs

An app is a direct and a very effective channel to retain your customers. Every loyal customer means a regular purchase, therefore a guaranteed profit. To give you an example, let’s go back to Starbucks. This brand’s app is not only an additional tool but also a fundamental part of the consumers’ experience.

With an online platform that is perfectly integrated with the offline dimension, Starbucks’ app is strongly focused on customer loyalty: after signing up, customers can request some free drinks, receive special offers on their favorite products, and have access to exclusive news. Moreover, app users earn a star for every purchase, which allows them to get free food and other prizes.

Related Article: Mobile App Marketing: How Apps Contribute to the Consumer Journey

 Starbucks Rewards mobile app

Are You Ready to Launch Your App?

Now you should have a better idea of how an app can help boost your business. By putting into practice the ideas, are you ready to launch your app? All the effort you put into creating and promoting your app will soon pay off. Reach consumers in a more direct and personal way, offering them services that are relevant to their daily lives, and you will surely gain their trust and a place on their smartphones.

Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images
Silvio Porcellana
Silvio Porcellana Member
Silvio Porcellana is the CEO and Founder of, the online tool over 1,000 agencies and professionals use to build mobile websites and native apps for customers worldwide. From his retreat in the Monferrato Hills in North West Italy, he bootstraps companies, writes about the web and mobile marketing, and helps customers succeed online. Read more from Silvio at blog