Millions of businesses have mobile applications today. But mobile app development takes time and costs money. Before you invest the resources, you need a mobile app strategy. Decide why it’s important and what it can do for your customers so it adds value and provides a return on investment.

Mobile usage is not slowing down

Two years after Apple released its first iPhone, they ran commercials to help people understand how to use apps on their phones. It was a relatively new concept at the time. It caught on, and you may remember the commercials telling you, “There’s an app for that,” a phrase Apple trademarked in 2010.

Since that time, millions of businesses have asked the question, Do we need an app? It’s not exactly an easy question to answer because it’s not the same for everyone. But as you think about whether you need an app for your brand, it’s important to understand what makes an app useful (or not). A successful mobile app is a portal to your business. It provides a better overall brand experience to your customers.

In 2016, the number of people searching the internet on a mobile device surpassed those browsing on a desktop or laptop for the first time. Customers spend a lot of time on their phones. In fact, mobile shopping was projected to reach $284 billion by the end of 2020 and to represent almost 20% of all global retail sales by 2024.

If browsing on your website on a mobile device is difficult and you can’t make things more mobile-friendly, an app might be the best option.

Benefits of building a mobile app

A good mobile app strategy for your business can provide several benefits, including:

  • More personalized interactions with your brand
  • A streamlined shopping or browsing experience
  • Faster checkout processes
  • Increased sales and easier shopping from anywhere
  • Higher levels of customer satisfaction

Mobile apps can also help you reach out to your customers with special deals, discounts, and promotions. When someone installs an app on their phone, they can choose whether to allow notifications. These push notifications let you stay connected with customers. They can also increase customer retention.

Also, you can collect data about customers’ browsing history, location, and more to cater to their needs over time. Customers can choose how much data they want to share to ensure you keep their trust while also allowing for personalization when appropriate.

Ninety-five percent of high-level executives and marketing professionals believe that personalization is important. But only about 6% are able to deliver a truly personalized experience. Apps can increase your ability to do so when used as part of a broad personalization strategy.

Creating a mobile app strategy

Before you rush out to create a mobile app, it’s critical to have a roadmap. Starting with a mobile app strategy ensures you will build the most effective technology to meet the needs of your customers. It also helps you stay on budget and provide a cost-effective solution with a high ROI for your brand.

Answer these questions when building a mobile app:

  • What is your overall goal with the mobile app?
    Do you want an app so you can increase online shopping revenue? Build brand loyalty? Keep in touch with customers? Administer a loyalty program or some other reason? Apps can do a lot of things, so knowing exactly what you want to achieve is essential in the design and build process.
  • Is this a good fit for the type of product or service you offer?
    The reality is that not every brand needs an app. For example, a B2B manufacturing company that meets with customers in person once a year probably doesn’t need an app. Convincing people to download an app that provides no value doesn’t help with brand loyalty either.
  • How will your customers use the app?
    Mobile apps can be used for financial tools, shopping, entertainment, information, and more. Clearly outline how you want your customers to use your app so you can include the right features and functionality.
  • How will you use the app to engage your customers?
    Well-designed apps provide more than just a shopping experience. They engage consumers and make life easier. Think through all the ways you can improve their experience with simple tools, integrations, deals or discounts, and more.
  • How will you integrate with other tools and features?
    Considerations like how to connect with other features on a smartphone can be essential for usability and convenience. For example, do you need to connect to the camera for augmented reality for someone to virtually “try on” a product before they buy? Do you want to integrate with voice assistants and other external tools?

Start your mobile app strategy process

EXTEND GROUP has experience helping all types of brands and businesses with an eCommerce strategy. We can help you get the necessary tools to reach your customers online. We offer solutions in digital marketing, website design, app development, and more. Contact us today to get started.