For most retailers, it used to be that Black Friday was the big kick-off to the holiday shopping season. In the last few years, Cyber Monday has outpaced Black Friday in sales. The reason for that is simple: When given the choice, most consumers would rather shop online at their convenience instead of dealing with long lines and in-person crowds. Today, online shopping is made even easier with access to mobile business apps. Are you considering developing an app for your company? Here are some pro tips to help you avoid costly mistakes.
WHY MOBILE APPS
How many of your customers have a mobile device? That number is around 95 percent. The time spent on a mobile device has also gone up in recent years. In 2012, the average amount of time that individuals spent on their cell phones each day hovered at around one hour and 40 minutes. Today, that number is closer to three hours and 25 minutes. In 2018, 52 percent of internet traffic came from mobile users. If this is where your customers are spending a good bulk of their day, then shouldn’t they have access to your business during that time? A mobile app can provide that access around the clock.
RECYCLE CONTENT WHERE POSSIBLE
You have probably already gone through the development of a website for your business. The process of developing a mobile app won’t be that different. The good news is that you can incorporate a lot of your pre-existing website content into your mobile app. This can help reduce the cost of launching your mobile app since you won’t have to pay for the creation of new graphics. Transferring over existing content from your website to your app will also help to enforce your company’s brand. Your customer should feel like the mobile app is an extension of your business’ website.
In 2016, there were 2.1 billion smartphone users. In 2019, that number is expected to hit 2.5 billion. The vast majority of those users have either an iOS or Android operating system. That is why you should think about cross-platform development.
Developing native mobile apps for multiple platforms can double or even triple your development budget. However, you have to consider the potential return on your investment. You don’t want to exclude potential customers.
Development tools, like React Native and Flutter, can help streamline cross-platform development and lower your costs. In the planning stages, you could consider focusing on developing for iOS and add Android later once the bugs have been worked out. That strategy could also help bring the budget numbers down.
MAKE MARKETING A PRIORITY
All the effort that you put into your mobile app development won’t amount to much if your customers have no idea the app is available. Develop a marketing strategy concurrently with your app development. A special sign-up promotion is a good way to entice new users. Thanks to your website, you probably have created a database of customers. Make sure to invite those customers over to the mobile app.
You can also offer ongoing discounts for mobile app purchases. A mobile app is also a good platform for generating a customer loyalty program. These are all elements that should be part of your design.
CONDUCT THOROUGH TESTING
Your business app will need to go through stringent testing. You’ve probably already experienced this type of testing with your website development. However, it is even more critical with a mobile app because the time a customer spends on that phone is finite.
The testing shouldn’t just be with functionality and usage-stress issues. It should also incorporate focus groups that are given a chance to navigate the app. This could happen through beta testing with a select group of customers. Users will know that you’re in the testing phase and will expect a few disruptions. Getting that hands-on user-experience data is vital for working out the final problems with navigation. You don’t want to launch until the app has been put through the proverbial “ringer.”
Once your mobile app is up and running, you have to treat it like every other aspect of your business. It must be made current and kept relevant with fresh content and promotions. You should always be looking for ways to improve your mobile user’s experience.
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