The process of designing an app can often be arduous. You need to find the right platform for building your app, and you need to understand your brand so that the app and your store will have a natural connection. Therefore, it is only natural that store owners often wonder whether designing a mobile app is worth the trouble. Well, let's take a more in-depth look and figure out whether your store really needs its own mobile app.
The benefits of having a mobile application
To fully appreciate why certain brands opt to create mobile apps to go along with their stores, we will list the benefits. That way, you will understand one of the reasons why so many brands are moving towards AppCommerce and choosing to rely more on their apps as the primary brand platform.
Let's first state the obvious. Using a mobile app is quite convenient. Especially if you manage to design an intuitive one. A good app can enhance convenience by providing a dedicated platform for customers to browse and purchase products or services. Through it, you can offer features like saved preferences, personalized recommendations, and quick checkout options. If your store has a wide range of products or services, or if your customers frequently engage with your offerings, a mobile application can provide a more streamlined and efficient shopping experience. You can even choose to add in-app stories and provide personalized content to your customers. And you can use those stories to help customers navigate your brand with ease.
Easy communication with customers
The great thing about mobile apps is that they provide an easy way for brand owners to communicate with their clients. Say, for instance, that you have a new product that you would like to showcase to customers. You can opt to post on social media, or even opt for an email campaign. But, a far more effective method is to rely on your mobile app. Mobile apps allow you to send push notifications directly to users' devices, providing a convenient and instant way to communicate important updates, promotions, or reminders. Push notifications can help you keep customers informed about new product releases, limited-time offers, upcoming events, or any other relevant information that can drive engagement and encourage purchases.
If a customer has some extra questions or concerns, you can use in-app chat to address them. Mobile apps can include in-app messaging features that allow users to directly communicate with your customer support team. This provides a convenient channel for customers to ask questions, seek assistance, or provide feedback without leaving the app. In-app messaging can improve customer satisfaction, resolve issues promptly, and foster a sense of trust and loyalty.
Analytics and data-driven insights
Let's not forget that the success of your brand is mostly dependent on your ability to understand your customers. The better you can predict their preferences, needs, and requests, the better business decisions you'll be able to make. Fortunately, mobile apps can provide valuable data about your customers. You can track user interactions, monitor which products are popular, and gather insights about user demographics. This data can help you make informed decisions about your marketing strategies, product offerings, and customer targeting. If data-driven insights are important for your business, a mobile app can serve as a valuable source of information.
Lastly, let's keep in mind that not all brands go through the trouble of designing an app. As we said, the process of designing one is arduous. And not all brands decide that it is an endeavor worth taking. Over such competitors, you will easily have a competitive advantage simply by offering an intuitive app. If your competitors already have mobile apps or if the mobile presence is crucial in your industry, having a mobile application can help you stay competitive. Mobile apps are increasingly popular among consumers, and if your target audience expects the convenience of a dedicated app, not having one might put you at a disadvantage.
Keep in mind that even if you don't work in an industry where mobile apps are commonplace, you can still benefit from having one. When compared to your competitors, that also don't have an app, you will be seen as a more serious and committed brand.
A unique feature that no other platform besides apps can bring is loyalty programs. Due to their overall design, and how customers perceive them, mobile apps are an excellent platform for implementing and managing customer loyalty programs. You can integrate features such as reward points, exclusive discounts, and special offers within the app. Mobile apps make it easy for customers to track their loyalty program status, redeem rewards, and stay engaged with your brand. The convenience and incentives provided through loyalty programs encourage higher retention rates and repeat purchases and foster customer loyalty.
Mobile applications also give you the ability to easily incorporate gamification elements to engage and reward customers. You can introduce challenges, badges, or levels that customers can achieve by interacting with your app or making purchases. Gamification encourages participation, creates a sense of achievement, and fosters a fun and interactive relationship with your brand. And, when used properly, it can be one of the most effective psychological tools for modern e-commerce.
Is your brand suitable for a mobile app?
What we've outlined so far might give the impression that every brand can benefit from having a mobile app. While this is technically true, not all brands will reap enough benefits to offset the cost of designing and maintaining an app. So, let's see whether yours is. Here are the key factors to consider.
Outline your business goals
In order to decide whether or not to invest in an app, you first need to clarify your overall business objectives. Consider what you want to achieve with a mobile app and how it aligns with your overall strategy. Identify the specific benefits you expect a mobile app to provide, such as increased sales, improved customer engagement, or enhanced brand loyalty.
Analyze your target audience
Secondly, you need to evaluate your target audience and their mobile usage habits. Consider factors such as their demographics, preferences, and behaviors. If your target audience is tech-savvy and relies heavily on mobile devices for shopping and information consumption, a mobile application can be more relevant and effective. Conversely, if your audience primarily engages through other channels (e.g., physical stores or websites), a mobile app might have limited utility.
Assess your competition
Research your competitors to understand their mobile presence. Analyze whether they have mobile apps and how successful those apps are in engaging customers. If your competitors have successful mobile apps and you're falling behind in terms of mobile reach and customer experience, developing a mobile app can help you stay competitive. If your competitors have poorly performing mobile apps, while their brands are successful, designing one can be a bad call. The more you can learn from their mistakes, the less you will have to make.
Consider the nature of your store
Evaluate the compatibility of your products with a mobile app. Some businesses, such as sports goods stores, naturally lend themselves well to mobile apps. However, if your products are highly specialized, require extensive customization, or involve complex processes that may not translate well into a mobile app, you might need to explore alternative solutions.
Outline your resources
Evaluate your available resources, including budget, technical expertise, and time commitment. Developing and maintaining a mobile app requires financial investment, skilled developers, and ongoing maintenance and updates. If you lack the necessary resources or expertise, it might be more practical to explore other mobile-friendly options such as optimizing your website for mobile devices or leveraging existing platforms like social media or marketplace apps.
Conduct market research and user surveys
Gather feedback and insights directly from your existing customers or target audience. Conduct surveys or interviews to understand their preferences, expectations, and interest in a mobile app. You can even ask them what features they would expect from their app. Their feedback can help you gauge the potential adoption and success of a mobile app for your store.
Evaluate the benefits of a mobile app
While mobile apps bring numerous benefits, few are exclusive to them. Consider the unique features and advantages that a mobile app can offer compared to other channels. Assess whether those features, such as personalized experiences, push notifications, or loyalty programs, are compelling and valuable for your customers. Determine if a mobile app can provide a differentiated and enhanced experience that justifies the investment.
In summary, while a mobile application can offer convenience, branding opportunities, a competitive advantage, and data-driven insights, it's crucial to consider your specific business needs, target audience, and available resources. Conduct market research and analyze your competitors carefully. Evaluate the preferences and behaviors of your customer base to determine if investing in a mobile app aligns with your brand. If you do decide to create an app, there are various mobile app builders that can make the job much easier. And for inspiration, don't shy away from checking your competitors and seeing how they solved onboarding, customer journey, and customer retention