In its early years mobile faced many challenges, such as people not trusting their provider to provide a safe, secure transaction, to the prevailing practice of using mobile only for location.
Mobile has now overcome much of this and is poised to offer so much more to companies willing to go all in.
One thing is abundantly clear: the numbers are staggering. We can’t resist tossing in some revealing statistics:
- According to Frank N. Magid Associates, over three-quarters of Americans age 43 and under now use a smartphone; in other words, the people doing most of the buying.
- Nearly all Generation Y consumers owned a mobile phone of some kind and 72 percent owned smartphones. Source: Forrester, 2013
- Time spent with mobile apps is starting to challenge television: consumers are spending 127 minutes per day using mobile apps—up 35 percent from 94 minutes a day in the same time last year—and spend 168 minutes watching television per day. Source: Flurry, 2012
However, you still may have questions as to whether or not taking the time and expense to develop a mobile app is right for your business. Let’s look at some pros and cons.
Some of the Pros of Mobile Apps
- Repeat business and instant feedback – We crave convenience, and by having your app available makes it easy to get repeat business. You also will get instant feedback, which even if negative can be good to know!
- Far better presence – Instead of having the user search for your business on their phone browser, your app is front and center, ready for duty!
- Helps you to brand and develop loyalty – By having your app on screens everywhere, your brand is always on their mind, making them far more likely to return to you.
- Can also be a useful tool for sales team and vendors – An app for such as the one Bell Nursery uses to keep track of the 1700 people it uses to supply plants to 150 Home Depots is an indispensable aid to their business.
Now Some of the Cons…
- Can be wildly expensive – While you can use a do-it-yourself builder or a software solution, the results may not be useful. An app with all the bells and whistles optimized for each mobile platform can run many thousands of dollars. If you can’t afford a multi-platform app just yet, settle for your mobile website until you can.
- Need to be fresh – Unfortunately, apps are seldom set and forget. Your users will soon get bored without fresh, updated content.
- Requires different apps for each phone platform – Unlike a mobile website, mobile apps have to be built specifically for each platform: Apple, Android, etc.
- Difficult to measure return on investment – Can be very difficult to gauge.
Walking Before Running
The fact is, most small business don’t have mobile-friendly website—so that’s where most of you should start before you even consider going the app route. (As it happens, 3 in 10 small businesses still don’t have a website at all!) Nonetheless, it’s certainly worth considering a business app in the future, once you’ve mastered the basics of mobile marketing.