4 Benefits of Building a Mobile App for Your Small Business

By McKenzie Maxson / 13 February 2018

Less than half of small businesses have mobile apps, but building a mobile app may be a valuable investment. Here are 4 benefits that may help you determine whether investing in a mobile app is right for your business.

In 2018, we've come to expect that most large businesses have a mobile app.

It would be shocking to search the app store and not find options for Facebook, Netflix, or Amazon. These companies have the resources to pay for app development and maintenance and the customer base to know they’ll be used.

But, what about smaller businesses? Is it worth it to invest in a mobile app?

If you’re hoping to attract new customers, increase sales, build your brand image, or improve your customer experience, the answer is yes.

Apps have many benefits, especially for companies looking to stand out from the other 27.9 million small businesses in the United States.

This article presents the top 4 benefits of building a mobile app if you're a small business.

1. Engage Customers With Unique Features

Mobile apps open opportunities to engage with your customers in a unique way – mobile scheduling, notifications, and loyalty programs.

Mobile websites, while necessary and useful, do not have features that keep users coming back to interact with your brand.

Mobile Scheduling and Reminders

If your business requires customers to make appointments or reservations, such as a salon, exercise studio or restaurant, you can facilitate the process with an in-app scheduling too.

You can then use push notifications or text messages to send reminders or prompt customers to confirm or cancel appointments

For example, ClassPass, a popular fitness company, has a scheduling tool that allows customers to sign up for a fitness class through the app.

ClassPass's in-app scheduling tool
Source: ApRecs

ClassPass's mobile app aims to make it easy for people to sign up and attend fitness classes – reminding them of upcoming classes and sharing directions to the closest gym.

Notifications for Sales or Special Offers

A mobile app opens a direct line of communication between your business and your customers by allowing you to send push notifications, alerting customers and app users to sales or special offers.

In fact, nearly 85% of consumers say that they're likely to opt-in to receive push notifications if the notifications offer discounts.

For example, a cafe in California uses push notifications to encourage people to attend happy hour – offering 20% off drinks.

push notification from Caffe Vicinio
Source: What Consumers Want in E-Commerce Apps: 2017 Survey

Sending push notifications for deals rewards loyal customers and attracts new ones who may need an extra push to try a drink or buy your product.

Loyalty Reward Programs

App loyalty programs engage customers and incentivize new downloads by gamifying how customers use your product. 

An example of a successful, app-based rewards program is Starbucks’ Star Rewards.

example of Starbucks' loyalty rewards app

Starbucks offers rewards to app users who buy a certain amount of drinks or food through the Starbucks app.

Once you collect 125 stars, Starbucks gives you a free drink, which motivates customers to keep coming back.

2. Provide Personalized Interactions With Your Brand

Apps ensure your customers' interactions with your brand are personalized.

For example, fitness company YogaGlo has a mobile app that allows users to favorite the yoga classes they prefer and access them quickly from the main screen. 

YogaGlo's app customized user profile for personal interactions with the brand     YogaGlo's app shows users' favorite classes

This feature guarantees that each user quickly can access his/her favorite classes with the tap of a screen.

3. Make Engaging With Your Company More Efficient

Apps reduce the number of touchpoints between your company and a potential customer, making it easier to convert your audience into paying customers.

For example, when Domino’s Pizza created a mobile app that allows customers to order for delivery or in-store pickup, app-based orders rose by more than 41%.

example of online ordering feature through Domino's Pizza's app
Source: AppNews

Domino's app makes it easy to order a pizza as soon as the craving strikes, rather than forcing a customer to pick up the phone or drive to the nearest restaurant.

Other examples of apps that make it easier for customers to engage are OpenTable (for restaurant reservations) and ZocDoc (for doctors appointments), both of which allow customers to use their services entirely through the app.

4. Build Brand Recognition and Awareness

Apps boost brand recognition by recreating your brand image – colors, logo, type, and tagline – on another platform.

According to Inc., 80% of customers think that color increases brand awareness, so having a consistent, recognizable design for your app and other products is essential.

For example, think about the recognizable online companies or products – Facebook, Instagram, and Google Maps.

facebook logo     instagram logo     Google Maps icon

These companies' apps serve as subtle advertisements. 

Getting a name, logo, or slogan in front of a customer repeatedly is a common advertising strategy, and you can include your app in this strategy.

Even if customers aren’t regularly using your app, Americans still spend an average of 2 hours and 41 minutes per day on their phones. So, if your app is “in the way” when people are looking through their phone, your logo and company name may still stand out.

Investing in Mobile Apps May Be Worthwhile for Your Small Business

Committing the time (and money) to create a mobile app for your small business can have huge returns.

If you're still debating whether it's a worthwhile investment, consider these 4 benefits of building a mobile app:

  • Engage your customers with unique features such as online ordering, scheduling tools, and push notifications
  • Provide personalized interactions with your brand
  • Make engaging with your company more efficient
  • Build brand recognition
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