Matt Martinez is a marketing specialist at Foodesign.
It’s not hard to argue that mobile technology has evolved into the primary way that people are engaging with the world, but it’s easy enough to demonstrate: simply go to any public gathering place, put down your cell phone, and look around. In mere seconds, you’ll find that you have an involuntary urge to stop people-watching and get back to your phone. You can do it, it’s fine; everyone else is, too.
The statistics for mobile use are staggering: in 2015, the average adult used mobile devices to access the internet for a total of 2.8 hours per day, and 87% of Millennials (now the largest percentage of the American workforce) say that their “smartphone never leaves my side.”
Over $300 billion (which, just for reference, is more than the current GDP of Greece) is being spent annually on American internet commerce alone, and 40% of that ($120 billion, or roughly three times the annual state budget of North Carolina) is happening exclusively on apps. Clearly, the eyes and wallets of your customers are shifting. People now expect every facet of their lives to be as fast and easy as possible, and they will find the path of least resistance to achieve that speed and ease.
So where do apps fit into the mix?
A full 86% of the time spent on smartphones is spent on an app versus a mobile website. That’s almost two and a half hours PER DAY that the average American adult spends on an app, whereas with a mobile website it’s just over half an hour.
And it’s relatively easy to see why an app might dominate a mobile website: it’s just more convenient. It exists independent of the hustle and bustle of the open internet. You don’t have to deal with search engines and awkward mobile login screens, and therefore feels one step closer to real-life engagement. More often than not, you get exclusive deals and coupons.
Simply put, it allows someone to make a personal choice to engage and interact with a business, rather than just browse another website.
Here is a handful of more specific reasons that people prefer apps to mobile websites:
1. An app can remember who you are, and can easily track rewards or loyalty points.
By signing into an app, it remembers your information and can track any company-specific rewards or loyalty points. Paper punch cards might get lost or ruined, whereas an app transcends that whole process, and can even gently remind the customer that they have a redeemable reward waiting.
2. An app is more convenient, simple and faster to access.
An app that lives on your mobile device loads significantly faster than a website over a standard internet connection, and it doesn’t depend on a clunky or over-loaded browser in order to function. These seconds matter to your customers, all the more to those who care enough about your business to have an extension of it on their phone.
3. An app can provide exclusive deals or coupons.
Everybody loves a deal! A good coupon can entice a savvy customer to download the app, and a good user experience and loyalty card will convince them to stick around.
4. An app can track your location.
Although it might sound a bit like science fiction, location awareness has become an extremely useful feature for many apps. By taking into account where a customer is, it can let them know about nearby locations and specials, and even give personalized directions. For a business owner, it can provide valuable information about the vicinity and area-specific needs of current and potential customers.
5. An app capitalizes on cutting-edge mobile phone technology.
By living on a smartphone, an app can utilize the phone’s native features to provide a richer, more exciting experience for its users. In-app reviews and customer interaction, picture-taking and posting capabilities, one-touch calling and directions, built-in calculators, voice recording… New developments in mobile phone technology can be leveraged to make your customer’s experience more valuable and enjoyable.
6. An app can provide better metrics for assessment and improvement.
By more closely tracking user engagement, a business can gain unrivaled insight into the habits and preferences of its customers. This information is invaluable, as it allows the owner to provide exactly the type of experience that their customer expects, as well as easily identify features or services that aren’t being fully engaged with.
7. An app can provide a new means of marketing through Push notifications.
Push notifications allow a customer or client to opt-in to receiving direct messages (displayed on their home screens). With engagement rates of up to 80%, and click-through rates (“CTR”) as high as 40%, they are among the most effective marketing methods around today. Through careful planning and utilization, Push notifications alone can easily be worth the development costs.
8. An app can put all of your creative content in one place.
The success of social media marketing has compelled many businesses to begin creating unique content in order to find and entice new customers. Frequently that content is scattered around quite a few different platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, etc., with no centralized place to allow a customer to engage with everything that is available. By integrating all of the major outlets into one hub, an app becomes a valuable aggregator and curator of that business’ message.
What does that mean for small to medium-sized businesses?
Up until very recently, the cost of developing an app has been the most significant barrier to entry. However, due to their incredible spike in popularity in recent years, the ability to create and maintain an app has plummeted to pennies on the dollar. What used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars (oftentimes millions) to develop, and thousands per month to maintain, has now dropped to levels that are comfortably affordable for the average business.
At theFuze Apps, we bring decades of design and marketing experience to the table. In just a few weeks we can create a customized app based upon your individual needs. The long list of available features makes it easy to pick and choose the options that best suit your target market. We can provide assistance on branding, or we can design the app based on your existing brand.
If you own a small or medium-sized business, it’s worth exploring the possibilities of how a mobile app might be an effective tool for you.
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