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13

Jun

Can your Business function with or without Mobile Application?

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In a time when there are more smartphones than toothbrushes, isn't it ironical that businesses are still in two minds whether they should build mobile apps or not?

Questions like why should I consider building a mobile app? is asked by many business owners. But the point is why?

Apps Magazine recently conducted a survey on this issue and came out with a very surprising answer –  Mobile applications are only useful for large enterprises.

Yes, you read that correct!! This is exactly what 85% of the surveyed small business owners answered when asked about the absence of a business mobile app.

Interestingly, on one side where there is a large group of small businesses who have not  taken the plunge in the mobile app bandwagon, there is a second group of small business owners with contrasting ideologies.  Why do we say that?

Because not only have they pioneered in building mobile applications for their businesses but also swear by the wisdom of their decision. These are small to medium-sized businesses related to merchandise, bakery, eatery and salon. In addition to the regular sales, marketing and customer-service activities, they have gone the extra mile and taken the effort to brainstorm several sessions with their teams and come up with effective mobile strategies.

So has it worked? They bullishly say yes. Let's find out the reason behind this bullishness?

Jim Walters, owner to a small-sized bakery comments - ''More than 75% of our interaction occurs on mobile devices.  Today there are over five billion mobile subscribers i.e. about 77% of the world’s population. 62% of consumers purchase goods and services from their phone.
Mobile now accounts for 50.3% of all Ecommerce traffic. Aren't all these statistics compelling enough to explain why mobile apps is the need of the hour?

Big or small, local or global – as long as a business caters to a set of consumers or plans to cater to a respectable section of consumers, it is highly recommended to opt for mobile application development. And the benefits of doing it are galore.''

Voicing the opinion of Jim Walters, there is a small but significant number of small business owners who have built their own dedicated mobile apps. Capitalizing on this mobile frenzy, they have taken their sales, marketing and customer service to the next level. Learn how:

1. Direct Marketing Channel

Bulletin Board Advertising and Email Marketing are effective and rampant. But unfortunately they have an expiration date. For instance, consumers are most likely to forget the majority of billboards that they see on the way or skip the promotional emails in the bunch of emails they receive every day.

Mobile Apps, on the contrary, possess the advantage of being with the consumer always. Anytime, anywhere the consumer can check the app to know about the business' latest marketing offers. So be it new product/service launch or special sales and promotions – these small businesses are sending anything and everything anytime, right at the fingertips of the consumers. And this sets the foundation for the next benefit:

2. Immediate Availability to Consumers

Traditional or digital – no marketing medium ever offered the compelling benefit of an immediate availability to consumers. But the onset of mobile application has certainly changed the rules of the game.  Now these small businesses are 24/7 available to their consumers.

So be it 5am in the morning or 12am at night – consumers have the means to reach out to these businesses at any hour of the day. This fosters consumer empowerment which in turn drives consumers to use mobile apps the most for communicating with businesses.

3. Improved Customer Engagement and Loyalty

Having just a help desk to engage with the customers is a passé. These small businesses have incorporated the mobile app not just as a marketing tool but as a customer engagement channel too. Whether it is a generic product/service booking, an inquiry about a discount or submission of a complaint, these SMBs have allowed customers to do all this from the mobile app.

The presence of the mobile app has caused a marvelous improvement in customer engagement and loyalty.

Think: Instead of calling up a support agent, the customer  submits a ticket with less than five clicks in the app. The business gets immediately aware of the ticket, resolves the issue and updates the customer from within the app itself.

How many customers wouldn't get impressed by this practice?

4. Strong Competitive Advantage

Mobile applications by small businesses are rare. And this is precisely where these businesses have bagged brownie points from consumers due to their forward-thinking approach. Be it sales, marketing or service – these small businesses are engaging through mobile apps in every stage.
By all means, they are now more closer to the consumers than their counterparts who are still in the crowd trying to capture the attention through banners, billboards, flyers, coupons, Facebook ads, and email marketing.

5. Better Brand Awareness

Statistics have proved that businesses who have mobile applications enjoy better brand awareness than the others. This aptly sums up the last benefit of having a mobile application. These SMBs who have made the effort to develop a mobile application are clearly more identifiable to the customers. Customers see them most of the time on their phone and are bound to be inclined  to buy their product and/or service.

The BIG question

Your business can manage somehow to function without mobile application. But the question is should you allow that to happen? Opting for mobile application will be an additional investment but it will deliver you a whole bunch of compelling benefits in sales, marketing and customer service.

So will it not be wise to invest a few dollars, and leverage long-term benefits and opportunities that mobile technology offers? Think!!


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