If you’re like many small business owners, you’re probably a lot better at using apps to manage tasks in your business than you are at creating, managing and maintaining your own branded app. You can use apps from others to monitor cash flow, order inventory and handle a myriad of other business tasks, but your business likely doesn’t have an app of its own to help you reach your audience in a new way while increasing sales and customer loyalty.
“Small businesses may not have their own apps for a number of reasons,” says Angie Murphy, director of integrated marketing for Deluxe Small Business Services. “They may not think they need one, or that their customers want one. They may be under the impression that it’s enough to have a mobile-responsive website. Or, they may believe they need one but have no idea how to create an app. Many probably think it’s just too expensive to have their own.”
App-solutely missing the boat
Small businesses that don’t have an app may well be missing out on opportunities for growth, Murphy warns.
“The mobile device world is constantly growing, evolving, and creating staggering opportunities for small businesses that market themselves through mobile apps,” she says. “Thirty percent of all commerce in the U.S. is now taking place over mobile devices, to the tune of an expected $142 billion this year, Internet Retailer says. More Americans now access the Internet via mobile devices than desktop computers, and you don’t need a study to tell you people are constantly looking at their smartphones!”
A mobile app should be a component of every small business’ mobile marketing strategy, Murphy says.
“According to Nielsen, people are interacting with apps 89 percent of the time when they’re on their mobile devices. That’s a huge chunk of possible business, and you can’t afford to leave it untapped.”
4 reasons why you have no more excuses
We’ve just debunked one of the most popular excuses for why small businesses don’t have mobile apps — the belief they don’t need one. Here are four other reasons why small businesses no longer have any excuse for not launching their own mobile apps:
1. Market your business in multiple ways.
Apps can help you bring together multiple marketing tactics and make them all work more effectively in your favor. For example, a loyalty program is a time-proven marketing tool and Americans place more value than ever on such programs. In fact, according to Nielsen, 64 percent of consumers say loyalty programs influence where they do business. Apps provide small businesses with an easy, effective way to recognize and reward customers. This can be something as simple as allowing your app to track qualifying purchases toward a reward, rather than using an old-fashioned punch card for the task. Or, if your app has geo-location capabilities, you can use it to text special offers to loyalty program members when they are near or in your store.
You can also use your app to communicate with customers at any time, no matter where they are. You can send a message about an upcoming sale, confirm a reservation, announce a special event or send push notifications. A push notification causes a message to pop up on mobile devices where users have installed your app; research shows 60 percent of mobile users open push notifications, and 40 percent engage with the app immediately after getting a notification.
2. Boost revenue.
Consumers are used to buying your products or services through your mobile website. Building purchasing capabilities into your mobile app ensures they can buy what they need from you at any time. Your app can include a product catalog, ordering and reservation capabilities — so if customers are away from their PC, they can order what they need and pay for it from their mobile devices.
3. Enhance your overall marketing effectiveness.
Incorporate data gathering into your app, and you can use it to generate metrics to empower all your marketing efforts. These metrics can provide you with important information on how your customers interact with your business such as visits, checkouts, purchases, searches and more. Those numbers can help make other marketing tactics, such as email marketing, more effective and fruitful.
4. Affordable to develop.
Unless your small business creates and sells apps to others, chances are good that as a small business owner you don’t have the technical chops to create an app on your own. Of course, there’s no dearth of vendors and individuals who will create an app for you. Once upon a time, those people charged a lot of money to create custom apps — and many still do.
“Five years ago, you could expect to pay $100,000 or more for a custom-built app, but like every other aspect of mobile technology app-building is getting faster, easier and better,” Murphy says. “Now, trusted companies like Deluxe, which has built a solid reputation as a partner to small businesses, are making apps accessible to every small business. Our brand-new service makes building apps scalable and affordable.”
Want to learn more about how Deluxe can help your small business create its own business-building app? Fill out this form, and a Deluxe team member will get in touch.
“In the early days of mobile, only big companies with deep pockets and huge customer bases could afford — and felt the need for — apps,” Murphy says. “Now, consumers expect every company they do business with to make their lives a bit easier by having an app.”