Mobile app development for SMEs

If you’re an SME, you might be forgiven for thinking mobile app development is something solely for the big boys – the Facebooks and Spotifys of the world.

Your content and the slick website you paid an agency to design a couple of years ago give your customers everything they need, right? You let them know more about your business’ origins, what products or services you sell, and list the multiple ways they can get in contact with you.

In years gone by, this might have been enough. But not anymore.

Digital media plays a pivotal role in the lives of the modern consumer. Everything from checking who rang our doorbell to booking holiday accommodation can be done via an app.

Apps are convenient, personalised, and that’s why they’ve become the preferred method of interaction for many customers.

This is particularly clear when we look at enhanced loyalty among app users. Studies show that app customers spend 37% more than non-app customers with the same retailers – and they buy more frequently.

And the benefits of an app for your company don’t end there; by delivering a personalised experience and better value through an app, you can increase spend and loyalty among your existing customer base, and begin to expand your reach in completely new markets.

Let’s look at a few barriers and benefits to mobile app development for SMEs…

Speculate to accumulate

For any SME looking into the possibility of developing an app for their business, the first barrier is usually tight budgetary constraints.

You don’t have the same budget as the key industry players, and you’ll do anything within your power to make a squeezed budget stretch even further – you may fulfil several roles to help keep costs down and try to do absolutely everything in-house (where possible).

Naturally, because you haven’t got endless pockets, every investment carries a bigger risk. You might ask yourself: “can I afford to develop an app?” – in reality, you should be asking yourself if you can afford not to develop an app.

An app will help to:

  • improve customer engagement
  • collect data that reveals insights about future trends
  • provide a better service
  • help you reach a global audience
  • make your business truly scalable
  • increase profit margins

While mobile app development is a considerable investment, it’s undoubtedly a worthwhile one that will generate returns.

Nearly every adult has a mobile phone in their pocket. By developing an app, your business is effectively establishing a direct line of communication with your customers.

Create the right mobile app for your business

As we’ve already covered, mobile app development is a big investment for SME businesses. That’s why it’s imperative that the app you develop is the right fit for your company – and it starts with a strong discovery period.

At 6B, our first action with a new mobile project is to sit down with our client and iron out what it is they want to achieve with the app that we build.

During an extensive discovery process, we ask:

  • What are your budget and time constraints?
  • What type of app do you want to build?
  • What are your business objectives?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • Do your closest competitors have an app? If so, how is it performing?

The answers to these questions will dictate our approach and inform what the final product will look like. Ultimately, your app should align with your goals as a business and the expectations of your customers.

Anything short of this is a monumental waste of time and money.

A huge part of getting this right is ensuring what you build connects with your target audience. Apps aren’t like websites that show up organically in search results; users either have to make a conscious decision to seek out your app and download it, or choose it over another in the app marketplace, where competition is high.

To create a user-focused solution, you need to get to grips with what motivates your audience, their behaviours, habits and needs.

To do this, you’ll need to conduct extensive user research, identifying insights and real requirements that you can incorporate into your final product to reflect value.

Don’t cheap out on user experience

At the heart of any successful app is a flawless user experience.

The reason users flock to apps over websites in the first place is because they know they can receive a better, more fluid, highly personalised experience. If this is lacking, they won’t hesitate to uninstall your app and download an alternative.

A skilled UX designer can help elevate your app from something functional to something intuitive that users actively enjoy interacting with.

User flows, colour schemes, typography and button placement might feel like relatively insignificant details, but they can have a huge impact on how well or badly your app is received by users.

Overall, your app should solve problems, not create them.

It should interact with in-built mobile features, like notifications and alerts, to deliver a more well-rounded and seamless user experience.

One of the ways that mobile apps enable you to better service your users and their experience is by creating rich customer profiles. The longer your users interact with your app, the more detailed a picture apps begin to build of what they like and don’t like, covering everything from products to features.

In the long-term, this enables your business to deliver a truly unique experience to all your users – one that resonates with their interests and inspires action.

Grow your business

What’s the one thing that connects every business around the world? A desire to achieve growth.

Whether you’re a catering or landscape gardening business, you want to increase sales, do great work, and build a loyal customer base.

Now, simply investing in a mobile app won’t make your business grow overnight, but it will arm you with the tools you need to make your business scalable.

Increased customer engagement, enhanced customer retention, improved operational efficiency, increased conversion, and access to new global markets, are just some of the possibilities that mobile apps open up to help your business expand.

So – how exactly do mobile apps help with scaling your business?

There are many answers to this question. For example, rewarding your customers with a loyalty scheme will incentivise them to stay loyal to your brand and spend more money with you.

Another example would be sending push notifications to users telling them about a referral initiative your business is running; this will incentivise them to share your app with friends and family, who will naturally trust the referral because it’s coming from someone they know well.

If your business wants to achieve growth in today’s digital economy then your growth strategy needs to include a mobile app.

No matter what field your business operates in and how small your team is, a mobile app will help you work smarter, connect with customers on a deeper level, and create a path for growth.

Is your business looking for a better way to engage and reach new customers?

Mobile app development is the answer. Our team of designers and developers will help identify and build an app that not only meets your business objectives but also meets the real needs of your users.

Talk to us about your next digital project.

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