Syncing up all the moving pieces of your small business operation becomes a cinch when you have your very own app.
There’s no question about it: apps are here to stay. The number of global smartphone owners is at an all-time high (and steadily growing), as is the amount of time those users spend in apps — 2015 saw a 58% increase in app usage from 2014, according to TechCrunch, and as much as 90% of the time we now spend on our phones takes place inside of apps, as Entrepreneur reports. As powerful as the internet is, these numbers prove that merely establishing a web presence isn’t enough: small and medium businesses need to integrate a mobile app into their marketing strategy if they wish to compete.
We spend an extraordinary amount of time on our phones each day (174 minutes, to be exact, according to Small Business Trends), which goes to show how imperative it is that your business makes its presence felt in the mobile sphere. Building your own app allows you to do just that, helping you reach out to new clients while simultaneously keeping current ones engaged and involved. Use push notifications to send instant bargains to new and old customers alike, and reward loyalty with unique deals, from vouchers to free giveaways. With these tools, you will boost repeat visits and retain more customers.
An app’s RSS feed can be used to keep your clientele unobtrusively updated, thereby driving engagement. Other tools, like barcode scanners, provide novel opportunities to pique your customers’ interest while also giving detailed information on a given product. Furthermore, your app essentially serves as an additional retail outlet, opening up a new, cost-effective revenue stream. This is particularly important as omnichannel shopping continues to gain momentum and contribute to consumers’ expectations for anytime, anywhere purchasing power.
Beyond just stimulating customer involvement, utilizing mobile apps can save you a tremendous amount of time. When you’re running a small business, this time saved can be just as, if not more valuable than money alone. The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council estimates that apps save small business owners 291 hours per year, propel business networks. Do the math: that’s more than 12 days of added productivity! And the savings carry over to your staff, too, with an approximate 589 employee hours saved every year.
This time saved can be largely attributed to the streamlining of daily organizational and logistical tasks, all made possible by integrating an app into your business operations. You can oversee email, social media, and customer relations — all from your phone. And you can even manage your inventory and track orders and shipments in real time, ensuring that you have constant access to the most up-to-date and accurate data.
Communication within your company is also made easier and more efficient (instantaneous, in fact) with an app, and shared calendars ensure that everyone can be on the same page, at the same time. No more missed or rescheduled meetings.
Building Your App
Unfortunately, many small business owners are under the false impression that developing an app requires either extensive coding experience or a lot of money (or both). Simple DIY platforms such as AppMakr, however, make it easy for anyone, regardless of coding fluency and budget, to design and launch their own mobile app. Moreover, AppMakr allows for complete customization, so you can build your app from the ground up, just like you did your business. Now, the question remains: what will you do with your extra 12 days?
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