30 Mar Keeping Your Business ‘Appy
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes.
Help your life run a little more smoothly
By Ian Barclay
You may not know the dictionary definition of an app (unless you’re techy types like us) but if you’ve got a smartphone or tablet you’re interacting with apps every single day – those handy little squares which help your life run a little more smoothly. Google Maps is guiding you through city streets, you’re up to date with all the latest world events through the BBC News app and, let’s be honest, what kind of a day has it been if you haven’t salivated over at least five foodie photos on Instagram? We could go on but the point is clear – the world is truly on-board with apps.
We don’t want to get too technical but if you’re considering an app to help boost business or customer interaction, then it’s useful to have the lowdown on the two main strands available and how they create a different user experience. The buzz-words to listen out for are native apps and web apps.
Let’s take a look at native apps – it’s all in the name if you want to wax lexical about it (clever pun alert). Most of your user experience probably comes from native apps. They’re designed for a specific device – for example, Android vs Apple – and are downloaded directly to them. Native apps are so-called because they use your device’s functionality, literally becoming pseudo-native to your phone or tablet. Accessing your camera, receiving notifications, or sharing your location are just a few of examples of native app interaction. They’ll usually take up residence on your home screen or nearby, so they’re super accessible too.
On the flip side are web apps. These are accessed through a browser (Google Chrome, Safari etc.) and are great if you reckon your client base is mostly made up of Blackberry and Windows phone users. Web apps can cast a wide audience reach but functions are limited. They can’t access a device’s own functionality so take some time to consider what’s best for your business and what customer experience you want out of your app.
Technology is improving faster than you can say “4G” (maybe not quite that fast, it’s a two letter word after all) and businesses large and small are turning to apps to help. If you’re still on the deciding line take a look at our top five benefits of getting one built.
- It’s all about branding, isn’t it? Branding is the first word is business marketing success and an app can help give you a stronger presence in the lives of your customers. Just think, instead of trying to remember the name of your website, probably forgetting it and just going wherever comes up first in a web search, your customers can download your app and know exactly where to access the info they need. The added advantage is that your logo or slogan is sitting on their home screen as a handy reminder to them that you’re out there, just waiting for their custom – bonus!
- Want customer feedback but finding it hard to get? We’ve all ignored those little slips of paper on our table before – even the promise of 10% off next time or a freebie often won’t sway people to take time and actually write a review there and then. Make it easier then, and let your customers leave a review of their experience through your food ordering system. Adding in the option to send your business an email directly improves customer service too, essentially giving the customer 24/7 access to you.
- Widening your marketing reach can be time consuming with all the things involved in search engine optimisation. Integrating your app with social media sites encourages your customers to “check-in”, tag, tweet and photo-share….erm, did we hear someone say free publicity? Add on the fact that you can send users push notifications to let them know about special offers and announcements and there’s a lot to like about the idea of an app already.
- Work, gym, hobbies, friends, family, kids, travel… did we mention work? We all have busy lives and there’s not much sign of it slowing any time soon. If your business has an app you’re saving people precious time. There’s no need to browser-search or call up friends asking, “What was the name of that place we ate at three months ago again?” Promote your app to current customers and the new ones will follow suit – hey presto! They’ve got all the info they need at the push of an icon.
- Take stress and pressure off your telephone or in-person system by allowing customers to order through your app. No one likes to be kept waiting in a queue but a few in-app clicks can take you from menu or product list browsing to payment for your choices, meaning there’s less chance of losing custom through wait times. If you want to off-set some of your costs you can think about allowing in-app advertising too.
So, free potential advertising? Check. Wider marketing reach and ability to save your customer time? Check and check! With the advantages stacking up we know that apps are essential for giving your company a competitive edge and rounded customer experience so get your business branding boxed up and on the home screens of thousands.