Stop for a moment and take a look around. How many electronic devices do you have on you? Surely, your favorite smartphone. Then tablet (in many cases). If you're at home, you may also hear humming of your computer, otherwise it may be laptop. We can't imagine our life today without at least one of these gadgets, we trust them with a lot of our casual activity: reminding about birthdays, managing our physical activities, watching weather changes, etc.
Now let's imagine that you're a business owner and you run, say, a restaurant. Or a travel agency. You see people who can't part with their gadgets even in your club/restaurant/bar/office. And if earlier you could have contacted your clients only from time to time when they visited your office, then now you can be with them 24/7, without any breaks. The only thing you need to do is to get inside at least one of their gadgets (and later on you most possible will proceed to other ones as well).
But before start to seek for mobile developers, you need to understand why your business needs a mobile app.
There has been a myth that by creating a mobile app, business owners create additional sales channel. Well, the real source of this information seems to be mobile developers themselves who need to sell their apps (or find those who need the development process). But I think that the point of creating a mobile application is rather different. Business mobile app is a branding tool which is used for keeping your clients aware of your service, for increasing the level of customers' loyalty and for bringing them back to you at the first possible chance.
Here we can remember the example of Starbucks -- world-famous U.S. coffee network. The company launched its own mobile app in 2011. The app included a rewarding program called My Starbucks Reward. Every iPhone user got an account, which he or she had to fill up with real money, after downloading the app. By paying via this account in Starbucks, a user got stars that he could later on exchange for company's production.
The program proved to be successful and nowadays every 10th purchase in Starbucks is made via mobile device. On the average, 3 million mobile transactions are made weekly.
From the Starbucks example you can clearly see that mobile app perfectly serves the purpose of keeping clients and bringing them back to your business. But a business owner should bear in mind the fact that any mobile app works better on longer distance and doesn't bring immediate profit.
But the app should not only solve the problems of a business owner, but also be useful for a user. Otherwise users simply won't download it. The application should serve two main purposes:
- Solve client's problem;
- Solve client's problem quickly.
And I would say that the second point is the most important as users have already got used to the convenience of using mobile technologies. And if a user need to tap some 10 times to buy a ticket and doesn't get a discount after that, he will go to another supplier or will make a phone call. Thus, apps should be user's life buoy in any situation to keep him or her involved.