Smartphones have not only changed our perception of using ‘thumb impressions’ but have provided the market with a vast scope for advertising and engaging potential customers.

Mobile apps have become a necessity for the business world. It’s no longer a “nice to have” for a company. It’s a “need to have,” generally. If you don’t have one, aren’t you lagging behind the competition?

The number of mobile users around the world should reach around 5.07 billion by the end of 2019. Currently, there are almost 1.6 million Android apps available in Google Play and about 1.5 million in the Apple App store.

Apps increase customer engagement by reducing the waiting period (loading time) consumed by websites — and can also be used offline. They reduce the cost of advertisement and enhance the visibility of a company’s brand.

Building an app may not be a big deal but making an efficient app surely is. Beware snake oil: there are any number of software “solutions: available on the web which promises developing an incredible mobile application in “a few simple steps.” Usually these are lies.

Developing an app is crucial, and one should invest in it if they must, but only after adequate preparation and research — since it is a costly errand and runs some risk.

There are several things to keep in mind before heading towards developing a mobile app:

Target Audience
Apps are built after websites, so existing customers can be approached to determine whether there is a market for your app or not. If your audience is operational on social media, this could be a yes for you. People are visibly active on different social media handles just because these apps analyze what they like and offer them things as per their taste. (That’s essentially how algorithms work.) One should not forget that hundreds of apps are downloaded and deleted on a regular basis. The content of any app is very audience-specific.

Purpose
You should also be clear about the motive of your app. What are you going to provide? Is it going to grab their attention? How will you improve the services? Customers are impatient; if you supply good, they demand better.

Time and resources
Investing time and money to something that is not valuable for the clients is futile. Apps not only need a superior budget for development, but need to be maintained and updated time-to-time. Cheap apps do not bring in business — and when there is a scope for other pocket-friendly options why go for an app?

Business requirements
Apps are more useful for businesses that require high customer interaction and engagement. If your competitors have an app, and it is performing well (you can check stats via Google and get a general sense), then it might be time to have an app of your own.

Features
An application with no enticing features and unattractive looks cannot help the business. In the absence of attractive features, the app may get downloaded once but will not be used again by the user. If you are providing customers with something fascinating, it is the time to get closer to the clients.

Technical aspects
Which tool should be chosen and with what theme? How much data will your app consume? Is it 3G/4G compatible or not? Will the app be supported by different smartphone brands? How long will it take to load?

Price
Another significant thing to keep in mind is – ‘is your app free or paid’? People like free stuff but apps of both kinds are downloaded considering their utility. If the concept you are providing is unique and you believe that the target audience might be willing to pay for the services, you need to mark the choice accordingly.

Description
The information being provided on the app should be a clear description of all what you have to offer. The representation is as important as the customer review and compels the reader to download the app.

Other than these, you need to appropriately choose the right platform (iOS/Android) for your App., develop a strategy to deal with negative reviews and other issues.

Is that all?

No.

Developing an app may seem like a relatively easy solution to all the marketing troubles but, several others are doing the same. If you have not made a strategic plan to increase the app’s visibility, you might eventually disappear altogether. You cannot straightforwardly build or launch an app randomly. Even the time of launch and platform need to be analyzed beforehand.

The services need to be provided to the right people at the right time and through the right platform.

Overall, an app makes sense when:

– Your product or service requires high levels of interaction with its user such as activities or Games (like Angry Birds) work better with an app.

– Your services are highly personalized and the content is supposed to be regularly used. e.g., language learning apps.

– You have a successfully running website to serve as the base for your app and you need to add value by increasing the size of your database.

– Your idea is of providing offline access to your users even when offline, a mobile app will work better.

– You need to access a user’s information like messages, location, contacts

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