Whenever consumers learn of a new service, product provider, store or even a new game, the new question on their mind is: does it come in a mobile app? Smartphones were the tech revolution of the last decade and they have changed the way we communicate, shop, navigate, and how we entertain ourselves. They have helped us make the most of the time we spend on the go – which is most of our time, lately. The question on your mind should be: does my small business need a mobile app?
Mobile Apps Are on the Rise
The answer is probably yes. The mobile app industry has been on the rise in recent years with no signs of declining. In 2017 alone, mobile app downloads reached more than 175 billion, a 60% increase from 2016, while the money that consumers spent on mobile applications reached over $86 billion, a 105% rise from 2016. Both the iOS and the Google Play stores saw their profits grow by roughly 35% in 2017 while users spent an average 3 hours every day on their mobile apps – that translates to around 1.5 months annually. These numbers alone demonstrate the vast potential that companies with mobile apps tap into.
As consumers grow more and more fond of their smartphones, mobile devices are considered the internet gateway of the future, especially in e-commerce. It is estimated that mobile e-commerce sales will account for 63.5% of all e-commerce sales in 2018, generating $1.8 trillion in revenue, and will reach almost 73% of all e-commerce sales in 2021, which translates to over $3.5 trillion in sales. Against this landscape, small businesses could benefit immensely from developing a mobile application to get in touch with consumers. Having a mobile app could generate that kind of exposure that will lead to substantial increase in traffic for your website, too. Although sudden spikes in traffic could be a problem for your website, you could balance the funds you directed into a mobile app by investing in free and open-source load balancing solutions like a HAProxy to handle the increase by redistributing workload across different servers.
The Benefits of Having a Mobile App
If you are active in the tech industry, you could always develop an app yourself – otherwise, there are plenty of specialized professionals to choose from. A mobile app can allow you to expand your consumer base, by reaching out especially to the young crowds, setting you up for success with the future consumers of your services. You can also tap into app monetizing options, like including in-app advertisements to help you increase your profits and cover the initial costs of developing an app. Internally, having a mobile app could help your business streamline your processes, save you time and money and aid your employees in performing day-to-day duties. And you could always go with internal reporting options that are common in many web apps, which can allow you flexibility and convenience in extracting data and pinpointing performance issues.
If you are still skeptical about a dedicated app, consider developing a mobile-friendly version of your website as a start and then revisit your options about how to better attract mobile consumers.