Do You Really Need a Mobile App?

With the explosion of mobile apps in recent years, you may be wondering if your organization could potentially capitalize on this technological phenomenon. However, before you start hiring mobile app development teams and throwing thousands of dollars at an all-singing, all-dancing application, ask yourself, do you really need a mobile app?

A Growing Trend, but for Everybody?

Some industries are faster to adopt new technology than others, but even the most slow-moving and careful industries are still buying into the business value of building a mobile app. Research shows that by the end of 2017, almost half of U.S. small businesses will have their own mobile app.

Many worldwide corporations are also following suit. In the transportation industry, global trucking operators have recognized the benefits of using mobile app technology for years, and in particular those that incorporate GPS functionality. From mapping out the quickest route to tracking fuel consumption history, these apps have revolutionized the logistics industry, helping companies to offer safer, more reliable and more affordable transportation and distribution.

However, given the popularity of mobile apps, there are still some industries that are reluctant to embrace the technology. Restaurants, the construction sector and real estate companies seem to be some of the slower industries to consider building a mobile app.

Questions to Ask Before You Make the Leap

Possibly the first question you should ask yourself before making the leap into mobile app development territory is what value an app will offer your users. If your website is already achieving everything you want your mobile app to achieve, there is little point in duplicating your efforts or your costs. We often have folks ask us for an app to be a store locator–and nothing else. If their customers download this app and this is the only functionality (which already works perfectly well in the website) not only will they not find value in the app but they won’t likely download an app in the future even if there is more value added.

The next question to ask is what you hope to get from your app. Do you want to increase revenue directly through the app? Do you want to offer enhanced functionality for your employees on their mobile devices? Most apps require investment of thousands and often hundreds of thousands of dollars, and so it is important to define the goals of the mobile app from the start.

You can also use mobile apps to gather customer information (in a subtle way, of course), achieve omnichannel goals and build meaningful relationships with your customers. All of these goals can help you to achieve more exposure and revenue if you approach them in the right way.

Final Thoughts

A new mobile app can offer significant benefits to an organization, but only if it offers genuine business value, is built well and is received well by your target audience. The trick is to determine whether you really need one in the first place.

This was originally posted at smallfootprint.com.

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