2016 Is the Year Small Businesses Must Develop Mobile Apps

Small Businesses Must Develop Mobile Apps

Apps are no longer considered merely a “branding exercise” for small businesses. Business owners are becoming wise to the marketing power a well-designed, intuitive app can bring. From simplifying online purchases to providing easy-to-access information, the benefits are undeniable which is why small businesses must develop mobile apps to stay competitive.

Why Small Businesses Must Develop Mobile Apps

In previous years, the rising cost of custom app developers made apps an impossible expense for small businesses. The recent growth of software development kits that streamline the app development process and allow even non-coders to create a fully-functioning app have dramatically reduced the cost of creating an app.

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The affordability and fast development times these kits allow has encouraged more businesses than ever to create their own apps.

As social media use continues to rise, consumers are becoming more open to engaging with brands on a day-to-day basis, even if they aren’t specifically loyal to or purchasers of that particular business. Business owners and marketers are capitalizing on consumers’ desires for interaction by producing entertaining mobile apps. While being fun to use, informational or inspirational, a common characteristic of these apps is that they feature a strong call-to-action to persuade the user to purchase a product or in some way benefit the company in question.

What Types of Small Businesses are Making Apps?

A 2015 analysis of 40,402 apps created with an app development platform found that while “expected” businesses such as restaurants and gyms were highly prevalent, others such as golf courses, hotels, politicians and plumbers were also on the rise.

But why are these industries building more apps? Well, as the ease of building apps increases, so does the amount of potential functionality. One-off investments in systems such as in-app payments or bookings can save businesses money in the long-term as they reduce the amount of time their staff needs to spend fulfilling orders, taking payments or completing bookings.

For businesses that meet potential clients at various locations, the ability to show data or portfolio pieces offline using an app can make the difference between closing the sale and losing the prospect to a competitor.

How are Small Businesses Benefiting from Mobile Apps?

A recent survey showed that 62 percent of the businesses asked already had apps or were in the process of building one. Of those, 20 percent used their apps purely for branding purposes, 30 percent have revenue generating apps and 50 percent use them for support and engagement.

We spend 174 minutes on mobile devices every day. Mobile sales are estimated to have reached $74 billion in 2015 — up 32 percent from 2014. Thirty percent of all online purchases by Millennials are done on mobile devices. This jumps to 33 percent for moms and 43 percent for U.S. Hispanics.

However, apps aren’t just for commerce businesses. Push notifications can be used by any niche to put your brand name directly in front of the smartphone owner. Apps can be used for any type of activity: booking systems, file uploads, vouchers, newsletters, digital magazines, support, providing information, logging exercise or nutrition, showing videos and so much more.

Even businesses that you wouldn’t have thought would benefit from an app are proving critics wrong by producing innovative and engaging apps. For example, an independent pet food supplier could have an app that encourages users to upload comical photographs of their pets for a chance to win a prize. A product for new mothers could build a community of local mums and arrange meet-ups. A realtor could create an app that compares local house prices now to five years ago. The possibilities really are endless. All it takes is a little imagination to devise a system that consumers will enjoy engaging with.

What Does the Future Hold?

The projections around app driven revenue are staggering. Non-game app downloads are estimated to grow 23 percent in the next five years, exceeding $182 billion in 2020. Smartphone adoption in emerging markets should see mobile app store downloads more than double between 2015 and 2020.

Current data about mobile purchasing across the different age groups gives a strong indication that in 5-10 years, everyone is going to be a mobile shopper. Sixty-nine percent of millennials buy products on their smartphones, compared to 53 percent of Gen Xers and 16 percent of Boomers.

The increased market share and spending power this brings will make apps a necessity for B2C businesses in order to streamline a consumer’s journey from product browsing to payment.

The above statistics are also good news for digital agencies that offer mobile app development. As more businesses adopt apps, the demand for their services grows. The development of new ‘smart products’ such as virtual reality and wearable technology may compound this further as apps will need to be adapted to work on new online platforms.

Mobile Phone User Photo via Shutterstock

Andrew Gazdecki Andrew Gazdecki is the founder and CEO of Bizness Apps, a do-it-yourself mobile app builder and mobile website creator for small businesses with over 500,000 customers worldwide.

39 Reactions
  1. It’s pretty crazy how much apps are taking over mobile devices. Very little time is actually spent calling, texting or even on the actual internet.

    • It really is quite amazing. About 80-90% of time spent on a mobile phone is spent within an app of some kind. And it’s reasonable to anticipate things to continue to progress in this direction!

      • It is inevitable that application use is taking over general phone use. When you think that most of us have used computers to achieve online and automated requirements previously, we are now using a specific mobile device that achieves the same results. Chuck in proximity capability and 4G speeds, we have the online world in the palm of our hands. I am all for good application development and use, it’s my business!

  2. Hey Andrew
    Thanks for the interesting article! Couldn’t agree more with you. As of 2015, about 52.7 per cent of the global mobile population accessed the web using their mobile phones. The statistics clearly indicate the need to include mobile in business strategies as the web is going mobile. It won’t be wrong if I say that creating an app can take businesses to the pockets of customers.
    Sophia Briggs

  3. Businesses want to be the first port of call for their customers and what better way to do that than to have their offerings embedded onto a smartphone? A successful app means a business is only ever a few thumb strokes away from a sale, while apps can also provide valuable data about customers’ needs and preferences. But while the best apps are often very straightforward, don’t be fooled: creating even the simplest interface takes a huge amount of time, research and resources.
    Creating an app is time-consuming and potentially expensive, so businesses must first decide if an app is really mission-critical or advantageous. Market research is key, as the app’s ability to meet customer needs will ultimately determine how successful it is. (additional info http://erminesoft.com/how-retail-business-can-use-mobile-apps/) The costs of creating an app vary significantly, depending on the project and company concerned. Industry insiders suggest a fairly basic app can be created for £15,000 to £20,000, although the average is more likely to be in the region of £50,000 to £70,000. However, depending on the additional back-end architecture required, it’s not unheard of for development costs to rise above £100,000.
    Costs are also impacted by the skills of existing personnel and partners. Many businesses already have web teams in place, meaning they can utilise existing staff. However, unless a business has very strong coding skills, it’s likely to need some outside help.

    • These prices are high. Companies like TotalLoyalty.com or Como can build a small and medium size a custom loyalty app for $89 / month.

      • I agree with Liam, my company Bizness Apps allows you to build an app for your business in minutes without any programming knowledge — these types of companies allow smaller businesses to finally take advantage of the power of mobile apps for less than the price of a news paper ad!

    • The cost of an App varies depending on the quality and requirements of clients and businesses. It also depends on the features, types, and plugins they need for their app. However, the cost of development may vary due to the wages paid to the designers and developers. Some countries have low wage structures compare to the countries that pay higher salaries to their developers. If you outsource your app development projects to countries that have low salary structure, you can have your app at a low cost. We in Syon Infomdia charge only $ 25 – $50 Hr for apps development projects. If you develop the same app with same quality and features in countries that have a higher wage structure, the developers in these countries can charge you $ 150 – $ 250 Hr.

  4. I agree strongly with the points stated in the article. Apps have become a must-have in order for all businesses to reach parity. It’s no longer just an experiment that the big brands are running. Just to offer some perspective though, it seems that consumers are downloading less apps these days, preferring to spend more time within their messaging apps (Messenger, Telegram, etc) instead.

    So a related trend that business owners should really pay attention to is the rise of bots. Facebook Messenger bots, for example, could be extremely important going forward as they will help with social media management and customer support on those channels. With bots, business owners can automate the support of their customers 24/7, and get that “Very responsive” badge on their pages that’s really important to show quality of their customer care.

  5. Development of apps is more difficult than creating an app. So app developer job is very complicated than app creators. If we make an app but it does not get popularity in public there is no benefit of that app for Entrepreneur or app owner so development is necessary for any app.The information which you have provided here about taking revolutionize in mobile app development strategy is very useful for developers to get success in their mission.

    • When creating any mobile app it is also equally as important to have a good marketing strategy to get your customers to download the app. Because if your app has no users, it has no value. The best way to combat this is actually really easy — I recommend building an app that has 1-2 ways to make your customers lives easier and then let them know about it in your store! Give them a reason to download the app!

  6. Another perspective to the growing use of apps is the need to make sure the content is accessible. Many websites are doing this but has anyone thought through the effort to build & maintain content that makes the app usable in voice command mode? As more people push to communicate through apps they have to be easy to use or you could fall into a dangerous area of not being convenient & useful.

    I’m struggling to get companies to build compliance into the app framework & business users to add content that enhances the experience. Anyone else in the same boat?

    • Good points Craig. I think the main item to understand is there a key difference between mobile websites and apps. You need to ensure that your mobile app provides functionality that will be used more than once and on a constant basis. This is the key to your mobile app’s success, otherwise I’d recommend a mobile website.

  7. I completely agree with the post today mobile apps have become so important for all businesses that no one can even survive without it. It has increased the importance of a good android developer.

    • Absolutely! Android is just as important, if not more important, than iOS because of the massive market penetration Android has achieved. Having a mobile app on both platforms is strongly recommended and fairly easy to do these days with the right strategy.

  8. Mobile Apps allows you to access everything on the go in real time, that is where small businesses can be benefited the most. Businesses like Gym, hospitals and others can circulate their details with their users and keep them updates. In return, users can communicate with to the business owners and has detailed information effortlessly.
    Mobile Apps can thus add value to the businesses and help in improved customer retention ratio.

  9. I have noticed a rise in companies making apps for their businesses, and I never knew why. It’s really interesting that 62% of businesses have already made apps for themselves. I think it makes mobile browsing a lot easier sometimes.

    • Hey Hemang, you’re absolutely correct. Mobile apps give users access to a lot of different types of important information and real time and the list of industries that could benefit from creating mobile apps is endless!

  10. If small business owners fully understood how an app can boost their bottom line they’d go crazy trying to get one. Of course, those that have them are probably perfectly content that their competition hasn’t caught on.

    • Hey Barry, agreed! I think as time goes on more and more small businesses will realize the importance of mobile apps as their competitors begin to develop apps. Mobile apps are still a very new technology and small businesses are notoriously late adopters.

  11. Mobile technology is become must for startups from last couple of years especially in 2016. Developing a mobile app is the most effective use of mobile technology in any kind of startup. But you have to answer some important questions which every startup entrepreneur need to know before developing an app.

    • Absolutely agree — before investing in a mobile app you really need to focus on what your customers or users will be getting out of the mobile app. What is the main value they will get? Once you understand this building the app becomes much easier.

  12. If your company isn’t only as good as the software you use, try using an app called biltapp. Check it out here at this website, ‪https://biltapp.com.‬ This website/app can help you assemble a lot of different kinds of items. This app can show you a product in a 3-D interactive model, helping you put together your item.

  13. Technology never ceases to amaze me. Every other say there are new developments and even more interesting things being talked about for future. Endless possibilities makes me even more curious. Wonderful insights here at you blog. Shall keep watching this space for more! 🙂

  14. Thanks Andrew, Along with mobile apps development business, Web application development business also growing very fast to trend your business.

    Web application development is also becoming a global business trend.

  15. Hi Andrew,

    This is still relevant in 2019! True, the demand for mobile app development is increasing. As most people acquire prefer cellphones over any other devices, the need will continue to rise.

    The mobile app is a great platform to reach a vast audience. Mobile applications, if built with a purpose – helps to grow the business.

  16. Thanks, Andrew, Along with mobile apps development business, Web application development business also growing very fast to trend your business.

    Mobile technology becomes a must for startups from the last couple of years, especially in 2017. Developing a mobile app is the most effective use of mobile technology in any kind of startup. But you have to answer some important questions which every startup entrepreneur need to know before developing an app.

  17. Hey there. Great Post! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Hello Folks! When creating any mobile app, Is it required to have a smooth User Interface? Or we can improve it later?

  19. Nice Post…It was very informative and essential one for future business growth. Thanks for sharing!

  20. I really Like your blog. I really appreciate your efforts and the research you did for this blog. Mobile technology becomes a must for startups in the last couple of years. Developing a mobile app is the best way to stay in the trend for startups.

  21. Mobile technology becomes a must for startups in the last couple of years especially in 2021. We we need a mobile app for our business in present time.

  22. I read your blog very well, it’s really awesome

  23. Thank you so much! that much of the information you provided through this article thanks for sharing this

  24. very nice! that much of the information you provided through this article thanks for sharing this

  25. I read through your writings and was blown away by what I discovered, so keep up the fantastic job. You provide us with such valuable information.

  26. great article! now its 2021 the small businessmen have adopted the mobile app. Especially after Covid 19, sever mobile app got a amazing shape to be active in the market.

  27. content is very useful.I’m glad to be here.

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