It has taken a while, but small businesses are finally realizing the potential of mobile apps to gain more customers and increase sales.
According to a new survey  by B2B research company Clutch, nearly 50 percent of small businesses will have mobile app by 2017. That’s impressive considering only 20 percent of small businesses have mobile apps today.
“Three years ago, a small business might see 10 percent of its total traffic coming from mobile, but right now it’s closer to 70 percent. Within the next couple of years, a shift to a mobile app or a mobile-friendly site will become obvious,” says Viktor Marohnic, CEO of the app builder Shoutem .
Small Businesses Will Have A Mobile App by 2017
The survey has found that the majority of small businesses are building apps to increase sales (55 percent), improve customer experience (50 percent) and become competitive in a specific market (50 percent).
Marohnic explains, “A good mobile app can facilitate quick checkout for a purchase, leading to an increase in sales. Customer experience amounts to simply browsing through an inventory, seeing what’s available. An app can definitely improve that experience, compared to a mobile website, where the user has to login again every time they use it, provide payment details, and so on.”
Marhonic also adds that consumer-facing industries such as restaurants, churches, small event organizers, car dealers, and stores are the obvious adopters of mobile apps for small business. According to him, these businesses want to build loyalty programs and keep their customers informed.
The survey findings support Marhonic’s assertion as it has been revealed that small businesses consider customer loyalty features (21 percent) as the most valuable feature of their current mobile app.
Should You Opt for a Mobile App for Your Business?
The big question now is whether or not you should go for a mobile app for your small business?
Before you consider the option, you should know that apps are no longer a mere branding exercise  for small businesses. From simplifying online purchases to providing easy-to-access information, apps provide several benefits for small business owners.
It’s worth noting that for the business owners, there are various sophisticated software tools and app builders that are making their lives easier. These easy-to-use and affordable tools can get businesses started and help leverage the potential of apps.
Founded in 2012, Clutch is a Washington DC based research firm. For the study, Clutch surveyed 352 owners or managers in the United States and asked if their small businesses will have a mobile app by 2017.
Market  Image via Shutterstock, Chart Image via Clutch 2016 Survey Data