Small business owners, a word of advice: Test your small business apps early and often.
My colleague Andrew Gazdecki and I have told you why you need an app in today’s market.
Test Your Small Business Apps Repeatedly
But building an app is not enough. You have to test it to make sure you haven’t got any problems. No one can build a completely problem free app the first time around. The way you catch the bugs is by conducting quality assurance testing. If you don’t do it, you are likely to face a heap of trouble later.
Users are much more finicky online than in the bricks and mortar world. In the physical world, customers won’t wipe out the route they took to your store, but online your customers will uninstall your app if it is buggy, slow or poorly optimized. In fact, Google survey data shows that half of users uninstall apps because they use too much storage space, and a third remove them because they freeze too often.
And don’t think you can recover easily from this tendency to uninstall. Once your customers remove an app, they tend not to bring them back.
Your customers are likely to pick one app, not many. Few customers install competing apps, even when the product or service the business provides are of equal quality. Too many apps make their phones more difficult to use. As a result, many customers pick either Uber or Lyft rather than installing both apps, driving (pun intended) customers to one or the other ride share provider.
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Test Your Small Business Apps To Avoid Lost Revenue
A failure to test app quality means lost revenue. Customers often abandon purchases when ecommerce sites fail to load properly or the checkout function freezes up. They find other restaurants to frequent when they want to check out a menu and can’t read it properly on their phones.
Your failure to assure the quality of your app could mean long-term damage to your brand. Customers associate the quality of a company’s apps with the quality of its products or services.
Consider the case of Apple whose failure to do QA testing on Apple Maps let to the release of an app that directed users to train stations in the middle of the ocean and roads that didn’t exist. Frustrated iOS users took their complaints online, and Apple CEO Tim Cook had to apologize to customers and encourage the use of competing apps to stem the outcry. Smaller companies than Apple are unlikely to weather these types of storms.
Fixing live apps is more costly than repairing problems before the app goes live. The latter fixes mean downtime and lost revenue when the app isn’t in use.
You can’t just test your app once and assume all is good forever. The technology that your customers are using to access your app are constantly changing. What was an optimal experience for them last year might not be any longer because your customers got new smart phones.
And that’s if you haven’t made any changes to your app. If you add new features, you want to rerun all the tests you conducted before you first released the app. You also want to test when a traffic analysis shows an anomaly, or when users are complaining about similar issues.
When it comes to testing your small business’s mobile app, you’ve got a lot of options for how to do it. You can contract with a freelance tester, like the computer whiz down your street. Or you can hire in house information technology people to do the job. You can contract with big, expensive, outside providers like Rainforest QA that conduct tests for Fortune 500 companies. Or you can go with a more economic tester like My Crowd QA, which is targeting the small business market.
However you choose to do it, just make sure you test your small business apps and mobile apps — before you release and then repeatedly over time.
Smartphone Photo via Shutterstock