With the growth of mobile search, it is common to see businesses creating websites for the mobile experience.
Less common, however, is for these businesses to develop mobile apps for their customers.
Apps might seem out of reach for many businesses, but they can actually be affordable and still offer a quality experience.
An app doesn't need to be overly complicated, often providing a few simple services that benefit both the consumer and the business.
What are some of the ways a business can use mobile apps effectively?
1. Provide Discounts and Loyalty Bonuses
One of the biggest challenges for businesses is ensuring customers keep on returning. Occasional discounts will often be enough to keep customers interested, ensuring they check the app on a regular basis.
For businesses that rely on frequent purchases, loyalty schemes will provide an incentive for customers to use the app.
You can run your loyalty program within the app, with businesses like hair salons, restaurants, and bars benefiting from participation.
2. Run a Store
Selling products directly from an app is a convenient way to reach customers.
When you operate a physical store, customers may not want to always travel to see you. An app lets you keep people updated, while also promoting new product lines.
It is possible to develop your own store within your app, though you may choose to integrate with an e-commerce solution like Shopify, Magento, or Amazon.
3. Book Appointments
Businesses like restaurants, salons, and dentists need a reliable solution for scheduling appointments.
The ability to book your appointments via a mobile app will set your business apart from most competitors.
Offering multiple contact options will provide a high level of convenience, with online booking, email, and phone calls all possible within an app.
4. Organize Deliveries
Restaurants can benefit from a mobile app by integrating a delivery feature.
Customers can order their food using the app, choosing to collect from you directly or have a home delivery.
More sophisticated apps can also let customers track their order, so they know exactly when it will be delivered.
You can also use an app to let customers track orders of all types of products, using integration services with popular delivery companies.
5. Provide Customer Services
Customer services is integral to a successful business.
When customers struggle to get their problems resolved quickly, it can be hard to salvage your reputation.
An app can be used to quicken the customer service process, offering direct contact and a knowledge base featuring common questions.
6. Send Push Notifications
Push notifications can be used to grab the attention of customers, reminding them of your business and prompting responses.
You could use a notification to promote a new deal, remind people of holiday opening hours, and request a review is left on a prominent site.
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7. Create Contests
Contests are an effective way to increase engagement, offering customers the chance to win a relevant prize or store discount.
You can run periodic contests to entice people to pay attention to your app, while offering something of value to users.
You can also use the contest to survey customers, gaining valuable information from entrants.
8. Promote Multiple Stores
Some businesses have stores in multiple locations.
In this instance, it might be important to differentiate between locations in certain aspects like ordering and customer services.
An app can be used as a central hub, but still offer individual services for each of your locations.
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9. Curate Your Social Media
Social media is an important tool for promoting and branding your business.
Many people are not active on social media, though, so they don't experience the work you put into these platforms. A mobile app can be used to curate your content across the most important social networks.
You could, for example, create a feed using Facebook posts, Instagram images, and Tweets from Twitter.
A mobile app is a valuable addition for a business, creating a direct way to promote the enterprise.
Apps, when developed effectively, offer convenience to the consumer, but they also ensure users remember a brand. A quality app won't try to do too many things, instead focusing on the elements that consumers most use the business for.
Ultimately, mobile apps are only going to get more popular as their creation becomes more accessible, so businesses should consider developing one that their customer base will use and appreciate.