Mobile Now - Why Every Business Needs a Mobile App Today
Ten years ago Blockbuster was the king of video, and bookstores were a staple in every strip mall across America. Today these markets are dominated by companies like Netflix and Amazon. The web revolution changed the world, and today we see a similar trend happening with mobile.
Why Do Mobile Apps Matter?
There are many significant benefits that companies can reap from mobile apps. Why mobile matters often depends on your business, but in general there are some very compelling statistics about mobile apps today (2017).
Some interesting facts from the Google Micro-Moments guide:
We spend 177 minutes on our phones per day.
Combine this startling statistic with the fact that 87% of smartphone users always have their smartphone at their side, day and night, and you have the picture of the average American consumer.
Being present on mobile devices means you are relevant. I shop at Walgreen's because their app is on my phone. I know they have competitors, like CVS, but I never shop there. I carry Walgreen's brand in my pocket, and they win my business.
98% of Target's customers shop digitally, and three-quarters of them start their experience on a mobile device.
Brands like Target, Starbucks, and Panera Bread understand that their retail customers are also their digital customers. Big business has figured this out for a decade or more, and the ones that did not die out (see Blockbuster or Borders Books).
Small business is in the prime position to leverage mobile applications as a competitive advantage. In the past decade, the price of development has brought custom software within reach of small to medium sized businesses, and they can expand their brand reach and recognition like household names.
Controlling the information that is conveyed to your customers through your mobile application gives you a direct marketing channel. While your users are looking for general information and interacting with your app, you can show them special sales, promotions, and other information you would like them to know. With push notifications, you can have an even stronger messaging platform.
69% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps help them easily answers to their questions.
As consumers become more dependent and trusting of their mobile devices, the companies that engage their customers through apps benefit and gain position on their competitors.
58% of smartphone users are more likely to buy from companies whose mobile sites or apps allow them to make purchases quickly.
It's no longer just big eCommerce like eBay and Amazon that are taking advantage of digital payments. Coffee shops, bakeries, and every company with a cash register is finding ways to bring in more revenue from mobile and online users.
Starbucks' 17% revenue increase in 2016 can be largely attributed to their mobile app, according to Bloomberg Technology. When a coffee shop can make millions off of mobile ordering, every business has opportunities for growth and positioning using custom software and technology.
The growth of mobile commerce is the second online revolution. Many companies made their fortunes on the back of the online boom, while other companies perished and were left behind. Mobile commerce is very much the second wave of the online revolution, and similar results can be expected.
U.S. consumers spent roughly $385 billion online in 2016. BI Intelligence predicts that number will grow to $632 billion in 2020. 
Creating digital loyalty cards, collecting frequently asked questions, rewards programs, paperless billing, and countless other features can add value to your customers. Improving customer experience is a great way to build referrals, loyalty, and out position your competition.
Improve Customer Engagement
Having a simple way for your customers to communicate with your company is a game-changer in today's market. No matter the business you are in, a significant percentage of your customer base would prefer to communicate via text than voice.
Stand Out From the Competition
A small business with a mobile app immediately stands out from the competition. Being perceived as forward-thinking also helps reinforce a brand that is modern and well positioned.
Cultivate Customer Loyalty
In this Forbes.com article the author cites this as the most important reason for building a mobile app for your business.
With all the noise out there — roadside banners, billboards, flashing signs, newspaper ads, flyers, coupons, websites, website banners, Facebook ads, and email marketing — we slowly lose our impact on customers because of the immense amount of advertising surrounding us all. It’s time to go back to making a true and sincere connection with your customers, and making them a loyal lover of your product and/or service. I am not saying a mobile app is going to save your business, but it can be a way of staying closer to your customers, and being just a "fingertip" away at all times.
These are all very valid benefits that a mobile presence can bring to your organization.
What App Should My Company Build?
This can be the million dollar question. While it may seem apparent who your app should target and which features it should include, taking an agile approach to discovering and delivering apps that add value can be the deciding factor in your success.
Partnering with consultants or industry experts is a great way to explore, define, and deliver the right app for your business's needs. Grok has built our reputation on delivering the right apps on time and budget. Contact our mobile experts for a free consultation today.