According to a survey released in 2014 by Flurry Analytics, Americans spend 86% of their time on mobile apps versus 14% spent on mobile websites. Research by the same statistics company also determined that the average US mobile user spends 2 hours and 42 minutes a day on their devices. As the marketing saying goes “be where your customers are”, and right now that’s in the palm of their hands! Since mobile apps are unique, how can small business owners leverage mobile apps to help their customers benefit? In this article, we’ll look at the top three native mobile app features that small business owners can easily implement that you simply can’t get from a mobile website without a great deal of effort and expense.
Mobile apps are a great way to further define your brand and create a loyal customer following. Did you know that mobile apps offer digital loyalty cards for your customers? Each time they visit or make a purchase at your location, they hand over their smartphone and you type in a secret code which gives them a “stamp” on their card. Reward customers by offering a special treat or discount after they attain a set number of stamps (determined by you). One advantage of entering a secret password is that it’s much more challenging for someone to forge than say a hole-punch or your initials used on a printed card. Your customers will love it too because they won’t have to remember to bring their loyalty card with them every time they visit. Another advantage is cost; you don’t need to pay for printing the cards and you can decide when to offer them or delete them electronically in your mobile app with a few clicks.
An app also helps you stay top of mind, and one of the great ways it does this is by the fact that you are basically buying advertising space on your target market’s mobile devices. Every time users flip through their device they will see your logo. Furthermore, apps enable businesses to send push notifications to their customers. If you’ve never heard of push notifications before, it’s a technology that permits businesses to communicate with subscribing users via a chosen message that pops up on their device – even if the app isn’t in use. This message directs the consumer back to the company’s mobile app. For example, if you owned a restaurant, you could decide to send out a notification alerting users that “Appetizers are buy one get one for the next 2 hours” during a slow afternoon. This tool is highly beneficial for business owners because it allows you to send a shout out directly to your app users and according to a study by Exact Target, 92% of people will click on a push notification immediately.
Finally, mobile apps include the ability to generate QR coupons. With QR coupons, a custom QR code will be created for businesses to print and display at their location, on flyers, on menus, etc.… The owner can then decide how many times the QR coupon will need to be scanned as well as what the reward will be once the coupon is unlocked. There are a couple ways you could use this coupon, such as including the QR code on a promotional brochure that users only need to scan once in order to unlock a special discount, or by posting the QR code at your business location so that users must visit you X number of times in order to receive a free item or service… The options for this tool are endless! In addition to QR coupons, you would likely decide to include a QR scanner in your business app. The analysis by Exact Target mentioned above also noted that “twenty-eight percent of surveyed consumers said they didn’t know how to scan a QR code or print-to- smartphone coupon, or they didn’t have the app to do so”. By including useful tools like QR scanners in your app and instructions on how to use them, you provide an added bonus to those downloading your app.
As you can see, mobile apps provide many useful tools that mobile websites just can’t offer economically at this time. There are even more capacities that mobile apps contain above and beyond this list, such as incorporating smartphone features (like the camera or GPS functions) and running the app even if the user is offline. Mobile apps are a fantastic way for small businesses to connect with their target audience and offer exclusive deals and rewards, and we’d love to assist your small business leverage these features and connect with your customers.
Contact Trends Mobile and Web Solutions to discuss how your business can see a customized mobile app demo featuring your business, or visit our Mobile Apps services page to learn more about how mobile apps can benefit you and your customers.