Should I have an APP?
Do you need an App for your business if it is not a tech startup? The answer is - it depends.
These days, it feels like there are apps for everything, but does it mean your business should have one too? Well, it depends! Apps are great for enhancing customer engagement. You can offer exclusive perks, products, services, or content. You can create loyalty programs with apps. You can also leverage apps for customer insights. An app costs money and takes time before it's even built. Then, when it is built, there is still an investment of more money and time to maintain it. So the question is not should you have an app but rather will an app earn you money?
As you make this decision, consider your demographic group. Are they avid users of apps? Do they consume content or spend money on apps similar to yours? If that is a yes, and you can secure a profit from an app, then it is a worthwhile investment. However, if building it costs you time and revenue, it may make sense to avoid the investment altogether.
However, if you decide to launch an app, consider pre-made templates from well-established websites that bundle website development and apps. Usually, for a monthly or annual fee, you can establish an app in minutes. These companies use preexisting interfaces that give the appearance of a standalone app. For example, AppHive enables anyone to develop a custom app by dragging and dropping widgets. Also, if you use websites like Weebly, Squarespace, and Wix, they offer plug-ins or interfaces that integrate your company's mobile platform to serve as an app for your business.
If you do choose to go the route of building or subscribing to an APP, make sure to consider these factors:
Price - Annual fees can be nominal initially, but subscription-based apps can increase the cost depending on the number of people who register to use your app. Make sure you have looked at several companies and plans.
Convenience Fees - If any money is being exchanged on the app, see what the convenience fee is for each transaction. It is typically a percentage of the sale. Also, check how that fee may affect your margins.
Portability of Information - When you register for a subscription, accounts have to be created for people to log in and use the service. However, if this company goes out of business or if you want to change providers, how easy will it be to get your customer information or transition your customers to a new platform? Having access to consumer data is vital to any business. If you can't get a guarantee that you will have it - walk away.
Security - Privacy is vital. If there is a data breach, customers will see your business as the culprit, even if you use an app service. Understand how the company that manages your app protects customer data. Conduct research by looking them up with the Better Business Bureau or with the FCC to see if they ever had a security issue in the past.