Since the introduction of the first smart device, the usage of mobile phones and tablets has increased at a tremendous rate and it has changed the way people interact with software both in the personal and professional sphere. The convenience of mobile technologies has compelled users to switch from desktops as their main device and, in some cases, even to ditch the laptop for a more portable and light (while equally potent) solution. A recent statistic by Statista showed that, in August 2019, mobile devices (excluding tablets) accounted for 51,65% of web page views worldwide. In Asia, that percentage reached 62%. In case you need more data, an astonishing figure: mobile internet daily media consumption has grown by 504% since 2011.
When we talk about mobile devices, we talk about Apps. Nowadays, it is unthinkable to consider a smartphone of a tablet that is not loaded with dozens of applications for every imaginable use: gaming, Social Media, instant messaging, health and well-being, smart devices controlling, online shopping, smart payments…there are even apps for meditating! Apps are everywhere but, are they really useful for businesses? Read this post and discover our tips for adopting mobile business apps that will really help you take your game to the next level!
It is pretty clear that Apps are not just a temporary fad, but some companies are still reluctant to fully embrace the potential that this little snippets of software have to offer. If you are one of those who still consider whether or not adopting mobile business apps is the way to go in your organisation, let us show you why using them can be great for you.
Apps concentrate all important data sources in one place, making it unnecessary to log in an additional device or software to receive the data, and they are very intuitive to handle, thanks to the use of simplified and widely distributed navigation concepts. Like that, users can distribute and receive information at high speeds with a very low entry barrier and a great facility to get the hang of a newly installed app. This work both for internal apps used by employees for the development of their daily job (for instance an inventory app), and for the apps which have been developed having the customers in mind (for instance an app to sell your products and services on mobile).
A great mobile app offers something extra to the users, a benefit that they wouldn’t get from a desktop or mobile site: instant information and efficient access to all the important features, simplified, at their convenience, in the palm of their hand. A well-developed app combined with an integrated omni-channel policy can provide great advantages to internal and external users and corporations.
Some other advantages for companies who decide to adopt mobile business solutions are:
Forget about the high costs of opening up a physical store, nowadays any organization can launch a successful mobile-only business with minimal effort. With a forecasted global revenue of $2.3 trillion in 2019, mobile shopping accounts for 58.9% of the World’s online commerce.
A mobile store allows businesses to easily display their entire inventory of products and services within a couple of swipes, everywhere, and at every time. Furthermore, even physical stores have ventured into the digital sphere: from supermarket chains to designer’s clothes, everyone wants a piece of the convenient, cost-effective, and superior e-commerce model.
In a World of start-ups, minimum viable products, and all-hands-on-the-deck approaches, no one has time to loose with tedious tasks like sending out and tracking invoices, bookkeeping, calculating expenses or filling up taxes. While hiring a freelance accountant is a very valid option that many businesses take, other opt to maximize the DIY approach by using bookkeeping apps, payments collecting and bill-paying apps, and other management and financial business apps. There are countless options so it’ pretty easy to find those which best match the needs of your business.
It doesn’t matter if your company is based on a physical store or only has digital presence, inventory tasks are a bummer. Time and energy saving, Inventory Management apps are here to help you keep track of stocks and quantities, organise your products, and forecast restocking needs.
Another very useful tool for both online and physical businesses is that or Order Management apps. Similar to the financial business apps, these apps will help you through the entire sales and purchases process besides giving you total control over the current and foreseeable situation of your inventory.
The surgency of social media apps which enable business profiles and other professional online marketing management platforms has allowed businesses of all sizes to take control over their online marketing campaigns. Assisted by the apps, now you can plan, create and execute multi-channel engaging and personalised strategies to attack, engage, and delight your customers for a fraction of the cost, and with a greater control over the whole process.
Any organization can benefit from these advantages by hiring and downloading third-party apps. However, for a greater control over the functions and capabilities of the software, many companies opt to develop their own apps. Software solutions like PowerApps make it really simple and cost-efficient to develop personalised solutions for your organisation.
We hope so far we have you onboard with the idea that apps are as good for business purposes as they are for your private use. Now, if you have decided to increase your mobile device presence by adopting mobile business apps, those being a third-party app, or developed your own, you need to know which are the possible types of solutions that you are going to be presented (native, web or hybrid) and what are the pros and cons of each one of them.
As stated before, there are three types of mobile business applications:
There are applications that are programmed for being used exclusively in one of the main mobile operative systems present today, for example, iOS for iPhone or Android for Samsung devices. Some of these native applications are required by the OS of the mobile on which they run, in order for it to function properly. Others are used to enhance and extend the use possibilities of the device, and they might require access to phone functions, such as the camera, geolocation or contacts, offering a more complete user experience as they take advantage of this native features.
Some native applications don’t require the device to be connected to the Internet to be used, which can be very convenient for users who travel frequently, as they can be used offline. However, that’s not the case for all native applications, but rather depends on the functionality and data available.
Finally, these applications are usually distributed in the market via the online stores of the different platforms, such as the Apple Store for iOS or the Google App Store for Android, and they can be under the modalities free, freemium or for a fee. This distribution method can provide the app with good visibility among consumers as they are distributed on an already known and trusted channel which is usually already present on the device by default.
However, the inconvenience of such channel is the fierce competition among all the different solutions present on the store, and the fast pace environment constantly pushed by the release of new applications.
The main disadvantage with native applications is that of practicality: when choosing to develop for one platform instead of another, you are automatically restricting the number of users that can be reached. If you want to ensure that your product is usable in all devices, additional time, money and effort is required in order to develop several versions of the same product. On top of that, you have to convince the user to actually download your app in their terminal. Finally, native apps depend too much on the platform providers for their distribution, and those can change their rules and requirements at any time, forcing the app to adapt. Besides, the distribution platforms take a fee from the sales, which in some cases can be as high as 30%.
This type of applications are not developed taking into account the requirements of any specific operative system, which means that they work on all devices, regardless of their manufacturer, and that cross-platform compatibility is ensured.
The applications run in the browser and, although they require Internet connection to function, they are independent from the terminal where they run. They are easily found and used by a simple bowser search, and their links can be shared among users, meaning that their distribution is easier, less controlled by third-parties and their reach, greater.
Web applications are also particularly useful for niche market solutions which are industry or sector specific and will only be downloaded by employees of certain companies, users of certain services, and other specific groups such as students, therefore not being practical to submit them to an app store.
At the end of the day, the decision whether or not to create or adopt an application and which kind of application to go for will depend on your particular needs and objectives and the goals you want to achieve for your organization. Also, you must consider if the nature of your company (its products and services) is translatable to an app and if the proportion of your customers using mobile devices and applications is significant enough to justify the investment needed for application development, or if the use cases you have imagined for your employees will truly make their lives and jobs easier. In Supervise, we truly believe that all business software should, and can, be simpler. That is why our solution, SuperCards, is also adapted to be used on mobile business apps.
Once you have decided if and what mobile solution is best for growing your business, it time to roll up your sleeves. But, before launching yourself to develop or hire new mobile solutions, take a second to consider which are the winning strategies used by other companies that have already been successful on adopting mobile business apps. Since the industry is still rather new, and there are not clear roadmaps or textbooks on how to successfully navigate the rough waters of the industry, here are a few tips that you can use to implement a successful mobile strategy:
We have campaign before about the importance of user experience in the success or failure of any software. Whenever developing an app, you must always keep in mind the goals and needs of its users, as well as the mobile platform(s) where they will be used on. What is great in iOS won’t do in Android, and so on. The software must be simple and intuitive, and extensive testing is needed to make sure the experience provided is seamless. That was our main goal when developing SuperCards, for instance. Mistakes that a priori seem unnoticeable, like drop down menus whose options are too small to click on accurately on a smartphone, can completely ruin the experience for your users.
It is also important to keep in mind which kind of users are going to access the application: are they super tech-savvy users? Are they slow learners? Do they need many detailed features, or just a few more generic options? In either case, always remember that the goal of the app is to make information more approachable, and taking action more easy. To maximise the number of users of an application, create a product that is compatible with the widest range of user profiles.
Aim for long term engagement
Have you ever observed a teenager using a mobile device? If so, we are pretty sure you have noticed the alarming speed at which their thumbs scroll. In an era of “thumbstorms” engaging and retaining the attention of the users is crucial. Many apps brag about how many thousands or millions of downloads they have attained, considering those figures the benchmark of their success. However, it doesn’t matter how many people download your app, if they completely stop using them in a matter of weeks. In order to really capitalize your investment, you must aim to create an engaging experience that keeps your customers coming back time after time (ahem, Pokemon Go anyone?).
We spend most of our lives stuck to our smartphones and tablets and, unless we are a truly privacy-concerned user, those devices are constantly tracking our every move, literally and metaphorically. Ethical concerns apart (hello, NSA!) this circumstance provides companies with unique insights about the profile of their customers. Not capitalizing into that knowledge is a mistake that you shouldn’t be willing to make. Collecting personal data in order to use it to provide personalised and relevant customer experiences with the help of a Customer Data Platform is considered nowadays as Marketing 101.
One of the perks of the mobile industry is also one of its biggest problems: it is an unbelievably fast one. Not only it grows at a tremendous rate, but it also changes from one day to the next. What was a state-of-the-art, super trendy app one year ago, might not be even remembered today (again, Pokemon Go. Rings any bells?). To stay current on this vertiginous market, you must propose solutions that adapt and convert, staying current to the trends to seem novel but that, at the same time stay true to their utility for the users.
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