Girl with tabletThe meteoric rise of smart mobile technology presents dozens of opportunities to online business owners – so much so it is becoming almost unthinkable for companies not to have an app.

But with over 2.5 million apps in circulation, the competition is fierce and is not going to be a digital marketing solution for all-comers.

It is thought that on average, mobile owners will download 26 apps, most of which are free or included on their phone. We should probably quarter this number in terms of apps mobile users will purchase even for a small price.

Before you consider designing an app for your business therefore, not only do you have to consider whether an audience will be interested in what you lay on the table, but whether you will charge a purchase fee or offer it for nothing.

Why do people use apps?

The principle reasons for downloading apps are to access discount coupons, solve problems, better web experience on mobile devices, boost productivity, or entertainment – usually video games.

The gives companies a starting point, and it depends on the nature of your business which type of app, or apps best suit your business. If any at all, of course.

You also need to consider whether an app is an upgrade on the user-experience you already provide for your customers, and whether mobile users will get any benefit from downloading an app.

According to localytics, 20 per cent of apps downloaded are used on just one occasion. If users do not find your app of any use, you could be damaging your brand reputation and turning customers away rather than bringing them in.

What are the benefits of apps?

Apps do however, have more positives than negatives, which is why the trend is rallying at such a rapid rate. The main benefits are:

  • Gives customers instant access to your site instantly rather than typing your address into the web browser and waiting for your site to load
  • Increase customer engagement and improves customer loyalty
  • Reduce time and cost of contacting through SMS or calling
  • Constant reminder of your business

With the increasing number of people owning and relying on mobile devices to browse the web, businesses have a prime opportunity to connect with customers and develop a special relationship with them.

Apps are a huge steps towards achieving that goal in the virtual world, which can sometimes feel detached. If your customers need an app, they will use it. But don’t build an app just for the sake of it.