Considering an app for your business? Read this first

Marilia Spindler, account manager at Blackpool-based Happy Creative looks at the pros and cons of having an app for your business or product.

Considering an app? Then consider this:

It’s common to see adverts nowadays that say: online – in store – mobile. More than ever, companies are trying their very best to make people’s experiences with their organisations seamless, regardless of which device they decide to use to connect with them. Keeping the customer engaged through different devices and making them have the same (hopefully great) experience each time they log on is paramount. So with that in mind, mobile apps have come to the forefront of marketing strategies.

But how do you go about building an app for your business?

Here are eight questions we recommend you ask yourself before launching your company into the ‘app world’:

1. Why are you doing this?

Your app needs to solve a problem for your customer. What is the problem? This is for you to decide. Can your main purpose fit on a post-it? What is your 15 second elevator pitch for it? In a nutshell, if you can’t get people excited when you talk about your app in person with them, it’ll be far more difficult to do so online.

2. Who will be using your app?

This is so important. You need to know your potential users inside out. What technologies do they use? What is their desired user experience? A market research project at this stage will go a long way and create the foundations you need to build your idea on.

3. Is it all that?

Ask yourself what is special about your app. How is it better to all the other apps out there? What in your app will make your customers give good word of mouth/online feedback to other potential users? Remember that less is more. A crowded app can sometimes be overwhelming. Keep it simple. Keep it to the point.

4. What did you say?

Ask people for feedback. This really is invaluable. There is no point getting all excited and deciding to build and app that will not serve a purpose (go back to point 1). The app is not for you. It’s for the world. Set it free and let the world help you with valuable opinions on your idea.

5. How are you going to do it?

This is the bit where you think about the functionality of it. What does what, what goes where, what it looks like. The designs of your app are extremely important. They have a crucial role in making the customer experience an enjoyable one (and pleasing on the eye too).

6. Do you need to do it all in one go?

Consider launching your app in stages. Start with a basic, simple one and start adding to it. This will mean you can enter the market quicker and at the same time offer your users access to new features as they get added on. This contributes for your organisation to stay top of mind.

7. Do I need to involve my IT team from the very beginning?

Yes, yes, yes. In order to be successful, you must consider how to architect data delivery and API management as well as security, scalability, content aggregation, device optimization, API translation, etc. Bring your IT team into the discussion before you get too far down the planning path.

8. Did we make it?

This final question is about how you are going to measure success. It is actually closely related to point number 1, the purpose of the app. So if you know what you were trying to achieve in the first place, you’ll know if you have made it or not.

We have gone full circle. Apps are not for every business. They can, however, be a hit and help enormously with your company’s growth. Just remember to consider the above before considering really going for it.