Why does your busi­ness need a mo­bile app?

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE - By Mar­i­ana An­tonescu

To­day, the ma­jor­ity of the pop­u­la­tion owns a smart­phone. Smartphones have rev­o­lu­tionised al­most ev­ery as­pect of our daily lives in­clud­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion, in­for­ma­tion ac­cess and con­sumerism. Ac­cord­ing to a CNN Money re­port, app us­age makes up 47% of In­ter­net traf­fic.

If you think that mo­bile apps in Cyprus are solely for big names like The Mall of Cyprus you are wrong. More and more small and mid­size busi­nesses are fol­low­ing the mo­bile trend, un­der­stand­ing that an ef­fec­tive mo­bile strat­egy in­volves more than just a mo­bile­friendly web­site.

In fact, th­ese days you’ll no­tice that many small busi­nesses you in­ter­act with in your ev­ery­day life have their own ded­i­cated mo­bile app — be it the cor­ner cof­fee shop or the beauty spa down­town. Th­ese com­pa­nies un­der­stood that mo­bile tech­nol­ogy has changed how com­pa­nies reach cus­tomers and are ahead of the game when it comes to tak­ing their mar­ket­ing to the next level by us­ing apps as “ex­ten­sions” of their prod­ucts. So, what could an app do for your busi­ness? Im­prove Cus­tomer En­gage­ment. A cru­cial part of your busi­ness is main­tain­ing strong re­la­tion­ships with your clients. It can be dif­fi­cult to achieve in prac­tice, but you need to de­liver great ser­vice in or­der to keep and grow your cus­tomer base. This is where the mo­bile world can help you. A chat fea­ture in your mo­bile app di­rectly con­nects you to your clients, pro­vid­ing them with real-time cus­tomer ser­vice. Apps can also in­clude a fea­ture to book ap­point­ments and set re­minders. An­other im­por­tant as­pect of util­is­ing a mo­bile app is that you can col­lect valu­able in­for­ma­tion and feed­back about con­sumer be­hav­ior. By re­quest­ing a quick sur­vey or ask­ing cus­tomers to join your busi­ness’s mail­ing list, you can gain in­sight into cus­tomers’ lo­ca­tion, in­ter­ests and pref­er­ences. This feed­back can be cru­cial to con­tin­u­ally im­prov­ing your busi­ness.

Cre­ate a Di­rect Mar­ket­ing Chan­nel. One of the big­gest benefits of hav­ing a mo­bile app is that is help­ing busi­nesses in­crease rev­enue largely by in­creas­ing ef­fi­ciency. In­stead of ad­ver­tis­ing to a broad spec­trum, users can be nar­rowly tar­geted as apps can pro­vide news feeds, gen­eral in­for­ma­tion, search fea­tures, user ac­counts, prices, book­ing forms and much more. Through push no­ti­fi­ca­tions, busi­nesses are get­ting even closer to di­rect in­ter­ac­tion, and can eas­ily re­mind cus­tomers about their prod­ucts and ser­vices when­ever it makes sense. A na­tional chain could eas­ily send city- or re­gion-spe­cific no­ti­fi­ca­tions about spe­cial of­fers based on what users in that area are in­ter­ested in, a restau­rant could boost loy­alty by send­ing a spe­cial of­fer to cus­tomers who had been in the past year but not in the last two months, a store could an­nounce a sale on sun­glasses when it’s pre­dicted to be sunny soon.

Cus­tomer ser­vice and sup­port. Mak­ing it sim­pler and more ef­fi­cient for your cus­tomers to get in touch with your com­pany and of­fer­ing them tools to make their life eas­ier while us­ing your prod­ucts or ser­vices can be a great rea­son to de­velop a mo­bile app. Ryanair has launched an app that al­lows mem­bers to search cheap flights on their iPhone and get the low­est prices to hun­dreds of des­ti­na­tions within Europe, to add ser­vices to ex­ist­ing book­ing, check-in for flights and get a mo­bile board­ing pass di­rect to their mo­bile phone. This makes cus­tomers’ lives eas­ier and is a val­ueadded to their ex­ist­ing ser­vice.

Helps you stay vis­i­ble to your cus­tomers at all times. Once a cus­tomer down­loads your app, it will con­stantly ap­pear on their de­vice. This en­sures your brand’s visibility ev­ery time they look at their phone or tablet. For this rea­son, mo­bile apps should be fre­quently up­dated with in­for­ma­tion and up­dates. One way to make sure that loyal cus­tomers are re­ceiv­ing in­for­ma­tion about new prod­ucts, pro­mo­tions, or up­com­ing events is by en­abling push no­ti­fi­ca­tions. You can also in­clude mo­bile app ex­clu­sive dis­counts or spe­cials to make sure that cus­tomers check the app of­ten.

Cul­ti­vate Cus­tomer Loy­alty. With all the noise out there – ban­ners, flash­ing signs, bill­boards, news­pa­per ads, coupons, fly­ers, web­sites and web­site ban­ners – we slowly lose our im­pact on cus­tomers be­cause of the im­mense amount of ad­ver­tis­ing sur­round­ing us all. It’s time to go back to mak­ing a true and sin­cere con­nec­tion with your cus­tomers, and mak­ing them a loyal lover of your prod­uct and/or ser­vice. By per­son­al­is­ing your ser­vices you cre­ate a unique ex­pe­ri­ence for cus­tomers and keep them com­ing back. Like­wise by con­nect­ing mo­bile apps to so­cial me­dia, you can ob­tain cus­tomer feed­back through the app di­rectly to their so­cial me­dia chan­nels. Spe­cialised ser­vice and a fo­cus on what’s im­por­tant to in­di­vid­ual cus­tomers will set your busi­ness apart.

Con­vinced yet? I am, for sure! Apps give you the op­por­tu­nity to present your prod­ucts as so­lu­tions to your cus­tomers’ prob­lems and can be a valu­able tool in busi­ness ad­ver­tis­ing, but they must be han­dled prop­erly in or­der to suc­cess­fully pro­mote the com­pany.

Com­pe­ti­tion is fierce in the app arena, and suc­cess is determined by how you mar­ket your app. You must con­stantly pro­mote it on your web­site, on so­cial ac­counts, and prob­a­bly through ad­ver­tis­ing, too. You should also con­sider how the app will im­prove upon your ex­ist­ing web­site and ser­vices, how much it will cost and what the com­pe­ti­tion of­fers. If at the end of day you de­cide that your app re­ally will add some­thing in the way of func­tion­al­ity, nov­elty, and use­ful­ness, then by all means, app away.

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