As more people shift from browsing on their computers to using phones and tablets, many businesses have had to change how they operate online. Yes, you still need a website and to be on the right social media platforms, but if you are going to grow a loyal core audience for your products or services, you may also want to consider adopting an app to help increase sales, drive engagement, and provide useful tools to your customers. With the right tools, small business apps can be easily built and don’t require teams of experts. Here are a few ways that an app can help grow your business:
1. Selling on the store
Web stores are a vital part of most businesses, but once a customer has paid for a product, off they go, possibly never to return as they use a hundred other web pages. With an app-based store, customers can see the store on a daily basis and get new offers or product messages as part of the app’s push messaging feature to keep up-to-date.
If the store is the main part of your business, you can use product news, promotions, and events to keep bringing people back, as part of your regular customers’ digital day. Or, if your products make for irregular sales, you can send updates about valuable news or events to share based on seasonality or new bespoke items.
2. Social media integration
People often follow different types of businesses on various social media outlets. Using an app, you’re able to direct people to all your sources of information—images, videos, and more. Showing the highlights within the app can help make these links engaging and allow you to attract more attention, rather than just showing a fleet of blue icons that most people will ignore.
That said, your small business app should not live in isolation. You should still use your social media pages to help drive interest to the app and vice versa—with every point of interest, sale, or highlight made shareable to help the app and your business grow.
3. Navigation features
If you need to get people to where you are, or if your mobile business can go to them, using navigation features in your app makes it easier to show the world where you can reach. Location-awareness in an app will help customers see when they are near a store or a particular event. The app can send when-and-where daily offers for the latest deals and help nudge customers through the door.
4. Digital documents
One of the most popular features of a service app for businesses working with clients or other partners is the ability to scan documents like receipts, signed invoices etc. and send them for invoicing, record-keeping, and so on. Having an app that allows clients to upload files to your cloud storage or business servers with time-stamps or geo-tagging can provide an audit trail while speeding up processes and helping your clients save on postage.
5. Customer loyalty
Any business can benefit from a loyalty card or program. They can help boost store footfall or provide regular offers to keep customers visiting the online store in your app. As with any retailer or service provider, customers often respond positively to the benefits that discount offers and rewards provide.
Plan your loyalty schemes to keep trade coming in during slower times for the business, or use your program to jump on the latest trends and maximize sales during peak seasonal events.
6. Chatbots are on trend
Many businesses are starting to turn to chatbots as an alternative for reception or customer service. Whether answering simple questions about open hours, managing bookings, or dealing with complex issues where people might not know what they need, a chatbot can help provide a concierge or triage service that saves your receptionists a huge amount of time.
7. Process management and progress tools
Customers like to see how their job, deal, or process is going in many areas of business. Having an automated progress feature in your app will show people exactly where their project is, what steps have been completed, what needs to be done, and who they are waiting for.
8. Getting good reviews
Any growing business is in competition with many others across a finite pool of customers. You can utilize the app to make it easy for customers to post reviews on Yelp and other business review sites. All of which will help build up a valuable source of recommendations.
Reviews help show your business off at its best, and they can be used as part of social media posts or marketing messages. Few people will remember to go directly to the review site, so nudging them via your app can be a valuable addition.
Regardless of what features you add, an app can be vital for providing access to your business and its services. As a marketing tool, it can help save everyone time, create shareability, and secure vital home screen space to boost trade and interest for your small business.