There are apps for everything, from picking up your dry cleaning to ordering groceries to following the latest news and updates. As a small business, you may be tempted to get into the app business. But before you leap, you need to look at how it will impact your business and whether it is necessary – will it be worth the amount that you invest in building your app? Follow this checklist before building your app to find out if you need one for your business.
- Define your objectives: As with any successful business venture, you need to know what you would like to achieve, before you put money behind it. Take some time to try and figure out what you want your app to do and how it will make a difference to users and customers.
- Do competitor research: Competitors may be anxious to jump on the app bandwagon. Before you do so as well, check out their apps. See what they are offering customers and what your business can offer as a differentiator.
- Learn about the technology: Before you get into the process of talking to an app developer, you will need to understand the technology that goes into building an app. While this may be superficial in terms of the actual building process, it will help you know what technology can offer and what the advantages different types of technology can deliver.
- Pick a platform: The three most popular mobile platform are Android, iOS and Windows. In India, close to 70% of users are on the Android platform but you might notice that many of your customers use iPhones. Send your customers a questionnaire and find out more about their mobile habits when selecting a platform.
- Decide the Functionality: The questions are simple- what will your app do? What would you like it to do? These two factors will be key to determine your app’s user experience and the features you would like the developer to build.
- How will it be different from your website?: Having an app doesn’t mean saying goodbye to your mobile website. It is important that you offer customers the option of certain functions on both your website and your app. After you decide on the app’s features, place it in a side by side comparison with your website and try and explore how you can deliver a better experience if you build an app.
- Get an estimate: Building an app can be an expensive proposition for a small business. Therefore, after you answer the above two questions, you can approach a couple of developers to get an estimate. The estimate vs. projected value it will add to your business will enable you to make the right decision on whether to build an app.
- How often will you update? An app that is static in its updates will not have a long shelf life and will end up being uninstalled fairly quickly. Before you embark on app creation, you need to create a process that will let you know how you can keep improving user experiences and offer more features in the coming months and years.
Follow this checklist and you will be in a prime position to figure out if you need an app for your business and how it will improve customer experience.