Mobilize Your Business with Mobile Apps! Pt.3

WorldLink’s VP of Mobile Technology, Mike Hall, spoke at a recent Verizon Mobility conference on the topic of Mobilizing Your Business with Mobile Apps. Over the last few weeks we’ve looked at some key points from that discussion including market statistics, native mobile apps versus mobile web sites, business cases, and small business trends.

In the final installment of Mobilize Your Business with Mobile Apps I thought I would keep it light and offer up some good old fashion advice.


Mobile Apps

In this exploding mobile market there is a slew of useful and certainly non-useful mobile apps available for download. When it comes to your brand it’s crucial to develop an app that is beneficial to your consumers. So many businesses get caught up in the idea of an app that they forget to actually pay attention to the needs of their customers while creating it. The app represents your company, make it count!

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when developing your mobile app:

  • Don’t just summarize your web site
  • Solve a problem, make something easier
  • Reward for use!
  • Use location-based discounts
  • Always provide guidance to your store
  • Payment screens catered to the device
  • Include access to your Facebook and Twitter
  • Tell your friends about your app!

Mobile Vendors

*Disclaimer: WorldLink Apps is a mobile app development company.

The app market is still considered a fairly new industry, and with that you have a lot of people trying to capitalize on the new, hot trend. One of the biggest mistakes we’ve heard from our customers is hiring the cheapest developer you can find. Do your research and make sure you are completely comfortable with the company’s capabilities before you sign that contract.

Here are some tips:

  • Find a mobile vendor who has proven multi-platform experience
  • Find a vendor who has their lead technical engineers here in the US
    • For close communication
    • For project risk reduction
  • Don’t just focus on price
    • Phase the quantity to keep costs down
    • You can always find a cheaper bid
    • BUT, you will get what you pay for!
  • Think long-term mobile strategy partnership!

Conclusion

The numbers don’t lie your customer base is mobile, and if they’re not, they will be very soon. It’s not too late to determine your mobile strategy with a proven vendor. There are no signs of the industry slowing down anytime soon, so don’t think you’re too late. Plan your mobile strategy today!


Recap:

Mobilize Your Business with Mobile Apps! Pt.1
Mobile Your Business with Mobile Apps! Pt.2

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Mobilize Your Business with Mobile Apps! Pt. 2

Last week we posed the question, “Does your business need a mobile app?” In part two of Mobile Your Business with Mobile Apps we continue the conversation with some solid facts and a look into how big brands are capitalizing on the recent app craze.

Mobile apps are not just for games and social networking. Consumers are surfing, shopping, and searching for your brand via the mobile web. If you’re not mobile ready then you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to reach your customers where they are the most, their Smartphone device.

If you’re still asking yourself, “does my business need a mobile app” then take a look at some of these stats, trends, and examples of how utilizing mobile apps can increase revenue and branding initiatives for your organization.

Small Business & Consumer Stats

Businesses in every industry are realizing that mobile applications are not just a phase but a necessity when it comes to reaching your consumers. Smartphone users are spending 74 minutes a day surfing the mobile web, and 81 minutes a day using mobile apps. (1) If your business isn’t taking note of this upward mobile trend, you’ll be left behind.

Here are a few more stats on how small businesses are embracing apps:

  • 72% use some form of mobile apps for daily operations
  • 38% view mobile apps as an essential part of their business strategy
  • 49% use mapping and GPS tools
  • 24% use location-based services
  • 20% use mobile credit card payment services (2)

Consumer Trends

  • Globally, consumers are expected to spend $119 billion by 2015 through their mobile phones
  • Accounting for about 8% of all e-commerce activity
  • Steady trend upwards
  • Increasing smartphone penetration
  • Faster mobile broadband speeds
  • Increased user comfort (3)

Since the launch of the Apple App store in July 2008 the app market has continued to accelerate at a rapid pace. All of the business and consumer trends showcase a continued expansion of mobile business opportunities for small and large companies alike!


Maximizing Your App Potential

Larger brands are embracing mobile technology and are seeing huge results in return. You don’t have to be a mega brand to make an impact on your consumers while increasing your bottom line. Start with a vision and a goal for how you can reach your customers. Do you know what they want? Are you listening?

Check out a few examples of how the following brands are maximizing their mobile potential, and in the end, reaching their customers on a whole new level.


Pizza Hut

“It’s no longer going to be a cool thing to have a mobile app. It’s going to be a customer expectation.” – Baron Concors, Pizza Hut CIO

Pizza Hut’s mobile app makes building your dinner fun and interactive. The intuitive user interface lets you build a pizza from the crust up, order some wings, pasta, or whatever else your palate is craving, then submit your order for pickup or delivery.

The Results:

  • Over 2M downloads
  • Within 3 months, Pizza Hut app revenue was $1M
  • Within 12 months, app revenue was $7M (4)

Expedia TripAssist

Expedia’s goals for their TripAssist application was to provide a mobile marketing solution, implement real-time brand awareness, while maintaining their competitive advantage.

TripAssist is available on the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile with the following features:

  • Research flights, hotels, destinations
  • Manage/update itineraries
  • Notifications, flight alerts
  • Handle travel while mobile
  • Make purchases

The results:

  • Over 55,000 trips booked in first year (2009)
  • More than doubled in 2010

Amazon

“Over time, tablet computers could become a meaningful additional driver for our business.” −Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO

Amazon has changed the way consumers shop online, so why wouldn’t they look to dominate the mobile space. With Amazon’s free mobile app you can browse products, compare multiple items, read customer reviews, and purchase directly from your phone.

The Results:

  • Substantial growth in purchasing while mobile
  • More than $1B sales per year from mobile
  • Kindle books now outsell hard cover books
    • 1.43 to 1.00 (5)

eBay

eBay was forced to re-evaluate their business model after Amazon took over the online shopping throne. But now, with investments in mobile and local technologies, eBay is beefing up their mobile presence and learning that adaptation is crucial in this fast growing tech market.

The Results:

  • Over 45 million downloads
  • Users can buy, sell, and check eBay prices via bar codes
  • $2B in mobile transactions in 2010
    • Continuous, significant mobile growth (6)

Businesses in every industry can take notes from the aforementioned companies and apply many of the same concepts and ideas to their own mobile strategy. The number one and most important fact is…your customers are mobile.

Many companies shy away from mobile technology because they are afraid of the unknown. The statistics are available and there are many companies out there that can assist in developing your mobile strategy. So do your research, make a plan, and take your company mobile!

 top image courtesy of Flickr, blakespot
 
Resources:
1) Mashable
2) Information Week, March 2011, 2246 small business owners
3) ABI Research
4) Dallas Business Journal, August 2010
5) Amazon Press Release
6) eBay 2010 earnings report

Continue Reading Mobilize Your Business with Mobile Apps! Pt. 3

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Mobilize Your Business with Mobile Apps! Pt. 1

It’s hard to believe it’s been 4 years since Apple transformed the mobile industry with the release of the iPhone. Since then we’ve seen unbelievable changes in mobile technology, specifically in the area of mobile apps.

In response to the Smartphone craze businesses in every industry are asking themselves, does my business need a mobile app?

WorldLink’s VP of Mobile Technology, Mike Hall, recently spoke at a Verizon Mobility conference on this very topic. Here are some of the key takeaways from that discussion.


The App Option (Market Stats)

Mashable recently posed the same question and posted the following Infographic, created by BuySellAds, in response. I think this is the perfect statistical representation of “The App Option” for business owners and a great way to get the conversation started.


Advantages of a Mobile App

Once you’ve decided that your company needs a presence in the mobile space, you might be asking yourself another question? Mobile app or mobile website? Here are some key things to consider.

A native app running on your Smartphone is optimized specifically for the device’s operating system and firmware. Because of this the native application can take advantage of specific features that enhance the user experience. Here are some examples of those features:

Faster response times, animation, and similarities with other Smartphone functions are just a few reasons that make a native application the best choice for an optimum user experience.


Advantages of a Mobile Web Site

Native applications are typically more expensive to develop then a mobile web site. But before you make a decision based strictly on cost you should evaluate your internal goals for developing an application and the needs of your customers. You might come to the realization that a mobile website is all you need. Here are some advantages of a mobile site:

  • App runs on a web server
  • Typically used when Smartphone hardware is not really needed
  • Main advantage: reduced costs
  • Displays are optimized for mobile browsers

Probably the biggest advantage of a mobile site is the convenience of display across multiple different Smartphone platforms. Multi-platform development can be very costly but you omit the risk of missing customers with different devices if a multi-platform strategy is not in place.

The following factors can result in a better experience for the user:

  • Content fit to screen sizes
  • Uncluttered/filtered content
  • Organized navigation
  • Reduced pan & zoom
  • Reduced page load time

Things To Consider

When thinking about your mobile strategy keep these things in mind:

  • Are you losing revenue by not having a mobile presence?
  • Do your competitors have a mobile app and/or mobile website?
  • Is your target demographic going mobile?
  • Creating a mobile presence can open up a new marketing channel and help drive revenue
  • Is there an internal need in your company for efficiency/optimization?

Before you make the leap you must have a strategy and know your customers. It may not make sense to develop a mobile app, but your customers are definitely going mobile. The mobile web is growing at an impressive rate and you don’t want to find yourself in the dust of your competitors.

Continue Reading Mobilize Your Business with Mobile Apps! Pt. 2

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