At our recent Forum, Americaneagle.com Production Manager Wes McChristian and Senior Programmer Al Connelly gave a presentation on apps and what to consider when planning to create one. Here’s an overview of what they had to share on this topic.
Is an app right for my business?Today, there are so many apps to choose from that fulfill such a variety of purposes that the process of deciding whether an app might be right for your business can feel overwhelming. Apps today range from Pokemon Go to Google Maps, and everything in between. To decide whether an app would be right for you, you might start by considering the following:
- What purpose will it fulfill?
- How can it help with growth?
- What platform and users are we targeting?
iOS vs AndroidIf you decide an app is what your business needs, the next step is to discern whether you and your users favor iOS or Android devices.
Although iOS is driven by a single entity, they do have a good market share with 2 million apps listed in the app store, and the majority of tablets in North America are run on iOS. If you do decide to build your app on iOS, you’ll need a developer account, and Apple will be reviewing your functionality – plan for this!
Android surpasses the number of apps listed by iOS, and the majority of smartphones globally are Android. You may also want to bear in mind that there are many players involved in creating Android products, including Google, LG, Samsung, and HTC to name a few.
Measurable ObjectivesOne of the reasons to choose to create an app is if it supports measurable objectives for your business. This might be if the app will increase sales, improve customer experience, compete in a specified market, or reduce operational overhead.
Be IntentionalConsider yourself warned: virality does not come without effort!
Ask yourself: Do I know my audience? What value does your app bring to a user?
Consider how an app might enable the following:
- Customer Loyalty
- Social Networking
- Push Notifications
There are several risks to consider when deciding whether a mobile app is right for your business.
- A mobile site will often suffice - perfect this before moving into the app space
- Consider budget restrictions
- Apps come with inherently public feedback mechanisms
- Consider the possibility of unsustainable growth
- Platform choice
Capitalize on Industry and Technology TrendsYou might also want to consider how you could capitalize on industry and technology trends, and how these trends might complement the app you’re looking to create.
- EMV (chip card) shift is already happening
- More secure but slower
- Terminal upgrades will include contactless payments (Apple Pay and Android Pay)
- Slow EMV transactions will drive people to opt for contactless
- Ensure your website’s payment gateway can handle Apple Pay and Android Pay
- Honorable mention: cryptocurrency (Bitcoin / Dogecoin)
- Mobile point-of-sale (mPOS)
- Self-service kiosk
- Specialized handhelds
- Cloud printers
- Opt-in so people who sign up are engaged
- Web-enabled in all major browsers now
- Have been around for years but now easier than ever to integrate
- Add indexes for Siri and Google Now for mobile apps
- Add Open Graph meta data to your website content pages
- Make sure your business is kept up to date on social media, Google Maps and Apple Maps on a regular basis
- New beacon technology is emerging that enables beacons to connect people to webpages without an app
- Beacons are inexpensive
- Can be ruggedized for mounting outdoors
- Services like Phy.net allow for easy on-boarding, modifications of URLs, and can provide analytics for beacon use.
- Apple Watch
- Android Wear
- NFC-based access (smartcards, watches, wristbands)