When the App Store launched back in 2008, it was hard to imagine how quickly this market would progress or the direct impact it would have in the world of business. When it began to emerge, only 500 applications were in existence, however, as of June 2016, the App Store boasts almost 2 million apps that have been downloaded over 130 billion times.
In the last six years, the nature of the applications available has also changed considerably with the majority of contemporary tools now focused on productivity and functionality rather than recreation. Businesses of all sizes have realised the value of apps and have quickly understood how to monetise & utilise them as effective marketing channels. In a study conducted by Indiana and Murdoch University students, it was revealed that consumers feel much more engaged with a brand and far more likely to make a purchase after interacting via a mobile app. This suggests that marketers that develop or use third party applications effectively, could actively drive higher sales conversion rates and feel closer to their customers and their needs.
A key benefit of building your own mobile business app is that they help your company reach out to a wider, more global audience whilst being accessible 24 hours a day. Brands that are looking to create awareness, consideration, conversion and loyalty with their customers should consider building an app as an additional marketing tool as the B2C relationship is strengthened, allowing them to distribute product information more readily whilst inviting customer feedback and sometimes even participation of creation of products or services. Nevertheless, creating your own app is costly and requires a lot of initial investment so for small or medium sized businesses, it is probably better to look at white labelling opportunities with third party apps or identify the direct benefits of developing a mobile app and using this as a marketing tool first.
If you are thinking about building your own app or speaking to third party companies, then now is definitely the right time. The app economy was valued at more than £35 billion last year and is forecast to double by 2020 when downloads of mobile apps will have reached just under 250 billion. Whether you are looking to make life easier for your customers by building long-term business-to-consumer relationships and boost revenue or simply modernise and enhance your brand’s marketing strategy, apps are and will continue to be the way forward.