While it might seem like every small business has an app now, in reality they don’t – yet. But they are working on it, and more small businesses have apps every day. Still, there is plenty of opportunity for small businesses to use apps to increase their bottom lines. It’s almost like a turf war: whoever stakes their claim first is going to have an advantage over those who wait.
Small business apps should make it easy for both current and prospective customers to do business with you. For example, if a harried executive realises that he forgot his anniversary, wouldn’t it be nice if he could tap his phone a couple of times and have a bouquet of roses ready to be picked up for his wife on the way home? Restaurants in particular can prosper with an app that allows customers to order with a few touches on their smartphone.
One great way to make an app sizzle for any small business is to give regular users access to specials and deals that aren’t offered to the public. Giving loyalty points to customers as an incentive every time they use the app can be extremely effective.
Apps that solve problems for users can help any business. This can be as simple as map and directions, an FAQ section, or an in-app messaging service where a staff member will answer questions for the user by text or with a phone call.
It is also wise to encourage community input. Reviews, a message board, or even something as simple as a “thank you” wall can help foster a sense of community among your customers, and make them feel like they are a part of the operation. Speaking of sharing, it is helpful to build voluntary interaction with Facebook or Twitter into the app. Positive sharing through social media is always helpful at building the brand of any business.
The best advice, though, is to make an app that you can be proud of. Make an app that solves problems for your customers and solves them better than your competitors do. Of course, always make sure that the solution leads directly to your business and not someone else’s.
Ultimately, a small business app is as good as the business behind it and the problems it solves for their customers.