Busting the App Myth

What comes to mind when you hear the word “app”? Do you think of a game? Something you can’t live without? Or simply a cool gadget on your phone?

Small business owners often shut down when they hear the word “app” being pitched. They, understandably, think there is no money or time to invest in an app ⎼ especially if they don’t even have any other online presence set up yet. Small businesses might see apps as just a gimmicky addition to their marketing portfolio.

But here’s the thing: an app might actually be the one thing that can help the business significantly grow. Why? Because an app is not just a mobile application; an app is a complete mobile marketing solution. If it is executed correctly, a small business will see a significant increase in revenue and customer engagement.

Ultimately, this tool won’t be an extra expense, it will save the business a lot of money. How? An app, or mobile solution, can rethink a small business’ social presence, local presence and mobile presence, as well as turn its best customers into marketers.

 

Busting The Myth

We have labeled it “ReThink”. More specifically, the Rethink Strategy redefines the way you think about customer experience, customer loyalty, customer advocacy and company ranking. This strategy will also allow small business owners to understand the benefits of a mobile solution.

 

Rethink Experience:



The first step of the Rethink Strategy is to analyze which experiences would be better facilitated through a mobile solution. In other words, how can the customer experience be improved at a particular business?
Traditionally, companies have emphasized “touchpoints”, referring to the critical moments when customers interact with a brand during their purchasing process. However, a shift is taking place as successful companies focus on the customer journey in its entirety. According to Harvard Business Review’s research, “organizations able to skillfully manage the entire experience reap enormous rewards: enhanced customer satisfaction, reduced churn, increased revenue, and greater employee satisfaction”.

A mobile solution allows any business to move away from mere touch points and start addressing this customer journey as a whole. For instance, a local restaurant might implement mobile food ordering. Customers now have the option to place an order with the tap of a button through an app. This translates into not having to wait in line, not having to make a phone call, and not needing to go through the hassle of paying at the establishment. As a result, the patrons are provided with a more pleasurable and convenient experience at the restaurant. So, instead of merely improving the “sales touchpoint” at the cash register, the small business is able to improve the entire encounter starting with the purchase process.

 

Rethink Loyalty:

An improved customer experience, then, builds loyalty. The better the experience at the establishment, the more likely people are to return. And the way a small business deals with loyalty can also be rethought with a mobile solution.

Every business, whether a mom-and-pop shop or a global company, relies on loyal customers for success. Loyal customers account for 20% of a company’s customers. While that might not seem impressive at first glance, that 20% drives 80% of a business’s total revenue and 72% of total visits to the establishment. This data clearly shows that it is more profitable for businesses to go after customer retention than customer acquisition – however, many do the exact opposite. In fact, it costs 500% more to acquire new customers than it does to keep current ones.

The best way to drive customer retention? A loyalty program. What’s more, 87% of shoppers say they want loyalty programs and 68% of millennials say they won’t be loyal to a brand if it doesn’t have a good loyalty program. Besides the high demand for it, loyalty programs can be extremely beneficial to the company’s bottom line. Loyalty programs increase overall revenue by 5-10%, with loyal members spending more money and buying more frequently than non-members. A mobile solution, then, allows a small business to focus on what is most important and beneficial to their growth.

For example, a salon can implement a mobile stamp card, rewarding customers with a free haircut when it’s complete. For the customer, this means no longer losing a physical punch card and carrying around 20 different rewards cards. Customers now feel that every purchase they make amounts to something bigger. This, again, contributes to a positive customer journey. As a result, rethinking (or implementing) the mobile loyalty strategy can increase repeat business.

Rethink Advocacy:



Now that a loyal following has been built, a small business should empower their customers to spread the word. Through an app, customers can easily be prompted to share their opinion on social media, produce online reviews or send a referral.

We all know that people love to talk about things they love (and hate). So if they are a loyal and happy customer, it is important to make it as easy as possible for them to share their thoughts with others. Think of traditional word-of-mouth, as a happy customers tells two people about their experience, and those two people each tell another two people. According to Entrepreneur, word-of-mouth is triggered when a customer experiences something far beyond what was expected. A mobile solution can help in doing so – by rethinking experience (as was mentioned above). In addition, Nielsen states that 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising – 10 times more effective to be exact. Word-Of-Mouth Marketing, then, is the most powerful form of advertising a small business can have, as each happy customer can steer dozens of new ones their way.

A gym might send out a push notification to its members, for example, asking them to rate the establishment. Members who frequently go to that gym will be encouraged to leave a positive review or share on social media. Now potential customers will come across these reviews when researching gyms online, making a strong case for the small business.

Rethink Reach:

This stronger online presence will lead to the final stage of the ReThink Strategy, namely Reach. More reviews allow you to rank higher on directory websites like Google, Yelp, TripAdvisor and Zomato, making sure local businesses are found.

Reviews have a direct impact on local search rankings, so small business should make acquiring them a priority. Businesses who want to appear in Google’s local 3-pack need to have a high volume of good reviews. A better online ranking will increase exposure and bring in new customers who, in turn, can become advocates for the business.

Imagine you are in the mood for an acai bowl (we love those here in Corona), but you don’t know where to get one. You’ll most likely conduct an online search, perhaps by typing in “acai bowl in San Diego”. What will pop up are Google’s 3 local listings, showing the most popular places to get this snack. Below that will probably be the yelp list for “best acai bowls in Corona”. You will most likely eat an acai bowl at one of these places, not going beyond those search results. A mobile solution will help a small business rank for these desirable positions by acquiring an abundance of reviews.

Rethink Results:

This brings the Rethink Strategy full circle, with new customers coming through (online) word-of-mouth marketing and embarking on the ReThink journey themselves. Not only does each stage of the mobile model improve the experience, it ultimately grows the entire business:
• A 1-star increase on Yelp has been proven to translate to a 5-9% increase in revenue.
• A 5% increase in customer retention will increase profitability by 25%.
• Adopting a mobile solution can save a business an average cost of $5,000  annually.


Conclusion:

So, we definitely busted that myth! An app is not just an app. An app can be a mobile solution that redefines the entire customer journey and brings about significant growth. A mobile solution has real tangible results, often making them an integral part of the business.

The data suggests small businesses are building apps to increase sales (55%), improve customer experience (50%) and to become competitors in a specific market (50%). According to recent studies, nearly half of small businesses are expected to adopt a mobile app by 2017. The features that an app can have (e.g. mobile food ordering, reservations, loyalty programs) are more than add-ons, each of these are benefits of a complete mobile solution that can help a company save or make money. It’s time for local owners to welcome a mobile solution into their small business.

Your Turn: How has an app transformed your small businesses or the local businesses in your area? Share your experiences in the comments!

Brilliant School Apps Testimonials

Jeremy Goins, Principal of Eleanor Roosevelt High School, tells you how Brilliant School Apps puts his School into the palm of Students, Parents and Staff’s hand!

Catherine Wallace, Counselor at SHS, shares how Santiago High School’s Brilliant School App saves her Counseling Department time, Increases Engagement with the Students and their parents and Increases Communication when Moments Matter!

Michelle, Student App Team Leader at Riverside Poly High School, shares how Students love Brilliant School Apps, and the Brilliant App Academy.

Michael Gull, Assistant Principal at Riverside Poly High School endorses Brilliant School Apps which allows students access to activities, assignments and shares information with students in a fun and engaging way, interactive with social media!

A Parent in the Corona Norco Unifed School District shares how she loves Brilliant School Apps because she knows what her kids are doing, to check their grades, to see what the teachers are doing, she thinks its Brilliant!

How will Mobile Commerce increase your Holiday Sales?

mobile-marketplace Let’s talk mobile commerce. With the holiday season, now is the time to ensure that your business is ready for the potential profits that mobile commerce has to offer. If you don’t think you need to be ready to target that mobile audience, then here’s a quick history lesson that might broaden your horizons. In 2015, 60% of consumers used their smartphones to make holiday purchases. Without a mobile-optimized website or mobile app, you could severely miss out on reaching these mobile gift givers. To start, you need to make it simple for shoppers on a mobile device to make a purchase, or they are going to purchase from a competitor that offers a flawless mobile experience. Alternatively, having that mobile experience yourself offers a substantial advantage over your competition if they have not yet adopted an intuitive mobile strategy.

Mobile apps now account for more than 90% of time spent on mobile phones. So, if your business does not have an app, then it is missing out on arguably the best way to reach consumers in the digital age. Engaging target markets is hyper critical during the holiday season. If you can keep your brand and its products on the minds of customers, then they are almost guaranteed to give you some of their holiday business.

Here are some tips and strategies on how mobile apps can help you to prepare your business for the upcoming busy holiday e-commerce season.

Implement a Loyalty Program

Mobile customer loyalty programs offer exclusive deals and early bird specials to customers. By leveraging existing customer data, through survey tools or a data analytics solution, you can begin effectively targeting customers with the rewards and products they are personally interested in. Keep in mind, 80% of consumers openly admit that they will switch brands if offered the right incentive and 73% of holiday purchases are influenced by coupons, so you need a mobile app this holiday season simply to ensure that you are keeping your existing customers.

Reward programs also encourage return shoppers because more “points” means more rewards. Thus, this strategy will payoff even after the holiday rush is over. After all, it is easier to keep a customer than to find a new one, so reward your existing customers with a really great loyalty program.

Use Push Notifications
With a mobile app, you can include push notifications that let your customers know when you are offering special pricing or having an exclusive sale. Last holiday season, almost 75% of mobile commerce shoppers used some type of mobile coupon to make a purchase. So push notifications with coupons drive sales.
Only a small percentage of customers will open an email message and click on a link (about 5%) but between 30-60% of consumers will respond to and open a push notification that is included with an app. Push notifications are also a great way to keep your brand fresh in people’s minds, even if they haven’t opened your app in awhile.

Improve the Customer Service Experience
Mobile apps introduce a new touch point for customers to access your services and products. With 68% of US adults owning and using a smartphone and data usage increasing by 525% since 2010, apps are an increasingly important touch point in the mobile commerce customer experience. Mobile apps combined with commerce allows a customer to be able to contact and interact with your brand at any time of the day or night, without having to fire up their computer and visit the website.

Use it as a Marketing Tool
The mobile app can also be an invaluable marketing tool because it is easy to integrate it with social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook. Customers can share your app with a single tap and communicate the experience that they have had or are enjoying with your company, which provides you with free and valuable promotion.  Additionally, a mobile app is a great environment to notify users about new products to boost mobile commerce sales.

Access More Customers
Today’s mobile-obsessed consumer is constantly on the lookout for the next big thing. We like to be the first to know about something and we get excited when we think we have discovered a new app that is particularly amazing. Thus, when you manage to offer a mobile app experience that is engaging, useful and fun for the customer, they are more likely to refer it to friends and family members.

Level the Playing Field
Developing a mobile app is becoming more affordable for smaller and mid-sized businesses. If you are a small business and you want to compete in your specific market, you have to adapt to changes and have a strong presence on mobile devices. The amount of time that consumers spend on mobile has increased by 21% over the last year, so as an SMB, you have to be ready for what your consumers expect this holiday season. Those expectations include the ability to shop from their mobile devices.
Simply put, mobile technology helps small business owners to run their business more efficiently. More businesses are starting to implement internal apps which help their operations to run a lot more smoothly.

Make Mobile Commerce Payments Easy
Mobile apps can be customized by the user so that they can input their payment information. This makes the entire process of making a purchase much, much easier. 85% of consumers admit that the prefer shopping on a mobile app than a website. Much of the reasoning behind this preference is in app payment methods. Instead of having to get out their credit card or other payment information each time they wish to make a purchase, a customer can simply open up the app that has the information pre-loaded by them and make a purchase with just a few taps.

Generate More Revenue
Again, 60% of consumers used their smartphone for holiday shopping last year. That number is expected to be higher this year. Also, about 70% of mobile searches result in the consumer taking action, often in the form of a final purchasing decision, which is higher than the traditional online shopper using a computer. In other words, there is a lot of transactions occurring in the mobile environment and developing a mobile app gives you the opportunity to get a piece of that mobile commerce. It is also worth mention that your business can earn more money by allowing agencies to run advertisements on your app.

Keeps Your Business Relevant
Today’s consumer spends a lot of time on their phone. If your business offers a mobile app, then you are automatically afforded the chance to get a piece of that customer’s daily mobile time. Moreover, your app can be a lot more engaging than a website and the creation of an app will allow your small business to evolve with your customers, who are increasingly becoming more heavily reliant on their mobile devices.

Conclusion
If you want your business to be competitive during the busy holiday season, it is time to consider a mobile app for mobile commerce. There are many different ways to incorporate these apps and make them work for your business. You owe it to yourself to find out more about mobile development and how it can help your business. When you start to investigate the possibilities, you can begin to level the playing field with your competition in the upcoming busy holiday market. The possibilities are endless and our app development team can work with you so your business can profit from mobile commerce this holiday season.

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