Why are Mobile Apps Essential for Small Businesses in 2024?

How many apps do you have on your phone screen? Over the last 15 years, they've evolved from gimmicky innovations to an important part of our daily routine. We make appointments, book tables, order food and buy clothes using mobile apps. Everything you need is at your fingertips. Literally. Even closer than a laptop.

In 2024 developing a mobile app isn’t just accessible to the big guys like Amazon or Uber, more and more small businesses are launching their own mobile apps. Even those who already have websites. Why? Let’s dive into small business mobile app development.

Reading time: 9 minutes

Table of contents

Key takeaways

  • Mobile app development is a sound investment for small businesses. The stats show that more than half of all Internet traffic is mobile and 88% of users prefer mobile apps over a browser. 
  • If you want to try out a mobile app for your business at a lower cost, start with MVP. It’s a win-win strategy that either successfully drives revenue or saves you money in the long run. 
  • Analyze the businesses needs and set clear goals, so you can also choose the right technology before developing the app for a small business.
  • It’s worth investing in developing a mobile app with a team of professionals. They’ll develop a design concept and include all the necessary features.

A quick look at mobile marketing stats

Desktop vs Mobile Usage Worldwide 2013 — 2023. The graph shows the increase in mobile usage.

Mobile usage is increasing according to the latest stats

According to the latest Statcounter research a little over 55% of Internet visitors use mobile phones. Though ten years ago their number was below 15%. In contrast, the percentage of desktop users has fallen from 80% to 42%.

The actual figures aren’t as important as the trend here. Users are becoming more committed to smartphones while desktop devices are losing popularity. 

Business owners must adjust to a brave new world of mobile marketing, apps provide huge opportunities for small businesses to flourish.

Still, there’s one more important question. Why do small businesses need to develop mobile apps if they already have a mobile website? The answer becomes obvious if we look at eMarketer research. On average US adults spend more than 4 hours using mobile internet on their mobile devices. According to statistics, 88% of that time they spend on apps, which is 7x more than the usage of mobile browsers. Summing up:

Consumers prefer mobile apps as a fast and easy way to get services and goods. The latest stats prove it.
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Which technology is the best for mobile app development

There are different approaches to developing a mobile app:

  • Native mobile development. The proper choice if you’re planning to build an application with unique, advanced features. Keep in mind, a native app demands more financial investments and time than a cross-platform app or PWA. 
  • Cross-platform mobile development. The best option if you need to create an app that works both on IOS and Android in a short time. Here’s a huge bonus for a small business: creating a cross-platform app is 30% cheaper than developing a native app.
  • PWA (Progressive Web Application). This approach combines the advantages of both native and web apps. On the one hand, a PWA is available on a phone screen and loads in a few seconds. On the other hand, smartphone users can easily find the app on Google and share the link.
See also  How to Make a Progressive Web App

These days, developing an app costs less than a grande cappuccino at Starbucks. Well, not far off. Creating an app involves a whole team of professionals and demands a lot of work. Just like a Starbucks coffee but a bit more (joking).

Yet, there’s a way to try out developing a mobile app for your business at a lower cost. For example, our customers often start with an MVP (Minimum Viable Product). This way we create an app with some basic but sufficient features. This is enough to see if it is useful for the business or not. Usually, it’s a win-win strategy: either it comes off and you get the money back through the boosted revenue or get a clearer idea of the business needs and how to improve the marketing strategy. With the latter, you can easily save more money than you’ve spent.

People are using the same app both on iOS and Android.

Cross-platform mobile apps engage a lot of users

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Benefits of mobile app development for a small business

Now that we know more about the power of mobile marketing and technologies, let’s go over the details. There are at least nine key benefits of mobile apps for small businesses:

1️⃣Boosting sales and revenues. With a mobile app, customers spend less time and effort making a buying decision. Just a few clicks to order pizza or even an expensive gadget. For example, delivery details can be filled automatically when using Apple Pay. 

2️⃣Customer engagement. In a mobile app, you can provide exclusive deals or a loyalty system for those who download it. These marketing techniques can turn first-time customers into regulars. 

3️⃣An up-to-date way of communicating with customers. The pandemic showed us that a lot of things can be done via apps and way much quicker than before. The COVID times are over but people’s laziness love for managing everything online is timeless. Small business owners can utilize this to always stay in touch with clients.

4️⃣Higher conversion rates. Using a mobile app, clients skip several unnecessary steps. For example, no need to open a web browser, search for the website and navigate through it. Push notifications with special offers and integrated payment options also do their job to help conversion. 

5️⃣Additional stream of income. When your app gains popularity and consumers wonder how they lived without it, it’s time to monetize it. For example, you can place some ads there. Just don’t promote the rivals if possible.

6️⃣Promotion and brand recognition. Imagine that people casually see your advertisement for 30 minutes every day. It would be great, wouldn’t it? The icon of your mobile app on the users’ phone screens does exactly that. It’s not even only the direct users who see it. Sure, looking at others’ phones is bad, but nobody is completely innocent. 

7️⃣Reaching a new set of customers. Launching the app is increasingly becoming the first contact with a brand. It’s easy and requires nothing of a consumer, while giving the opportunity to learn more about the company, its service options or products. All you need is good online advertising or positive word-of-mouth.

8️⃣Advantage over competitors. Most consumers are more likely to choose the service with a convenient and nice-looking mobile app. That’s why businesses that don’t have mobile apps lose clients.

9️⃣Reasonable cost for mobile marketing. Usually, mobile marketing advertising is more affordable and profitable than traditional methods, as well as allowing businesses to target specific groups of people. It’s possible because you take into account users’ behavior, preferences, age, and location.

All in all, the benefits are clear and the result is easy to evaluate using app analytics. Mobile apps are a good investment for small business owners. The best way to find out is by consulting with professionals and seeing how it will work for your business, for free. 

Examples of mobile apps.

Mobile apps are useful for restaurants, fitness clubs, private clinics, etc

Wait a sec! Have you considered these factors

Creating an app seems like a good idea for your business, doesn’t it? Before jumping to conclusions, let’s look at the three factors that strongly affect small business app development.

Understanding the business needs

Before diving into app development, you should fully understand the business needs and how a mobile app can fulfill them. Developing a mobile app can improve customer service, increase sales, or enhance brand visibility. 

💅🏻Let’s imagine that Jane owns a beauty salon. It’s quite popular with lots of clients coming at peak times. This leads to long waits, fuss and unhappy customers. To fix this, Jane created a mobile app with the help of an app development company. So a customer can book an appointment ahead of time and choose their favorite stylist just by using a mobile device. This app makes the salon run smoother, forecast better for busy days and staffing, plus the customers don’t wait too long.

Setting clear goals and objectives

It’s very important to set clear goals for the mobile app in order to make it successful. These goals should be specific and measurable. Examples of such goals can be getting more customers engaged or higher sales online. It will help track how the app’s affecting the business.

🍕What if Jane owns not only a beauty salon but a small restaurant as well, she wants customers to keep coming back. Jane has set a specific goal to increase the number of return visits by 20% in the next six months. To achieve it Jane creates a mobile app with a loyalty program, where customers earn points for each visit and get special discounts and offers. The main purpose of the app is to reward customers and make them come back to the restaurant again and again.

Choice of platform and technology

Business owners should choose how they want to make their app. It can be a native app, a Progressive Web Application, or a cross-platform app, the choice depends on your budget, customers’ preferences and the goal of the app.

🦷Jane’s husband owns a dental clinic. He wants to create a mobile app for patients to make appointments easily, get dental care tips and reminders in the app. Since the patients use both Android and iOS devices, the owner decides to make a cross-platform app for his small business. This way any patient can use the app, regardless of which type of phone they have.

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Key features to make consumers happy

These are some features that customers like:

Push notifications

They keep customers engaged and alert them to special offers, promotions and updates. Customers get helpful and personalized information, but “with great power comes great responsibility”, notifications shouldn’t bother users too much.

Geolocation and map integration

An app with such a feature can use your location to help you find what you need easily. For example, restaurants can easily be found on the map within the app. This feature can also provide a user with special deals or services based on where they are.

See also  How to create a location-based app: a step-by-step guide by Purrweb

Mobile payments

This feature allows a user to make purchases with a few taps on their devices. It provides a secure and seamless checkout process, plus saves the time and hassle of entering payment details constantly.

One-touch contact

Users can quickly get in touch with you using the app, with just one button to call or email the manager. This way, it’s easy to ask questions or get help without searching for their contact info and anything can be solved in a short time, so the reputation of a company remains excellent.

Social integration

Let users share their experiences or reviews on social media, which helps the business get more attention and reach more people through social media channels. 

Maybe there are some special things that you personally like using in apps? Consider examples from your own experience and put forward these ideas.

See also  Two techniques that will help you pick MVP features

7 steps to launch a mobile app for a small business

There are several ways to develop small business mobile apps. You can try low-code development using an app builder, hire your own team of mobile app developers, or outsource the software development to a professional team. From our experience, developing an MVP with the help of a professional team works best. There are 7 steps that usually lead our customers to success:

  1. Find a team of developers. Have a look at the team’s previous projects, paying special attention to the mobile apps. Check their experience in mobile app development for startups. Make sure they provide you with a full-cycle service.
  2. Clearly outline the purpose of your mobile app. Define the idea of your app and which objectives it meets. Identify the specific features and functionalities you want to include, it will help to form the concept of the app and estimate the project.
  3. Design the app. Rely on professional designers. Discuss the concept and correct it if necessary. Pay attention to future users’ comfort and satisfaction.
  4. Develop the app. Take the advantages of React Native and get the two versions (for iOS and Android) of your app at once, saving you money. 
  5. Test the app. Take your time and let the team refine all the bugs that may appear after releasing the app. It would be better if your developers find the bugs, and not your customers, right?
  6. Release the app. Let users explore the app and use your service without even leaving their beds. You can do it through a developer account in the App Store (by Apple) or in the Play Store (by Google).
  7. Maintain and update the app. Gather the feedback and make your app even better. Introduce some new features to boost sales and increase customers’ loyalty.

If you don’t have your own team of developers, we’re ready to help. We can combine your business skills with our technical expertise and 9-year experience in developing apps and websites. Fill in the form below and we will contact you to get more details about the project.

Tips for successful mobile app development for small businesses

Fortunately, a lot of business owners have already been down this road and you can learn from their mistakes. Just follow this advice:

Do your research

Before making your app, explore your target audience and competitors. Understand what features your potential customers would value the most. Identify any gaps in the market and fill them with your app. Maybe you could utilize a customer support team, with a live support chat to weed out the possible issues more effectively?

Keep your app simple

Focus on the most important things your customers need. An intuitive design makes it easier for customers to engage with your app. A simple and easy-to-use app is enough to satisfy your customers.

Utilize professional help

Mobile app development is a complex thing, you don;t have to do it by yourself. With the help of app development companies, you’ll get the job done faster and with better results. 

Test thoroughly before launch

Testing the app is like trying on a new suit to make sure it fits comfortably. After testing the app it’s possible to tweak any issues before people use it. This way a happy user will come back to your app again and again.

Don’t save on quality

If the app is made quickly without paying attention to quality, it might not work really well and people won’t like using it. If the app is developed with attention to detail, it will work smoothly and improve the business reputation. Customer satisfaction is more important than a short-term economy.

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  • Is it worth building a mobile app for your business?

    Small business app development is a worthwhile step to take. It can boost your revenue, improve customer engagement, increase conversions and give you a huge advantage over competitors.

  • How do I create a mobile app for my small business?

    You can use low-code platforms, hire your own mobile app developers, or outsource the development to a professional team. From our experience, starting with an MVP with the help of a mobile app development company works best.

  • How much does it cost to create an app for a small business?

    Creating an app for a small business isn’t a cheap thing. Generally, prices start around $40,000 and this depends on the complexity and functionality of your app. Yet it is a worthwhile investment, as a mobile app either brings in more revenue or provides you with important insights on the marketing strategy. Once you are ready to level up your business with a mobile app, contact us. Just click the button and request a quote.