Many SMEs are unaware of the advantages that a mobile app can bring to their business. We make a brief review of its main use cases.
A few years ago, not as many as we could think, mobile applications were nothing more than a distant dream or an incipient promise.
However, today it is inconceivable to understand our current digital society without those small programs that provide real intelligence to our mobile phones and allow us to reserve a car with a driver to talk with our friends, perform banking operations or access our work tools remotely.
However, the adoption of mobile applications has not occurred homogeneously among the different strata of the business fabric.
While large corporations have dozens of different apps in iOS and Android stores, many SMEs still do not get on this promising car. Moreover, many of them have not yet adapted their websites to mobile devices (what is known as responsive design).
There are three main causes that explain the neglect of small and medium enterprises with respect to mobile apps. The first one is cultural: there is a lot of misinformation about what they are and what types of apps can be built according to what types of business.
The second responds to the cost: although its development is more or less simple, many agencies and small consultants have taken advantage of ignorance in this matter to inflate prices and ‘swindling’ many of these unsuspecting SMEs, as it happened – and it continues to happen- in the case of web design.
The last one is perhaps the most interesting: the use cases are not always clear, the advantages that an app can bring to a standard SME.
This article focuses on this last assumption: to demonstrate that, indistinctly of the business that is possessed, there is the possibility of obtaining a differential value through the adoption of mobile applications.
Here we propose only five of these benefits, as a sample of a much larger paradigm that can only be discovered with hands over the masses and with full knowledge of the operating model and the commercial proposal of each company.
If large stores compete head-on for making the biggest possible discount to their recurring customers, why cannot they do a small business?
The usual booklets of points or the simple memory of the store clerk can easily be replaced by mobile apps that, in addition, help us to take our latest offers to consumers who at that moment are not physically in the establishment or who even buy through our online store.
With a simple application, we can have the registration data of any of our consumers, sending personalized notifications according to your preferences and previous purchases. On a small scale, the intelligent analysis of all this information will help us to better know our customers, adapting our products and offers better to their needs. In short, to earn more money through the loyalty of our current user base.
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Sell through mobile
Why miss the opportunity to sell products to our customers, all over the planet, with the most simple and practical use experience possible? Any SME can follow the steps of the Amazon itself and create its mobile app that offers online store services.
It is a cheaper, faster and more attractive alternative for our consumers to access the catalog from their smartphones, with a higher conversion rate than an e-commerce portal, however well suited to the mobile phone.
Obviously, getting millions of people to download our app is going to be a titanic mission. Perhaps some choose to focus on their loyal clientele, simplifying the purchase process, and others opt for a more aggressive strategy, capturing downloads through digital advertising and other marketing campaigns.
Be that as it may, a land to exploit of the most interesting for the most humble businesses.
We anticipated it beforehand and we remark it now: the ‘push’ notifications (those that are shown on our mobile screen even though we are inside another app) are not only useful for us to know if they have written us a WhatsApp or who has tagged us in a photo on Facebook.
And it is that, used from a business point of view, these brief messages achieve a brutal impact on consumers, with precise and very direct texts, with which to communicate promotions and any new business.
But not only to sell more serve these messages: notifications are also an important complement to the shopping experience. For example, a restaurant can keep the client informed of the status of their order (received, in the kitchen, ready to pick up, etc.) so that the consumer has a sense of transparency and participation in the process that cannot be achieved in another way.
Less burden on ICT systems
The answer offered by a mobile app is much faster and easier (than no less secure) compared to an online store to use. This is not only a great advantage for the consumer, but also for the company.
And is that, unlike web portals, the apps usually store much of their data on the local device, which reduces the exchange of information with the company’s servers, allowing to reduce operating costs associated with ICT or increase the ability of customers accessing our catalog simultaneously without increasing our data center.
Can a used store offer 24/7 support throughout the week? The quick answer is NO. However, thanks to the apps and the integration of simple chatbots, we can achieve this goal and stand up to the extensive and ambitious customer services of the big brands.
In addition, the management of certain procedures (such as returns or complaints) can be processed directly using automated forms, saving us time and money in their management while offering a more instant response to the consumer.