As more and more customers use mobile devices for shopping, many businesses are implementing their own mobile applications that allow for targeted marketing and improved customer interaction—in short, better engagement. Providing mobile capabilities is a smart move, and when executed well, it can have a positive impact on profits. Let's discuss how.
A drugstore’s digital leadership
If you’re looking for examples of companies that successfully use mobile apps to increase engagement, Walgreens may be your best bet. Walgreens illustrates how customers can easily access information, just by downloading an app. The app drives about 19.4% of the drugstore’s total digital traffic, with the remaining 49.3% coming from online searches. Consumers say they enjoy the app thanks to handy features like “Refill by Scan,” which allows customers to order prescription refills without picking up the phone or waiting at the counter. The highly customizable app enables users to search for coupons, save coupons, and receive alerts about sales. Customers can also earn rewards points by using the app’s fitness and health tracking features. Source: Walgreens App If you don’t have the budget to launch such a comprehensive app, that’s okay; this app has undergone much development and tweaking since it first debuted in 2008. You can start with something basic and implement additional features along the way. Unless you have the luxury of in-house designers and developers, it may be easier to outsource app development. An app requires extensive back-end work, as well as testing to ensure it’s free of errors.
Outsourcing mobile app development
With so many businesses lacking the IT team to perform various functions to keep the brand running and evolving, nearly 72% of companies worldwide have outsourced their IT needs. Source: Statista Outsourcing allows you to get the services that you lack when you need it the most. And while major corporations like Walgreens can afford to have an IT team create and continue developing a mobile app, that’s simply not realistic for smaller businesses. So, when it comes to outsourcing the creation of your mobile app, you’ll want to keep several things in mind:
Know what your requirements are, and don’t deviate from them
- Set your budget early
- Look for relevant experience
- Ask plenty of questions
- Request a full plan of action
- Communication is vital
1. Define your requirements & don’t deviate from them
When looking to outsource the development of your mobile app, you need to take the time to sit down and define your requirements. This will require knowing who your audience is, how they will use your app, what stand-out features you plan to offer, and more. The more you define your requirements, the easier it will be to find someone to develop the app you’ve always dreamed of. Sure, while there should always be a little wiggle room allowed in this process, you have to set some hard requirements that are considered non-negotiable. Make it clear to your team and whomever you decide to partner up within the creative process that these are your requirements and you will not deviate from them.
2. Set your budget
Your budget is everything. In most cases, businesses simply don’t have the funds to employ an IT team full-time. Let’s face it, your funds are limited, and that needs to be taken into consideration when outsourcing your mobile app development. Set a hard budget, and like your requirements, do not deviate from it. Remember, you don’t have to have the fanciest app right off the bat, as long as it’s providing your consumers with a service or benefit. Take a cue from Walgreens and start with something simple. As your budget grows, let your app grow along with it.
3. Look for someone with relevant experience
You want to hire someone or a team who knows what they are doing. During your search process, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and even request a full plan of action. The more information you can get from your prospects, the better.
4. Communication is vital
Finally, once you’ve settled on a partnership, make sure you keep your lines of communication open. While we said not to deviate from your requirements and budget, that doesn’t mean you have to be completely rigid every step of the way. Be willing to discuss your options with your new partner in an effort to create something successful.
Using apps to connect
Apps give you unprecedented access to your customers, but first, you have to convince them it’s worth their time to download and install it. If you can use an app to offer exclusive discounts, or as part of a loyalty program, customers will be more likely to download your app. Once users install your app, it’s harder for them to forget about you because they will see your app icon as they scroll through their mobile devices. If they don’t seem to be interacting with your app, you can use SMS notifications to increase engagement. A notification is like a succinct newsletter—it can tell customers about sales or special offers on the products they buy most often. Companies with brick-and-mortar locations can use geo-fencing and iBeacon technology to offer customers individualized in-store experiences.
While building something totally new may not seem necessary, a well-designed app can definitely give your businesses an edge over competitors. And your app doesn’t have to be complex; it should simply be well-designed and easy for your customers to use. Plus, apps aren’t exclusive to tech companies or corporations. Even small, local businesses can benefit from developing an app because they can help customers easily interact with their businesses, using something as convenient and accessible as a mobile device. As you look toward your future marketing plans, think about how apps can complement your other efforts. If you need guidance about your overall digital marketing strategy, request your demo from Delivra today.