Developing an app might seem outside the scope of your business but there are great reasons for doing so. So, whether you’re a start-up or a SME, how you would develop an app for your business?
With so many of us working, buying and playing online, even small businesses cannot afford to remain digitally disengaged from their customers. And with apps becoming more varied and reliable, there are many reasons why it’s good for business.
An app can:
For the consumer, apps provide a convenient shortcut to your business. The app does all the work. Whether it's ordering a takeaway, buying a new product, or looking for up-to-date information, your app can become a pocket-size concierge.
However with so many apps on the market, very few will be truly successful. So it’s vital that your app is based on more than just a good idea.
The waterfall approach
Having done your research, you proceed to development and invest everything in what you believe to be the perfect product ready for launch.Find out more
The test and refine approach
Whatever the eventual scale of your app, user experience testing is about getting your pre-release product into the hands of real users to collect feedback before launch. For a startup, you can proceed with the idea on a smaller scale, perhaps with a handful of willing volunteers.Find out more
If you are looking to monetise your app, it will need to be developed with that goal in mind. The biggest driver of app revenue is in-app purchases followed by subscriptions and ads.
In-app purchases allow you to release a version of the app for free whilst charging for additional functions or services, as you develop them or as your customers need them.
However, most apps don’t generate a profit. Research shows that many mobile apps are “not designed to generate revenue, but rather are used to build brand recognition and product awareness or are just for fun.”
Sometimes selling directly through a mobile app doesn’t work for your business, but an app still presents valuable opportunities to connect with your customers, increase engagement, market share and greater revenue.
There will come a stage at which you have to decide whether to proceed with the app or not and timing is everything. Delay too long and others may seize the market before you. Act too soon and whilst your app may be ready, you may not have the infrastructure to support it. As a result your business suffers. So at this point you’ve got a decision to make:
Finding a developer can be as daunting as creating it yourself. Although the increasing availability of app development software does make that an option.
However, just as creating your own website can seem straightforward, a good relationship with a designer can make all the difference. So it’s worth considering what you should look for in a potential developer or agency. As well as weighing up the costs involved.
Working with freelancers comes with the usual cost benefits or risk implications, with you driving the process forward. Or you can use an interim agency to connect you with a developer. They may come with a project manager and team, who can help with everything from design to marketing. In fact, Devzy’s approach is to develop an app just for that purpose, to find the best and most affordable development teams available.
Once you’re ready to release your app more widely, you can do so by letting users download it from your website or sending the app directly to them by email.
Publishing your app with Google Play or Apple’s App Store involves an application process for each platform. Alternatively, there are sites such as PreApps that will allow others to preview your app for feedback.
Most apps are released via soft launches, to early users or loyal customers. Even Apple release beta versions of their software to developers, then public testers, before they are satisfied the product is ready for general release and has the infrastructure in place to support it.
Soft launches allow for new staff to be brought in gradually to meet increased demand. Or for marketing campaigns to build anticipation. Soft launches ensure they can be kept small and specific to get your app to your target customer.
As with any new business idea, there is a lot of risk and no guarantee of success, but a good idea, based on sound research and thorough testing, stands every chance of making it out of your head and into your customer’s pocket.
It might be you don't need an app for your business. Perhaps you just need to optimise your site for mobile? Or improve the design and content on your site?Read more
Developing and launching a successful mobile app is expensive. One way to raise the necessary funds is to bring in investment through crowdfunding.Read more
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