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How To Get Your Staff On Board With Your New App

You’re app is live! How exciting! But how do you make sure it’s a success? A key factor in your app marketing is your staff’s buy-in. If the staff knows and understands the value of the app, they will be able to relay this information to the customer. The more excited and knowledgeable your employees are about this new piece of technology, the better your app will perform. So, it’s time to train your staff on your business’ new app.

Step #1: Overcome Skeptical Employees

Your new app will boost sales, increase productivity, and improve operations. Regardless of these strong benefits, getting every employee on board can still be a challenge. Employees might be skeptical to adopt any new technology, as they are happy with the status quo. According to a study by MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting, 63% managers said that the pace of technological change in their workplace is too slow, primarily due to a “lack of urgency and poor communication about the strategic benefits of new tools.”

The solution to dealing with skeptical employees is allowing them to understand why the app is an improvement from what they had before. The job of a small business owner or manager is to help people cross that bridge, and get them comfortable with the new technology. If your employees see how it will make their jobs easier and better, they will embrace the change.

This is where you state your case, putting forth a compelling “vision for what the technology is and what it’s going to do.” You need to demonstrate that the app offers economic and rational benefits for the business. And even more important is to help them understand what’s in it for them.

For example:

  • Higher productivity: Your job will become more efficient, as you will spend less time taking phone orders.
  • Higher revenue: With more orders coming in, you will be making more tips.
  • Happier customers: With the new loyalty program, you will have more positive interactions with customers.
  • Direct feedback loop: Customers will be able to share what you did great and where you could improve.

As a small business owner, think of the ways in which you were persuaded to invest in a mobile app. What convinced you that this was the right decision? What benefits are you expecting to see from its implementation? Your employees are probably going to need the same amount of convincing you needed before you started the app project.

Step #2: Prepare Customized Staff Training

It is important to take into account individual differences like interest and familiarity with digital technology. Some of your employees won’t be able to live without their digital devices, while others might have difficulty using their smartphone. Your training efforts should reflect these differences. Think of your employees who struggle the most with adapting to technology.

There are many different training approaches you can use, but your app training will be most efficient if you take a hands-on approach. A face-to-face training is going to be the most impactful and useful method, as you can personally teach your staff the ins and outs of the new app and allow them to ask any questions they have. We suggest calling a meeting with the entire team and start with a presentation on the new app and its functions.

We have a Staff Training Template that you can fill out for your own business and use to train your staff on your new app. All the slides include examples, so make sure to edit the information so it pertains to your own business — check out the notes under each slide for tips.

Get the Staff Training Template

Download PDF template for FREE and start properly training your staff! – get the Powerpoint version by emailing Apps@TargetMediaMobile.com or by calling (216) 672-9292

Part of this training should also consist of setting specific and measurable goals. These training goals should outline what each employee will be able to accomplish with the new app. You can set a quota for new app downloads, for example. Maybe you want at least 20 downloads per week, and the staff needs to work together to reach this. Keep these goals in mind when training starts to ensure that each employee knows how to reach the objective.

However, simply standing in front of the group and showing them the new technology on a screen is not enough. After the training session, give them a chance to test it out. Have everyone download the app to their own phone and experiment with it. Besides understanding the app’s value, they should also be knowledgeable about how each feature works.

Step #3: Make It Fun

Once your business has fully implemented the mobile app, share the positive impact it is having with your staff. Have you seen a steady increase in loyal members? Have orders or reservations increased? Has your business received new positive reviews? Highlighting these quick wins ensure continued support for the app.

You can make these quick wins even more fun by rewarding employees who have effectively incorporated the app in their daily work duties. You can get creative with this! For example, you can organize a contest where the winner is the employee who got the most customers to download the app. Their prize could be a compensation, a special perk, a recognition, or anything else that would get them motivated. You could hang up a running tally of the employees’ scores in the break room to spark some fun and friendly competition. Experiment with gamification to create a buzz around the mobile app among your staff.

Step #4: Provide Feedback

Feedback is one of the most important parts of implementing new technology in a business. Open up the communication channels, so your staff feels comfortable sharing both the positives and negatives of the new app. Ask them how they think the loyalty program is working. Ask them how the mobile ordering workflow is treating them. Ask them how the app has improved their daily tasks. Take their feedback seriously, as your employees are the ones using the app every single day. For instance, if they mention that customers aren’t participating in the loyalty program because the rewards don’t get them excited, it’s time to switch it up. When there are issues, you will be able to tackle them before they spread to your customer base. In turn, you can also give your employees constructive feedback on how they are doing with the app.

Conclusion

The only way your new mobile app is going to exceed expectations is if your staff is 100% on board. They hold the power to make the app a huge success. It is your job as a small business owner to get them as excited about the new app as you are. Customers will pick up on this positivity and be more likely to give the app a try. Feel free to use our Staff Training Template to make training an efficient and motivating experience.

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Train Your Restaurant Staff on Mobile Technology [Checklist]

Today, 4 in 5 restaurant operators agree that restaurant technology increases sales makes their restaurant more productive and gives their restaurant a competitive edge. The fastest way to make this happen in restaurants is by training and educating staff on emerging mobile apps. Nurturing and embedding technology is proven to drive sales. Our economy is experiencing a cultural shift to digital and mobile, so it’s important to share with your staff how your business is keeping up with the times. In this blog post, you’ll learn how training staff on apps and mobile technology can be put into action.

When is the right time to train your staff?
Immediately, upon arrival! Your new employees should undergo an all-inclusive new-hire training program. If you are an independent business owner, you might have read “training program” and thought “we’re too small for THAT”. On the contrary; any business needs that training in place if their long-term goal is to grow the business.

How do you keep your staff informed?
Most restaurants have their own communication flow. An industry leader, ZingTrain, keeps their staff informed by using various channels — a letter in their paycheck, check-ins from the manager, printed updates in a central and consistent spot, and monthly seminars. They recognize different learning styles and encourage other businesses to communicate in three ways:  reading it, hearing it, and testing out. Technology and our businesses change constantly. It’s crucial to put a system in place to spread the word about the latest company news.

Below you’ll find a training checklist you can use for your own restaurant or cafe. Fill it out with the right information pertaining to your business, and then use it when training new hires. We recommend that you actually teach each topic to staff members. A handout is simply not as effective, and will not serve your business as well.

CHECKLIST FOR STAFF TRAINING ON RESTAURANT TECHNOLOGY

  • Apps to Find our Restaurant: Google, Yelp, Facebook.
    • Staff should be invited to look up your restaurant so they learn more about your business, as well as understand how new customers find you.
  • Apps for Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
    • Good stats for your staff to know:
      • 49% of consumers learn about food and your restaurant through social networks. That means you can reach about half of the people on social media just by becoming active. If a customer wants to take a pic of your restaurant, or their meal, do NOT interrupt that. It’s money in your cash drawer!
      • 24% respond to conversations about food on social media. Engaging with your followers about your food photos helps build your brand and gain trust.
    • Staff should encourage customers to stay in touch through social media to receive specials and notifications about events.
  • Apps for Restaurant Reviews: Yelp, Zomato, Urbanspoon, OpenTable and TripAdvisor, Facebook.
    • Good stats for your staff to know:
      • For every 1/2 point rise on OpenTable, sales can rise by 5%.
      • A one-star increase in Yelp rating leads to a 5 – 9% increase in revenue.
    • Remind your staff that higher sales translate to higher tips. Monthly educational seminars focused on good service and terrific hospitality can drive positive reviews and improved volume. Role play is the single most effective shift for servers here at Cavalletta Solutions. For instance, certain members of the staff know the “script” and act it out in a table service setting.  We have found staff learned the language, the tone to use, and how best to invite a customer to spread the word on a review app. Training at one restaurant in Baltimore translated into a 2.2% growth in revenue year over year.
  • Apps for Discounts: Groupon, Yelp.
    • Inform your staff on how you feel about discounts, and teach them how to implement them (including register training). Here’s an example: “We are occasionally on Groupon. We will train you when we know we are running a special discount.”
    • Note: Discounts for restaurants need to be used sparingly. Record your results—too often an owner assumes a discount didn’t work. Record your data, look at the data, then reach an accurate conclusion.
  • Apps for Delivery: Uber Eats, Postmates, GrubHub, Eat24, EatStreet.
    • Train your staff on how each of these delivery systems work. More specifically, show them which machine is for which app, how they should enter information in the cash register, what happens when the driver arrives and who is allowed to turn off an app when the kitchen is in the weeds.
  • Apps for Payment:  Square, Paypal.
    • Teach your staff that you accept different methods for payments. If a phone call comes in asking about Square, they probably need to talk to a manager, as it may be related to catering or venue questions.
  • Apps for Loyalty: Five Stars, Flok, Stamp Me.
    • Loyalty is king, and your staff should be fully aware of this. Returning customers are crucial to your restaurant, so teach them how to bring up your loyalty program to customers. Loyalty is Cavalletta’s preferred method of gaining market share and is more effective than discounts.
  • Unique Branded App:
    • In today’s mobile-friendly climate, a branded app for your restaurant can encompass all of the above technologies. In other words, in-house apps link to and combine the features of many other apps. However, it can only be successful if your staff embraces it. If you decide to go for a fully-integrated app made specifically for your restaurant, or already have one, you need to train your staff on its features, functions, and benefits. Have them download the app on their own phone, and give them some time to interact with it themselves. By educating your staff on the app, they will be more engaged with the technology. Lack of training here will lead to a distrust, apathy and, ultimately, an app that fizzles away.

How can you keep your staff up-to-date on the ever-changing restaurant technology? With the above template, you can teach every staff member from the get go. Additionally, update them in daily lineups, monthly education seminars and through your communication flow – keep your staff updated on any new technology. With only a 5% growth projected in the restaurant industry for 2017, training your staff on technology can give you the advantage you need.

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How to Increase Mobile App Engagement With Push Notifications

The mobile industry is booming, and mobile apps are completely dominating this arena. Companies of all sizes are seeing the benefits of having a mobile app. According to recent data, nearly half of small businesses are expected to adopt a mobile app by 2017.

However, simply having an app is not enough to win over mobile users. Most people only use 6 to 10 apps each week. And when it comes to new downloads, only 3.3% of Android apps and 3.2% of iOS apps still had active users after 30 days.

So, how do you get people to download your app, and even more importantly, keep using it after initial installation? The ideal app is useful, engaging, even addictive, so that people see it as an indispensable part of their daily routine.

You should focus on these two metrics: mobile app engagement and mobile app retention. While both are subjective metrics, high engagement and retention make for a successful app. More specifically, engagement refers to how active users are on the app (e.g. how many user sessions per month). Retention, on the other hand, focuses on the percentage of app users who return to the app (e.g. how many users return within 3 months of the first session).

These two metrics combined determine an app’s “stickiness” – how engaged and loyal users are for a specific app. To make an app sticky, it needs to keep users engaged and ensure repeat usage. To do so requires development strategies that connect app functionality and experience with people’s intent and mobile behavior. Forbes states that “building and delivering great mobile experiences will be the beating heart of your customer engagement strategy for the next 10 years.”

Think of it this way, if version one of your mobile app was just a good looking exterior, the following versions will be an in depth system of engagement. The goal of your app is to help people take action in their immediate moments of need.

In those moments, consumers expect brands to address their needs with real-time relevance. According to Google, “micro-moments are the new battleground for brands”. They introduced the term micro-moments to discuss how we should reach customers on their phone and here are three essential strategies:

Increasing mobile app engagement begins with these micro-moments and, arguably, the most important one in this case is Be Useful. You need to be useful and meet users’ needs in critical moments. That means connecting people to what they’re looking for in real time and providing relevant information when they need it. As Google says, “With mobile we’re able to add a rich understanding of context to consumers’ underlying intent. That context provides critical insights into consumer behavior—and therefore powerful clues for how you can be most relevant and useful for people in their moments of need”.

But what happens if you are not useful? Without utility, consumers will not only move on, they actually might not ever come back. Only 9% of users will stay on a mobile site or app if it doesn’t satisfy their needs (for example, to find information or navigate quickly).

So if quality, timing and relevance of a company’s message are important, how does this translate to your app communication?

An effective strategy to be useful, as well as engaging, with your app is through push notifications:

  • Frequency: To send or not to send? The answer to this question lies in your understanding of the app audience and their expectations. A great way to find out more about your users is by implementing a “preference center” within your app, allowing users to select the subject matter they want to get push notifications about and when. You want users to be receptive to your message, therefore knowing your audience is key in leveraging push notifications to foster engagement.
  • Timing: Consider not only the frequency of your push notifications, but also the time of day. It is important to send out messages when your users are active and already on their phones. For example, lunch time and early evening are common times people are on their phones. Determine the ideal send times by using A/B testing. Once you have discovered when the most users are in front of your app, segment the audience based on their attributes to improve response rates. Brands using segmentation have response rates 4-7 times higher than those who do not.
  • Content: The smartphone is a personal marketing medium, and your app users are expecting tailored and important messages to come their way. Language that conveys urgency (i.e. time-sensitive deals) and relevancy (i.e. sending it to the relevant segment) will drive users back to your app. Push notifications have the potential of annoying recipients, so to counter this, your content needs to be honest, helpful, funny, memorable, clear, empathetic and trendy. As push notifications have design limitations and follow a standardized text format, your words need to motivate user action.
  • Deep Linking: Deep linking guides your audience to exactly where you want them to go within your app. It provides the user with a more seamless experience while reducing barriers to completing a desired action. For example, if you send a push notification about pre-sale tickets to a concert, you can deep-link to a purchase page in your app. The key here is to figure out the path you want your app users to take, and then help to send them in the right direction.

By identifying these ideal mobile moments to send messages to customers, your app will excel at Being Useful. By mastering the art of push notifications, your app will significantly increase mobile engagement no matter what type of app you have, or how you define engagement.

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Your Competitors Are Going Mobile – Here’s Why You Should Too

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As more and more consumers rely on their mobile devices for personal and business use, the need for a mobile app is rapidly growing. 2015 was dubbed
“The Year of the Mobile Web,” so small businesses without a mobile presence have already fallen far behind.

There’s typically only one reason these businesses hold out: money.

The Cost of a Mobile App

In January 2015, Clutch conducted a survey of a number of leading mobile app developers to determine the average overall cost of building an iPhone/Android app, including the factors or variables that affect cost the most. The findings put the average cost of mobile app development between $37,913 and $171,450. For a small business, even the lower end of this price range is a hefty one to swallow, especially without an immediate return on investment.

Luckily, the average price has fallen drastically. While the numbers may be a bit out of date, the data can still help us identify the features carrying the highest cost when developing a mobile app: the infrastructure, features, and design. On the less expensive end is the planning, deployment, and even testing that goes into the mobile app’s release.

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Why Mobile Development Is More Accessible Now

Technology often changes so fast that as soon as data like the above is released, newer technology has made development more accessible, thus lowering costs. As mobile development has become more popular and important in today’s business world, the number of app builders on the market also grown. More providers means more competitive pricing; there are more options to choose from, and some of these options are remarkably cheap compared to the prices we were seeing just a year or more ago.

Also on the rise is app development software. Some of these software or app development services are designed for a small business to make their own mobile app at a very low price. As long as a business owner is willing to take the time and effort required, these hyper user-friendly tools can drastically reduce overhead.

The evolution of mobile is almost identical to the changes we’ve witnessed in web development through its infancy and beyond. In the early stages of the Internet, having a website became an undisputed necessity for businesses, but development was costly. There was only a small number of developers and designers available. Now, there are a number of inexpensive services that allow anyone to make their own functioning website with relative ease.

The Future of Small Businesses and Mobile Development

With a mobile app becoming a much more reasonable investment for a small business to swallow, the future looks very positive. Recent data reports that roughly a quarter of small businesses already have a mobile app and another 27% of them have plans to enter the mobile world in the next year or so. As prices go down and accessibility goes up, these numbers are likely to increase rapidly.

Part of the shift from uncertainty to conviction is simple education. Small businesses ambivalent about adopting mobile may have been quoted for an app a year or more ago and still believe it’s out of their price range. Others fail to see how a mobile app will impact their business or how it’s relevant to their industry.

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What Mobile Development Can be Used For

At the core of all business apps, there’s one of a number of key drivers:

  • Accessibility & Visibility — As mobile search volume continues to grow, adopting a mobile platform is more and more important for accessibility and visibility. If consumers can’t find you or interact with your brand in the mobile environment, they may defect to a mobile competitor. Alternatively, attracting new customers without a mobile app could become harder and harder; your business is less discoverable and you lack a key tool to keep you up-to-date and competitive in your industry.
  • Internal Processes & Productivity  While we often think of apps as a new platform for our customers to engage with, mobile development also improves internal processes and productivity. Many companies utilize desktop software to facilitate certain day-to-day business processes. A mobile-centric version of this software could further enhance these processes. After all, mobile is, well, mobile, which means you can perform these processes on the go instead of sitting down to fire up your desktop.
  • Customer Experience — Without mobile, a customer’s relationship with your brand or company is interrupted the moment they walk out the door. By providing a mobile app experience, that relationship does not have to end. Your brand is more accessible, appears more personable, and can stimulate more communication. Improving the customer experience ultimately increases brand loyalty and reduces churn.

All of these factors and others have direct relationships to profits. The more visible you are, the more discoverable you are to new and existing customers. Internal mobile apps boost productivity and, perhaps more than ever, time is money. Lastly, a mobile app is key to enhancing the customer experience, which is becoming more and more important to audiences. It is no longer about offering the best product and quality, you also need to provide the best experience and mobile is one of the most important facets of that.

Conclusion

The mobile world took off like a rocket. In a few short years, it moved from a trend and a business luxury to an accessible and vital dimension of the modern business. In the past, small businesses couldn’t afford to invest in this rapidly growing, mobile world. But as mobile has grown, so has the number of app developers and services available, reducing the costs of mobile adoption.

Even though only about a quarter of small businesses have entered the mobile app world, more expect to join soon. Those who remain unconvinced may be swayed as prices go down and accessibility goes up. And for the rest, a little bit of education on how mobile can impact their success could set them over the edge.

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8 Questions to Ask Before Redesigning Your Website

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If your small business’s website isn’t gaining traffic, actively engaging customers, or targeting the right personas, it might be time for a redesign. This is particularly true if your site’s been online for more than a year and isn’t updated frequently. It’s important to stay relevant—nothing screams “behind the times” like an outdated front-end website—but redesigns can be time-intensive and costly, even if you know exactly what you’re doing.

Here are 8 questions to ask yourself before you launch into a website redesign.

1. When was the last time I updated my website?

This is a huge indicator of the time you’ll need to devote to a redesign. If your website hasn’t been updated in over a year, chances are you’ll be spending some serious time on content alone. The more outdated your website, the less you’ll show up in search results; that means reduced traffic, reduced exposure, reduced revenue. On the other hand, if you’re pretty diligent about content updates, you’re looking at a shorter timeline devoted to design and optimization.

2. What’s wrong with my current website?

Old layouts, images, content, resources—any outdated elements—immediately age your website in the eyes of the visitor. A bad hyperlink or a broken image can turn a hot lead sour in seconds, and outdated business info means confusion for customers and trouble for you. Make a list of all the problems with your site, then start drafting up solutions.

3. How much do I hope to accomplish?

Are you looking to revamp or re-brand? State what you’d like to achieve and be liberal with your estimates. If you have a clear strategy in mind from the get-go, you’ll gain far more from the work you put in. A simple content revamp may take hours or days, while a full rebrand could take weeks or months.

4. What do I like about other websites?

Compare your site to those of your competitors. Do they have a more modern design? A wider array of features? Simpler contact forms? You can even visit the most popular websites of different industries and see what they’re doing well. What can you take and adapt from these sites to suit your brand and vision?

5. What is my overall business goal?

Are you looking to convert leads faster? Increase traffic or purchases? Draw visitors to your physical store? It’s unlikely you’ll be able to achieve all of those without seeking out some extra help, so identify your biggest priority and do everything you can to execute on that. There are plenty of free online resources that can help you improve your site’s SEO, which is where any entrepreneur should start.

6. Have my offerings changed?

We’ve covered this a little, but it warrants repeating. If your product or service has changed at all, you must address that on your website. This is an obvious consideration for e-commerce sites, but brick & mortars often underestimate their customers’ expectations. Web visitors want their online experience to translate into their in-store experience—and if products or services are misrepresented online, you’re setting yourself up to lose business.

7. Can I analyze my website’s success?

Most web builders offer built-in analytics or integrations. This data isn’t just important to online retailers—it can help small businesses pinpoint what content is drawing traffic and where visitors are falling off most. Those insights are pivotal to not just your redesign, but your business as a whole. Visitor demographics paint a real picture of the online community that you can’t see clearly offline. Examine your data and make sure it lends to every decision you make.

8. Is my site mobile-friendly?

People expect websites to perform just as well on their smartphones as they do on their desktops. Sites that aren’t mobile-optimized are asking for extinction these days—they handle poorly, load slowly, and look awful on most screens. Developing a clean, user-forward, mobile-friendly site should be your chief priority if you’re setting out to redesign anyway.

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Local Business Apps: How to Get an Edge on Your Competitors

Having a mobile application for your business, regardless of its size, can give you a leg up on your competitors. But it’s not enough to have an app. You need a good application that differentiates your business from those of your competitors and that adds to the customer experience in ways that similar companies do not.

Mobile applications are no longer the providence of the large, mega-corporations, as small businesses require a online and mobile presence to remain competitive. A January 2016 article on Entrepreneur rightly made the point that, “Simply put, smartphone apps have become too important a marketing tool for small business owners to do without.”

Even if you’re not aiming for the global marketplace, you need to consider that according to various sources, in developed countries, smartphone penetration is over 60 percent. Global penetration is up to 34 percent as well, with projections between now and 2018 expecting this to rise even further,

Now, put this penetration statistic together with the information that the average user checks their phone 85 times per day and it becomes easy to see why having a small or large business mobile application is essential for your long term viability and competitiveness.

Of course, your competition is probably looking at the same or similar information and preparing for their entrance into the mobile application arena – or they’ve already taken the plunge. Therefore having a mobile application strategy is going to be crucial for you going forward.

Have an Application Strategy

Before actually developing an application, your company or business needs an application strategy. Just putting together an application is not enough. You and your business needs to know how this application will work with your company or business and how it fits into the your business model. It isn’t enough to just have the app, you have to be able to use the app to shape your customer’s experience with your business.

While there are a number of different methods to creating a mobile application strategy for your business, Forbes points out seven important objectives or strategies that you should consider for implementation in your company’s mobile application strategy.

Importantly, your mobile application strategy will dictate the direction in which you develop your application. Thus, your mobile application strategy becomes your outline for the actual creation of your mobile application.

Seamless Integration

While this might seem obvious, often time, seamless integration is an afterthought. A key component of any strategy – and especially true with any business strategy that involves far-reaching implications – is that your strategy functions as a seamless integration, with not only your overall business strategy, but with the physical components of your business.

A customer who uses your application to place an order must be assured that the order will be received and processed promptly, while, at the same time, any backend activities must not be visual to the customer. In other words, your mobile application must do what it claims to do.

This means your mobile application must work with your current software, be updated as you update your other software and ensure timely updates to your mobile application, including applying bug fixes to the application itself.

For a small business owner, this can appear at first to be troublesome or that it might increase the overhead to an unsustainable degree. But this is why it’s essential to have a mobile application strategy – to help prevent you and your business from being overwhelmed with the prospect of developing and working with your mobile application.

Make Social Media Part of Your Application Experience

As part of your application development, a key element for adding to the customer experience is integrating your app to work with social media. Letting customers share what they looked at, considered, purchased and more on social media is a great way to expand your audience and promote your products or services.

Essentially, having social media as part of your application experience gives you the opportunity to be seen and heard straight from the customer themselves. Even for companies involved with B2B sales, social media is an important consideration, with over 62 percent of B2B companies reporting effectiveness on their social media outlets.

Developing the Experience

All of the above is fine, well and great, but how does it help to give you the edge? A comprehensive mobile application strategy that takes your business’s goals, objectives and integrates them into an mobile application gives you an advantage when it comes to competing for new customers (and retaining the same).

Basically, it’s about creating value between you and your customers or clients. Technology savvy customers gravitate towards those mobile applications that appear to add value to their shopping experience and interactions with your business. By the same token, a bad mobile application will generate a bad mobile experience and thus you have to get it right the first time.

This Whitepaper from UTest, a professional testing network company, outlines specifically the consequences of bad mobile application development. In summary, by investing the time in developing your mobile application’s foundation, you’ll correspondingly improve your customer experience. And as this matures, it adds more value to both your business and the customer, giving your business the edge over your competition.

Further, by giving your customers the option of sharing their experience over social media, your mobile presence will continue to grow and improve – again, adding more perceived value to both the business and consumer.

In or Out Application Development

An important question that always arises when considering application development is in house or outsourced application development. There are pitfalls for each, and there are advantages to each, but it really depends on a range of factors concerning your business.

In house development is really only effective for larger companies, where there are resources for a long term development cycle and ongoing maintenance. That said, even some larger companies will split development across both in house and outsourced components.

Outsourcing mobile application development or, in the case of a small, local businesses, just outsourcing the actual programming element, offers significant advantages, not least of which being cost. Entrepreneur offers several articles on outsourcing for application development, including tips for outsourcing said development in order to reap the most benefit.

For small business, the best idea is typically to develop your mobile application strategy and then work with an application developer to generate your application. In a practical sense, you put the ideas for your application together, and they handle the actual coding that brings it to life.

As long as you have a mobile application strategy in place, all it takes is the development and maintenance to get you on the road to providing value to both you and your customers.

Giving Your Company the Edge

You might still come around to asking the question of “How does this give me an edge over the competition?” The answer is that, by putting all the fundamentals in place – such as a strategy for mobile application and development, along with a social media component – and developing your application using cost-effective services like Proforma Mobile Apps, you’re generating a customer experience that gives your followers and prospective buyers value and purpose.

Mobile applications are more than just marketing tools, and their use extends well beyond marketing hype. Those applications that add or create value for the customer help drive positive sentiment towards your business, and this translates directly into a higher return or ROI.

Even something as simple as alerting your customers to new sales promotions via social media can have a significant impact on your business’s bottom line. For a local-only business, the value created by mobile applications could be critical to ensuring profitability over the long haul – not just by giving you the edge over the competition, but by increasing your exposure to consumers, both old and new.

Having an application is a sign that your company or business is up on the latest trends, and it gives consumers a means of interacting with your company or business on their time (thus adding perceived value for them). In turn this translates directly into better sales, better consumer perception and an overall better customer experience.

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