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Comment:Apps to unlock mobile market for SMEs

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It’s clear to see that larger brands currently dominate the digital landscape. So, for many smaller businesses, the idea of infiltrating the mobile market may seem daunting. Despite this, more SMEs and start-ups are deciding to embrace apps, as the benefits of having a mobile presence continue to grow – but what exactly are the benefits?

It is expected that by 2021, British consumers are likely to spend as much as £18 billion making purchases using their mobile handsets1. As increasing numbers of consumers choose to access the internet via smartphones and tablet devices, it’s inevitable that businesses will have to adapt the way they connect with their customers, offering content which is optimised to work on these devices.

Apps enable companies to proactively drive business through vouchers and loyalty schemes, making them a making them a valuable alternative to more traditional, passive advertising and marketing methods. Consequently, this provides excellent new opportunities for revenue generation for those businesses willing to embrace it.

Apps can also be used as research tools, allowing companies to collect data on their customers’ preferences and shopping habits, which can then be used to refine their business strategies. These platforms can act as innovative around-the-clock communications channels for businesses, allowing for instant contact with their customers. They also provide companies with the opportunity to build brand loyalty by offering exclusive, app-only promotions and offers. This not only drives footfall into bricks and mortar premises, but allows businesses to establish meaningful relationships with customers.

It’s extremely important that apps seamlessly link with all other marketing efforts and activities, whether it’s traditional methods, such as print advertising, or online digital avenues. This continuity throughout platforms is vital, as it allows for an increased growth in customer-confidence with the brand.

SMEs and start-ups can easily make their mark on the digital landscape with budget-option services provided by companies like Apps4. Our new app service – costing £250 for initial set-up and a £50 monthly service fee – contains the essential features such as vouchers, loyalty schemes and push notifications to encourage business and increase a customer’s spend.

In an industry where ROI is king, apps – when created with a clear objective in mind – can attractively return multiple benefits. Not only in important financial revenues, but also in the collection of valuable customer shopping data and creation of increased loyalty towards the brand or retail outlet.

As increasing numbers of consumers turn to their smartphones to shop, it seems that embracing the app culture is the way forward for retail businesses, no matter what their size. Apps are a sure-fire way to unlock a company’s full potential. I think it is vital that businesses begin to revaluate their marketing and communication strategies to take a brave step forward with confidence into the mobile market.

Published on Tuesday 18 September by Editorial Assistant

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