One thing that many businesses fail to realise is that the web does not begin and end with desktop PCs. Mobile application development is becoming an increasingly important part of promoting any modern business. Smartphones are incredibly common, and the roll-out of 4G in the UK means that a huge percentage of the country's mobile device owners have access to high-speed broadband when they are out and about. It makes sense to take advantage of that and promote your business via the platform those users are most comfortable with.
It is becoming increasingly common for both bricks-and-mortar businesses and online enterprises to offer apps to their customers. These apps may tie in to existing rewards schemes, be a companion app for an event in your niche, or even a game. All that matters is the app gets installed on your customers' mobile devices, thereby ensuring that your customers are able to be reminded of your brand wherever they may be.
You can use mobile applications to increase your exposure and keep your brand name in front of your customers, or you can use them to build engagement. Some apps push special offer notifications to their users, or include occasional calls to action littered throughout the normal UI flow. Giving a mobile app away for free could net you many sales if you link the app to your online store. Think of mobile apps as promotional gifts for the smartphone era.Choosing a Developer.
Thanks to high-speed Internet access and the wide range of platforms that are out there, you can create apps to do almost anything on almost any platform. As a business owner, you will need to decide which platforms you want to target and what features you want to offer your users.
Learning best practices for application development can take a long time. It is best to hire a third party to perform your application development for you, rather than try to take on creating a commercial application as a learning project. This is particularly important if your plans to develop an app include creating any form of application that transmits login details or handles financial data. Web applications have many potential entry points for malicious attackers and would-be hackers (or, more accurately, crackers). If you are not well-versed in how to prevent these attacks, then you could unwittingly put your customers' financial details at risk. Releasing or publishing an insecure application would be incredibly bad for your brand.Partnerships for Marketing.
One thing that has become incredibly popular recently is the concept of partner apps. If you run a sports store in your area, why not release an app that contains a calendar full of local sporting events? If you run a restaurant, why not release an app that contains seasonal recipe ideas, along with, of course, a call to action that reads, "If you're too busy to cook, check out our menu!"? Release these applications for free and use them as a form of viral marketing. They will help to reinforce your brand in the minds of your users, making them more receptive to future messaging.The Discoverability Problem.
The biggest challenge when it comes to having an app developed for your business is ensuring that users can find and access it. There are four major operating systems in the mobile space: Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry. Each of those platforms has its own online app store and each store has different protocols and associated fees. But even if you do get your app in one or all of the stores, there is no guarantee that your audience will find it.
This problem is made worse by the fact that on Android the platform itself is so fragmented that you cannot guarantee that all users will be able to see and install your app. Different OS versions, screen sizes and hardware capabilities place restrictions on what can and cannot be installed. Even if you choose to give your app away for free, if you target too narrow a device specification then a huge percentage of your audience won't even know that your free product exists.
It's these issues that make it so important to work with a good mobile applications developer. To succeed in the mobile space you need to work with someone who understands the OS and device fragmentation issues. Someone who has experience with getting their apps noticed. In the right hands, mobile development is a great tool, and one that will help you reach your next generation of customers.
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