Want an app for your business? Some things to consider…

FOR TODAY’S MARKETER or BUSINESS OWNER, there’s no shortage of case studies, trackers and news articles on branded apps like Starbucks, Domino’s, Dunkin’ Donuts and the like to inform on this digital trend. The success these trailblazers have been able to achieve through their mobile and digital strategies is well documented. Stats show that 63% of millennials have at least one quick-service app on their phone and the numbers are continuously growing. Take for example Starbucks. Their focus on further “integrating digital and real world” – offering users order ahead, loyalty, mobile payment, and through the use of AI personalized food and drink suggestions has led to them achieving a rate of 30% of all transactions going through the app. That is huge!

You proved yourself Starbucks!

But how do you go about building a similar offering for your own customers?  

First things first; Think what do you need your app to do?

The ultimate goal here is not to build an app to seem cutting-edge or on trend. It’s to deliver true value to your customer – a quick, convenient and personalized experience that will grow your community of loyal patrons and drive revenue. According to Blackhawk Network, 77% of consumers name convenience as an important reason they remain loyal to a brand. Furthermore, for a business owner, the goal is to avoid the app graveyard – this is where all of the badly built apps end up due to lack of user adoption.

At Smooth Commerce, when we scope with our clients we aim to separate the need to haves and the nice to haves. The two lists allow us to clearly define what the app needs to do. For example, a need to have might be mobile payment and mobile order ahead, and a nice to have might be lots of motion graphics.

Once you have a pretty good understanding of what kind of app your business requires, shop the market for a solution that can best deliver on your core needs and can be a strong partner for you with knowledge of your specific industry. Most providers can be divided into one of three categories – out of the box, custom and configured.

The advantage of an out of the box solution lies in the quickness of implementation and, for the most part, a relatively modest development and maintenance cost. However, you may be limited by defined functionality that may or may not fully suit the operational needs of your business. If you are a business with only one or a few locations and are looking to replace your dinosaur punch card loyalty program or offer customers a quick booking app, this solution will provide the basic functionality to achieve your mobile upgrade. You might find that as your business grows and becomes operationally complex, an out of the box solution restricts you to cookie cutter functionalities. Furthermore, be aware of providers without any expertise in building functionalities that are crucial to your customers user experience.

On the other side of the spectrum is custom app development.

Think Starbucks app. A fully custom app built to spec.

The advantage here is clear – the ability to build your very own app from the ground up, fully addressing the specifications of even the most unique and specialized offerings. However, there are some pretty significant drawbacks which make this solution unrealistic for many businesses.

Time – building an app from scratch is incredibly time consuming.

Resources – cost will vary based on the specifications and functionalities added in the app, and you will be susceptible to escalating costs as developers encounter challenges and unknowns throughout the custom build.

Than there’s a configured solution. This is where Smooth Commerce reigns.

While Smooth Commerce has the capability of building custom solutions for our clients, our specialty is a configurable, multi tenant platform that can be adapted quickly and efficiently. This highly efficient approach means our clients benefit from an app that has the look and feel of a custom-designed app while being backed by a proven platform that provides stability and diverse functionality at reasonable price points. Through our configured, platform based apps, we can offer our clients the latest functionality, continuous maintenance support and features that can be turned ‘on’ or ‘off’ based on the growing needs of the individual business.

Choosing the right app development partner is essential to the success of your app. Choose a provider that can deliver on your must haves and even better if the provider has had experience with a similar business to yours.

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Want to get in touch and learn more?

Message us @smoothcomm or directly tetyana@smooth.tech

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About the Author:

Tetyana leads the Marketing and Client Success team at Smooth Commerce. She manages marketing and corporate communications for the company and spends her time working with clients to make sure their app launches are seamless. Outside of work, she enjoys learning about emerging technologies and dabbling in cryptocurrencies, and spends a great amount of time on self development in areas of health and mindfulness.