Should Retailers Invest in Mobile Apps?

BY Kathy Crosett
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Are your clients asking if it’s time to invest in mobile apps for their business? It’s a logical question, considering how much time consumers spend on their mobile devices. Marketers should consider the following factors before they rush to roll out a mobile app.

Roughly 32% of SMBs have invested in mobile apps. Who can blame them? According to a survey released by TopDesignFirms, consumers love mobile apps. Last year, they downloaded 130 billion apps. These statistics have encouraged another 41% of SMBs to start building an app, because they believe this kind of connection with consumers can lead to more business.

Improved Customer Service

Before your clients go too far down the app-​building road, encourage them to think about exactly how this tool will benefit them. Survey results indicate that SMBs plan on improving customer service (34%) through their app. By improving service, they’ll likely be able to sell more to existing customers. For example, if a consumer has ordered online and your client’s app allows them to quickly check on the expected delivery date, customer service has improved.

Improved Branding

SMB owners who participated in the survey pointed out that producing an app can improve visual branding. After the offering appears on an app store, local consumers may recognize the logo and slogan, especially if those elements are used consistently across all media platforms. They may be intrigued enough to download the app and start engaging with the business through that tool.

Improved Targeting

As new practices surrounding the topic of consumer privacy take effect this year, SMBs may find themselves at a disadvantage. Leading browsers already block cookie tracking. And, according to Owen Ray, cookie matching success typically maxed out at 60%, so consumers often saw ads that weren’t relevant. 

In addition, Apple iOS 14 users will have to opt-​in to be tracked for advertisers. If enough consumers decline, social sites like Facebook might find it difficult to help SMB clients properly target prospects in the local market. In that case, it makes sense for SMBs to use an app as a way to obtain customer information. In the long term, this approach will allow your clients to personalize their marketing efforts.

Time to Invest in Mobile Apps

While up to 25% of SMBs may decide an app is not suitable for their business, plenty of other businesses will spend money on this effort in 2020. SMBs turn to the following sources for their mobile apps:

  • App development company 53%
  • Freelance app developer 41%
  • In-​house developer 37%
  • DIY app development software 23%

If you’re offering mobile app development as part of your suite of services, talk with your clients about their 2021 plans. Developing and maintaining an app requires significant investment, but SMBs that get it right, can grow sales and improve their reputations. To determine which audiences to target with your clients’ apps, check out the profiles available AudienceSCAN at AdMall by SalesFuel.