What are business owners looking for every day? Three simple things: How do I increase sales, improve efficiency and build a loyal customer base? I would say those are the top three things on every business owner’s mind. Entrepreneurs are a special breed, working hours that regular people would balk at, investing all of their resources into their vision, their dream and always looking for ways to improve.
Being a small business owner of several clothing boutiques for two decades, I was looking to do all of the above. I did a lot of research into how to accomplish those goals. Increasing sales and building a loyal client base were the most important in my search for a solution. It was then that I discovered that businesses with a loyalty program generally do more than 20% more in sales than businesses without one. That was it — loyalty!
I was going to implement a loyalty program in my retail business — that was my “aha” moment. After looking for a solution with little success, I decided to build it myself. Since then, the mobile app space has grown in leaps and bounds, and there are several companies a small business owner could turn to to develop a mobile-based loyalty program — Buidfire, Mobile Roadie and Siberian Pro and the company I founded Mass Mobile Apps are all among them. When looking for a company to produce your mobile app, look for people you can work with and who understand what your needs as a business owner are.
A mobile app can be a lot of different things. It can be a way to access information, to play games, to do your banking, to monitor your home, to communicate and now to interact with your local businesses. Business owners with the insight to adopt this marketing channel early display their ability to understand where their customers are and how to effectively engage with them. The move to mobile is not new, but the ability for small- and medium-size businesses to adopt a marketing channel like this is.
So how can a mobile app help your business? Let’s examine the points outlined:
How Can It Increase Sales?
The mobile app can include a variety of different types of loyalty programs. Each program is engineered to make your clients come back more often and spend more when they do. Rewards can be used in several other ways, including tiered levels, which give your clients the incentive to progress up your different levels, giving the ones at the top additional perks. There’s also gamification where prizes can be awarded to winning clients, and the ability to reward your clients for pre-defined actions – like sharing an image or a notification — helps push your bottom line. One popular game is the scratch-and-win feature, which works for both end users and merchants.
How Does A Mobile App Improve Efficiency?
Features like integrated shopping carts, integrated food ordering and employee scheduling give an employer the ability to house these key functions of their digital footprint inside the app. A restaurant with a food ordering system built into their app will see a dramatic increase in online and in-app purchasing. A retail business with an integrated e-commerce system will increase efficiency and also boost sales figures. All businesses may be able to improve employee engagement with built-in scheduling software that allows employees to be notified of their schedules in real time, and to also always have access to it on their smartphones. No longer can they say, “I forgot I was scheduled today,” or “no one told me I was working.”
How Does A Mobile App Build A Loyal Customer Base?
This is one of the most important things that a business owner must focus on. Customers are the lifeblood of every business. Successful businesses know this and make it a priority to build loyalty and make brand ambassadors. Mobile apps are among the best ways to communicate and engage with customers. The app gives your customers the ability to interact with your business on their schedule. Push notifications have open rates that can max out in excess of 90%. Compare that to emails with open rates of 25-30%, and you can see how the mobile app will become the best way for you to connect with your customers. With a referral program, you can incentivize your customers to refer you new business and help to take you viral.
Mobile apps today are much like websites were 15 years ago, and like 15 years ago when websites were cost-prohibitive to small- and medium-size businesses, mobile apps seem to have that stigma today. That is no longer the case. Do it yourself mobile app platforms now level the playing field, and smaller enterprises can now have all of the features of a Fortune 500 company’s mobile strategy at a fraction of the price.
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John is the managing director of MIT Agency which is a premium digital agency focused on providing pre-eminent technology services to ambitious businesses across geographies and industries. MIT Agency’s core expertise includes the planning, development, management & marketing of businesses and digital products with world-class user experience, artificial intelligence and scalable architecture.