By Alicia Wells

In the digital age, apps are arguably the most powerful tool to reach customers. Mobile devices continue to outpace desktop in terms of traffic. According to comScore, users in the U.S. are spending 69% of their time on mobile apps compared to mobile websites and desktop.

Meanwhile, a study by Oracle has revealed that 85% of people aged 18 to 34 are smartphone users. A majority of these users admitted that they enjoy being able to pay their bills and register complaints with a company via a mobile app. What’s more, up to 34% of the respondents rated their work apps as essential while 41% of them said the same about security apps.

All these stats show that mobile apps are very important. Now, the question is, does a small business need a mobile app? Well, the answer to that is a resounding, ‘yes!’

In the past, only big companies like Facebook, Amazon, and the others were the only ones seen as worthy of having a mobile app. But things have changed drastically as small and medium-sized business are coming to terms with the value of mobile apps. The potential to connect with your customers as well as boost the efficiency of your business through an app is immense. In this article, we’ll look at some reasons why every small business needs a mobile app today.

1. Promote Your Products and Engage with Customers

Apps provide a direct way for businesses to reach customers. For a small business, this can be an invaluable channel to promote your products and services. Usually, companies have to rely on a third-party conduit — like the press or social media platforms — to reach their customers. However, with an app, you can communicate directly with your users.

As indicated above, a lot of users appreciate the convenience of being able to pay their bills and send complaints directly to a company through a mobile app. Also, push notifications can be very useful in informing users about discounts and other promotional offers.

All these show that a mobile app can go a long way to boost engagement and build loyalty among your users. It can also enable you to reach more users and increase your profit margin.

2. Improve Your Business with Insight from User Data

One of the biggest perks of investing in a mobile app is that it will enable you to gather vital data about how users feel about your products and services. It is one thing to find out what users think about your company from surveys, but it is another thing to gain insight into what particular products and services they are interested in through data analytics. Using heat map tools, you can discover what pages users are clicking on your app and how they are interacting with your products and services.

Apart from data analysis, an app is also the perfect way to get feedback from users. You can gain useful information about how to improve your business through reviews and complaints on your app.

Ultimately, an app bridges the gap between a company and its customers. Businesses can gain a better understanding of their users, and, therefore, improve their offerings using the insight gained from their app usage.

3. Boost the Image of Your Brand

Creating an app is one of the most effective ways to set your company apart in the digital age. Usually, big companies have mobile apps. So when a small business creates an app, it sets them apart from the competition. An app establishes an avenue for small companies to spread their brand to users. It make a company’s products and services readily available to users. The more a company’s brand becomes recognizable to users, the higher the chances that they would be inclined to try out the company.

Apps contribute to shaping the image of a brand. Users will automatically associate the experience they have on your app with your brand. Therefore, if you have a stylish and highly efficient app, you are already on your way to giving your business a positive image. User experience is key to success with mobile apps. Today, if a small company can create an app that provides the best experience for users, the company has a strong chance of earning a foothold in the market. For this to happen, your app must give users something that all the others don’t.

4. Integration with Internet of Things (IoT) Devices

Another advantage of small businesses creating apps is that it will allow their products and services to be integrated with IoT devices. The development of the IoT sector has opened up new ways for small businesses to penetrate the market. The market for IoT products is expected to grow by more than $5 trillion over the next five years, according to IDC. This means more and more businesses are developing applications that will be compatible with IoT devices.

The IoT market is pretty huge, and the possibility of different apps being integrated with devices is vast. Every person is expected to have an average of 5.1 IoT connected devices by 2020, according to Frost and Sullivan. Some examples of apps that can be designed to work with IoT devices include security apps, entertainment apps, logistics apps, productivity apps, and more. It is evident that IoT technology will have an effect on almost every aspect of our lives in the coming years.

These are just some of the benefits of building an app. There are many other ways an app can serve a small business such as allowing the company to reach more customers and strengthening the engagement rate of existing users. At the bottom line, building an app provides an opportunity to increase your company’s return on investment.

Knowing the importance of creating a mobile app is only half of the task. The other half involves creating an app that will serve users. You must work with app development experts who can translate your ideas into reality.