Apps provide a unique and often personalised way to engage with your customers and target audience directly. They are most popularly downloaded and installed on a smart phone, although they are also used on smart TV’s, laptops and tablets too. It’s true, however, that not all business models will suit an app-based approach.
People typically download apps for the following main reasons:
1. They have a strong connection to the brand/business already
The ASOS app for regular shoppers
The Netflix app for those that are already members
A banking app for existing customers
2. Lifestyle Apps – those that solve a problem for the user
A diary style planner app for organisation
A fitness app to keep track of diet and exercise
A health app for tracking menstrual cycles
3. An app that fits with a hobby
A niche app for songwriters or gardeners etc.
An app from a popular blog
A travel app
The Brand Awareness Challenge
One thing that is true for all apps, is that you need a good level of brand awareness in order to receive downloads. This is why apps are typically only associated with larger brands and businesses. If no one knows that your app exists, organic downloads just won’t cut it.
Lots of Competition
There is literally an app for almost everything you can imagine, and not just one or two. There are hundreds of different apps all offering more or less the same thing. If your brand or concept isn’t especially unique, it could get lost in the app store amongst the rest. One way to overcome this is to offer an incentive for customers to download your app. A freebie or a money-off voucher is the easiest way. The challenge following that is finding a creative way to keep them engaged, returning to the app again and again.
Ideas for an App-Based Approach
A unique way to use an app without it directly representing your business is to create a free game that rewards players with discounts or loyalty points. These could then be used at your online store. As well as this, you can advertise different products and services within the app itself. This is a great alternative if you’re a startup or smaller e-commerce business that simply doesn’t have the customer base to warrant a shopping app.
Finally, apps can be a costly outlay for a smaller business (depending on the complexity of the concept). You will also need to purchase a license to list your app in places such as the apple store, so this is another consideration to factor in.