If you look through the history of our Ascendle blog, you’ll find numerous titles addressing the benefits a web or mobile app can provide. These include topics such as how to increase revenues, how to gain new customers, and how to extend an existing product’s shelf life. But I wanted to dive a little deeper than that. I wanted to give you some real, actionable ideas – and even some examples – to complement specific industries. So last week I discussed app ideas for the hardware and software industries. Today, I’ll tackle healthcare, retail, and restaurants.
Each of these industries offers unique opportunities for a mobile app. Here are some of those specific app ideas to showcase what’s possible and kick-start your own innovations.
App Ideas for Healthcare Companies
· Medical Equipment Monitoring and Control
Software apps can be added to just about any medical device to provide remote monitoring and control. This can offer significant safety and cost benefits, such as allowing hospital staff to monitor equipment from mobile devices. It also enables more self-monitoring options to identify and prevent serious health risks.
Example: AliveCor offers a revolutionary cardiovascular fingertip monitor that connects wirelessly to your smartphone.
· Fitness and Activity Trackers
Many healthcare companies are promoting – and even subsidizing – apps that track member activity. By making fitness activities more fun, healthcare companies can improve the overall health of members and greatly decrease their costs. Adapting the data from fitness wearables like Fitbit (or other exercise equipment) into healthcare-centered apps can impact your decision-making in many valuable ways.
Example: HydroCoach is a specialized app to remind and encourage users to drink more water.
· Activity Guides
One way to promote more activity is to make exercise ideas more accessible. Healthcare companies are looking for ways to provide better info to their members, and mobile apps provide a perfect controlled medium to do just that. Specialized apps can suggest (and show) specific activities for certain conditions and desires – such as muscle-building, weight-loss, overcoming medical decisions, etc. The more customized these features are, the better chance they have of helping members combat those problems.
· Nutritional Guides and Trackers
Apps that help guide subscribers to better nutrition, track current food intakes, and even promote water consumption all help users make healthier life choices. By customizing apps like this for their members, healthcare companies can incentivize (and put their brand on) these better choices.
· Wellness Knowledgebase
Provide your own specialized knowledge in ways that build loyalty to your brand and allow users to look up personalized healthcare info easily. A mobile app is perfect for this since they can access the information from virtually anywhere.
Example: MedScape combines WebMD’s vast content knowledgebase with a mobile interface and new point-of-service reference tools.
· Claim Applications
Make it easy for users to file a claim remotely, perhaps even right from the doctor’s office. By streamlining all your paperwork and making forms available for mobile input, you could improve both your operational efficiency and member satisfaction.
App Ideas for Retail Companies
· Online Catalogs
Allow mobile purchasing with your own branded, mobile optimized catalog. This is an expected feature in most retail apps, although many companies offer item descriptions without purchasing features. Set your business apart and widen your market by enabling a fully shoppable mobile catalog. Keep in mind: the quicker and easier it is to place an order – such as with Amazon.com’s “1-Click” feature – the more orders you’ll receive.
· Purchase Tracking
Allow customers to follow their purchases throughout the shipping process. This improves customer satisfaction and reduces service calls. You can also offer helpful features like receipt look-ups, purchase histories, and wishlists.
· Inventory Alerts
Allow customers to tag items they’re interested in buying. When the item becomes available at a certain location, goes on sale, or is subject to a store-wide sale, send a push notification to alert them.
· GPS Notifications
Using the GPS features in today’s smartphones, you can push notifications to users whenever they pass within a certain distance of your store. Remind them of current promotions, availabilities of products tagged on their wishlists, or even make targeted suggestions.
Example: Sephora uses GPS technology inside their store. During one promotion, if a member walked by the Beauty Studio, they received a mobile invite for a free mini-makeover.
· Informational Content
Provide more informational depth to help customers make a decision on a product. In addition to physical specifications, include user and industry reviews, manufacturer literature, press coverage, quality reports, etc. Now companies are even including augmented reality capabilities like 360° viewing of products.
Example: The Bed, Bath & Beyond app offers 360° augmented reality views, as well as the ability to apply sizes and colors only available by special order for some products.
· Customer Service
Reduce the strain on your customer service hotline by allowing customers to access a mobile knowledgebase. If that doesn’t solve their problem, your app could connect them directly with tech support or customer service for a variety of store-related issues.
· Reorder Consumables
One way to boost your revenue is to make it extremely easy for customers to reorder consumable or replacement parts. Your app can provide a convenient reminder and reordering system. This could use calendar-based alerts or access the product’s data directly (such as when a printer notifies you that ink levels are low).
App Ideas for Restaurants
· Online Menus and Ordering
When someone searches for your restaurant online, chances are they want to see your menu. Offering your menu in a mobile app is a good idea, and allowing them to also submit their orders can provide a boost to your business. This appeals to customers who prefer take-out service and those who want their food to be ready when they arrive – without the wait.
Example: Five Guys Burgers & Fries has a slick mobile menu and ordering system that makes it easy to order on-the-go.
· Table-Side Ordering
Have you ever wanted to order an additional drink, dessert, or side dish but couldn’t catch the server’s eye? A table side ordering app would allow customers to add items to their order, submitting it directly to the server and/or kitchen. Or replace human order-taking completely, like some restaurants and airport cafes are already doing. Customers seat themselves and submit their own orders via a custom-built iPad app. Now all you need is a robot to deliver it…
· Reservation Systems
Allow customers to see your current table availabilities and create their own reservations without having to call in. This frees up time for your staff, reduces in-house waiting for customers, and helps you reach peak capacity more often.
· Callback Systems
Once you’ve checked into a restaurant, instead of waiting for your name to be called or carrying around a buzzer, an app can send a push notification when your table is ready.
· Suggestion Service
Your restaurant app could suggest entrée choices, appetizers, wines, etc. Allow customers to create preference profiles for better suggestions, just like the major online retailers do. They’ll be intrigued by the suggestions, which could lead to increased visit rates. You’ll even know which customers to notify when a new dish is added to the menu.
· Payment Service
This is an efficiency-based service enjoyed by customers and wait-staff alike. By allowing customers to pay their bill remotely through an app, they’re able to leave sooner, improving their satisfaction. This also saves wait-staff from having to handle money, while dramatically improving your table turnover efficiency.
· Customer Service and Rewards
Gather feedback from recent diners by making it easy to submit their comments. This information can be used for marketing, staff development, and general improvement. Questions and surveys can be used to gather additional data, while also serving as reminders of your restaurant. Rewards programs enhance customer loyalty and encourage repeat visits.
Example: Red Robin Royalty is a loyalty program app that also includes a location finder, tip calculator, branded games, and even a selfie frame.
· GPS Notifications
Having a slow day? Send coupons or promotions to registered diners within a specified area. This can help you fill capacity later on. You can also push alerts to users when they pass within a certain distance of your restaurant – like a discount off their favorite dish or appetizer.
Start Your Healthcare, Retail, or Restaurant App Today
Not sure which app idea would provide the most benefit for your business? Ascendle is ready to help you develop a plan. Contact us and let’s get your app rolling today!