Sometimes, a commercial software app is designed to be the product.
But that’s not always the case. Often, commercial software apps are designed to make existing products simply better or more profitable.
It doesn’t matter if that product is physical, digital, or even a service – there are many ways a mobile app can increase your product’s value.
Mashable considers these benefits in 7 Ways Mobile Apps Are Driving Revenue for Businesses. We’ve also addressed this topic several times in our Ascendle blog. Here are just a few of the highlights on how a mobile app can increase the value of an existing product.
Push notifications are reminders and messages that deliver ultra-targeted alerts to customer devices. These can be timely, as in announcing the arrival of a specific product or the availability of an open appointment. They can also be geographically relevant, as in reminding customers of a sale when they pass within a certain distance of your store. By combining push notifications with technologies like the geolocation features present on most phones and real-time inventory systems, your marketing can achieve a whole new level of responsiveness. And more effective marketing can lead to new incremental sales for your products.
Another way a mobile app can achieve more sales is simply by providing more sales opportunities. Reaching customers during their waiting and downtimes when they want to be engaged with something is a great way to get better exposure for your products. By marrying interesting features and content with the capability to buy products easily on the spot, you can capitalize on those moments. Presenting customers with the ability to purchase now, when their enthusiasm is high and they’re looking at your products anyway, will achieve better conversions than expecting them to act on what they’ve seen at some later time.
We’re living in the information age, and you’re collecting a lot of data. Especially if you’re collecting data from your existing applications about how users are interacting with your products. Use that data wisely and you can improve your decision-making, help you understand your customers, and identify new opportunities.
But what about using all that data as a product itself? That’s where data visualization comes in. With a mobile app, you can expose key data from existing software applications for consumption by specific types of users. Think stakeholders, decision-makers, and C-Suite users for example. A mobile app can provide a whole new layer for these users to view relevant data at their fingertips.
The same goes for hardware, too. Data visualization can take the output from your hardware and expose key actionable data in a mobile-optimized fashion. Many companies are willing to pay a premium for that kind of data… or include it in your offer to increase your product’s value.
Advertising offers two distinctly different ways to increase the value of your brands:
- Create revenue streams by advertising products from other companies in your mobile app.
- Advertise your own brand in other apps to increase awareness and sales opportunities.
Both approaches offer value to help grow your business. One provides direct revenues and the other boosts brand awareness and potential sales. Your choice will depend on the maturity and position of your brand – it should come as no surprise that many companies opt for both.
ClickZ explains why in-app ads may be the future of mobile advertising, citing click-through rates that more than double those found on the mobile web. And consider this: inside your own app you have much more control over the offers displayed. Opportunities for partnerships and co-marketing abound.
Ease of Consumption
One profound benefit of a mobile app is to make your service easier to consume. I already mentioned how extending the reach of your storefront leads to new sales opportunities. But what about order-ahead capabilities? Appointment sign-ups? Coupons and loyalty programs? The fast food industry – Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and McDonald’s to name a few – were among the first to see and leverage these benefits in their mobile apps. Huge opportunities remain in virtually every industry. For each waiting period and bottleneck in your process, there’s the potential for a creative mobile solution that either solves or makes that experience better. All you have to do is find it.
I mentioned the value of data visualization above. But what about the raw data you’ll gather simply by owning an app? If you don’t have one, you’re already missing out on the fastest growing marketing platform in the world. And where you have competitors already gathering that info, who’s better poised to win market share in the future?
As more and more dollars move through the mobile web – as more and more in-app purchases are made – it’s becoming more and more important to get ahead of that curve. After all, you want to be riding the mobile wave, not floundering in its wake. Mobile usage patterns, social sharing, feedback and surveys are just a few easy ways to gather the data you need to thrive in the mobile era. Launching a mobile app should be a strategic priority for virtually any company providing products and services. The data you gather will not only improve your marketing efforts but also help you create better products and services in the future.
Putting Your App Ideas to Use
If you’re reading this, you probably started with a few ideas on ways a mobile app could help your business (evaluate your app ideas here). Hopefully, I’ve inspired a few additions to that list. For more advice on how to build your mobile app, read our blog post about 14 Things to Consider Before Building a Mobile App.