“We’re not a software company. Why should I care about creating software?”
This is a common sentiment I hear from many companies, especially ones with physical products.
The answer is simple: you need to care about software because software is where customers are finding, researching, interacting with, and even buying products. And yes, that includes physical products, too.
Sure, you can build a website and sell products there. You can sell products on other peoples’ websites, too – like Amazon.com – if you don’t mind paying their fees out of your margins.
But why should you invest in a custom-built software app? Why does your business need one?
Because that’s where your customers are. Look around you. How much time do your customers spend on their smartphones each day? Smart Business Insider writes about 20 surprising stats of the smartphone takeover, including that 60% of marketers consider mobile apps to be a critical piece of their customer journeys. And Wireless Week wrote about the Death of Desktops, and how over 65% of digital media was being consumed via mobile.
For most businesses, those numbers provide answer enough. If you want to access those customers, you shouldn’t just care about software – you should be excited by it.
After all, you don’t have to be a software company to take advantage of software. You don’t even need your own commercial software development team – you just need a partner who can do it for you.
Here are just a few of the reasons you should be excited to add a custom-built software solution into your mix:
Increase Your Sales with Software Apps
In How Custom Mobile Apps Can Attract New Customers, Angelo Firenze outlines some of the ways mobile apps can expand your audience and even reach out to entirely new customer bases. Some of the topics he covers include:
- Making your product usable for a wider selection of your target market.
- Reaching more customers in your target market.
- Creating appeal for whole new market segments.
Each of these can have a profound impact on your overall sales numbers because they increase the audience being targeted.
But sales also go up when you cause consumers to purchase more frequently or make your products easier to consume. Take the Starbucks’ app, for instance. As a user of their app, you might get a push notification offering a free latte. So you go to Starbucks, show them the offer on your phone and get your free latte. But you’re probably not just buying a latte. You’re also ordering a breakfast sandwich and a bistro box for lunch. Maybe you bring a friend – or your whole family – along.
In effect, it’s just a coupon on your phone. But because it is on your phone, you’re far more likely to actually use it than you would be to use a paper coupon arriving in your mailbox.
And then there are ways to increase your marketing results – more views, clickthroughs, and conversions will ultimately lead to more sales. With the proper software, you can create powerful marketing funnels to improve each point of contact with your customers. And when those funnels are contained within your own mobile app, you have even more options and control.
Improve Your Products with Software
There are many creative – and lucrative – ways to improve your products and services with a software application. We’ve discussed how to make your product better, how to improve a product’s shelf life, and how to enhance a product’s value.
Each of these showcases several ways that software can make your products more appealing to customers. Without changing the base product or service at all, adding the right software can yield surprising dividends.
Home automation is one industry that’s being transformed by mobile applications. While the basic services remain the same, the ability to control them remotely from anywhere makes them much more valuable too many consumers. These apps have led to partnerships with home security services as well, and are paving the way for many more appliances to become involved. Now appliances that never saw a need for commercial software – like washers and dryers? – are seeing new opportunities to get involved and improve their products.
Achieve Better Customer Satisfaction with a Mobile App
A mobile app can be an easy conduit between your customers and customer service. Just open your mobile app, click a service button, and the app itself can create an online support request, or place a phone call, or even start a live chat session. Feeling ambitious? You can even attach data to the call to help customers use your app. Think of all the time and frustration you can alleviate when customers have a problem.
But customer satisfaction, of course, is about much more than that.
Consider how a mobile app could make using your product easier. Can you provide a built-in knowledge base, how-to articles, or even functionality to order refills and supplies? Any and all of these could improve your customer’s experience with the product. Or maybe your app could streamline processes and replace slower, manual work? That’s what CPMG’s conference attendee app did.
I Do Care About Software, But It’s Too Much Work
Some companies see the benefits of a good software app but think it’s too much work to get involved with. After all, if you have a good, profitable product or service already, do you really need software too?
Yes, you do need software. Markets are always shifting, and eventually your customers will demand it anyway. But here’s the most exciting thing of all: you can have your own commercial software app built and available for your customers in as little as four months!
Imagine that! If you called Ascendle today, in as little as four months you could be rolling out your first commercial software app. And whether your app is designed to increase sales, improve your products, or enhance customer satisfaction – or even all three – those are some awfully good reasons for even the most non-technical of companies to start caring about software.