In the digital age, developing and maintaining mobile applications presents challenges for SMBs.
SMBs have many reasons to create a mobile platform. A regularly updated mobile app can help small business owners attract more customers, reach out to larger markets, and increase brand visibility. The challenges of developing an application within a small organization often boil down to a lack of dedicated programmers and IT support staff, combined with a lack of upfront cash.
However, the growing popularity of no-code and low-code development presents new opportunities. A 2021 Gartner report said low-code development is a growing trend, with the COVID-19 pandemic pushing even more toward non-IT app developers.
Yet coding is only the first step in creating an organization’s mobile presence. As a small business owner or IT administrator, you need to regularly update the app with new company and product data to keep customers engaged.
Regular app updates can help SMBs connect with customers. Push notifications after program updates can also help you maintain your digital presence and increase brand awareness.
Build the application for an SME
After deciding to create a mobile app, you can use an app builder that offers a simplified template for creation. You can also hire an external programmer or development team to create a dedicated program.
You need to know what you want the app to look like before selecting an app template or maker. Be sure to select an app maker or template that can support the features your business needs.
You should also consider the mobile platforms supported by a template builder. Some models only support Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android mobile operating system, while others support both. Unless you want to create an app that caters individually to iPhone or Android audiences, your app should support both types of mobile operating systems.
Additionally, SMBs should evaluate the template builder’s technical support. You need a template provider that responds to queries quickly and efficiently.
If you need a simple mobile app like a digital menu for a cafe that gets regular updates or a salon appointment book that smartphone users can easily edit, a cheap template generator or free should meet your needs.
In general, SMBs should keep the application and user interface simple. Once you deploy the app, you don’t need a lot of features to make it a success. In fact, customers generally prefer a simple and clean look for mobile apps. The platform simply needs to provide the information users need.
On the other hand, you should consider security if your application requires customers to enter passwords to access financial records or other secure information. In these cases, you need a programmer or a team of programmers to build the mobile platform and strengthen the cybersecurity of your SME. Maintain in-house technical staff, if possible. A third-party app builder or template provider that doesn’t regularly update its security protocols could expose you and your customers to data breaches.
If your SME plans to regularly change the template design, update the code, or transfer specific functionality from your mobile-friendly website, you should hire a programmer to develop the app. Third-party mobile app builders may lack fast, dynamic, and flexible service for building mobile apps.
Application support as SME
Unlike a mobile-friendly website, a dedicated app requires a customer to download it from an app store. So you can reward users who choose to download your app. You can offer points for purchases made on the mobile app, organize events on the app, or offer discounts on user birthdays. Simple actions can help create a dedicated customer base.
You should also check App Store user reviews on competitors’ mobile apps. Feedback from a competitor’s customers, whether good or bad, can provide important insights and flag potential pitfalls to avoid before deploying your application.
When your small business mobile app is live, you or your team should implement mechanisms for in-app customer service, including prepared customer support responses, in-app chat support, application or email address for customer inquiries.
Key points for small business owners
A decade ago, a small business owner may have dismissed the idea of creating a mobile app. The cost and time involved would have been too great.
Now, third-party mobile templates simplify app development. And with the ubiquity of mobile app stores, customers can easily search for any mobile app. Likewise, it is easier for an SME to know what its customers want. With a mobile app, an organization can reach and serve its customers more efficiently than ever. Knowing how to properly build a secure and effective mobile application allows even small organizations with limited resources to use this tool.