What is mobile apps ?
A mobile app allows you to access information and carry out financial transactions from your phone. It can be used to check your balance, make payments, order food, book a cab, find nearby places, play games, etc. Mobile apps are extremely useful and are being used by more and more people.
10 Mobile Apps Every Entrepreneur Needs to Have on Their Phone
What are Mobile Apps?
Nowadays mobile devices are longer restricted just for communications due to the various features and opportunities they offer via the various mobile apps. A mobile application, also known as a mobile app, can be defined as a software that has been developed specifically for use on smaller wireless mobile devices like a smartphone or a tablet. The primary goal of app development for a mobile device is to interact with your customer base but the purpose of interaction may differ. Nowadays there are various mobile apps available in the market that can be used for all walks of life like education, social media, shopping banking and eating.
Here are some types of mobile apps which have different purposes for interacting with the customers-
Task resolution apps- These mobile apps are built to help users complete a task or use services you offer. Most of the mobile apps have task resolution as a basic element.
Loyalty apps- Many brands, restaurants and stores run loyalty programs for customers and mobile applications can be a great way to boost loyalty by offering incentives to reward good customers'.
Entertaining apps- Many brands also offer some entertainment through their brand's mobile app such as Coca-Cola Freestyle. This is a good way to keep customers interacting with you without offering incentives.
Customer service apps- These types of mobile apps are a bridge between a brand or software and users. The customers can report their problems and get solutions, while the brands can use the opportunity to notify users of any updates or new services.
Content apps- Such mobile apps are used by well-known experts like Jamie's Recipes by chef Jamie Oliver and celebrities to share their content in the digital space.
What are the types of Mobile Apps?
The process of software development to run on mobile apps is known as mobile app development. We will now take a look at the three basic type of mobile application development-
1. Native apps- These are mobile apps which are created for a specific platform or operating system. Since the mobile application development is for a specific platform you cannot use them on another platform like using an iOS app on Android mobile device. Most native mobile software have the advantage of being faster, more efficient and having better performance. Most native apps use native mobile user interface and can access device features like Bluetooth, contacts, camera and more. But code created for one platform cannot be used for another and this can increase the cost of creating the app, maintaining it and updating it.
2. Web apps- A web app is a version of the websites that can work on a mobile device or operating system as they use a mobile device browser. Web apps are not standalone mobile apps as you have to download and install code on your device. Web applications can be described as responsive websites which adapt themselves to a mobile device user interface. The cost for application development of a web app is less as there is no need to customize it for mobile user interface and it won't take up a lot of memory as there is nothing to download from any App Store. But such mobile apps are completely dependent on the mobile browser and won't work offline.
3. Hybrid apps- Such mobile apps are a combination of native mobile and web apps but have its their icon and can be downloaded from an app store like google play store. They are able to load rapidly and are ideal for being used with slower internet connections. But they might lack in power and speed.
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Must-Have Features of Mobile Apps
Today there is a gamut of mobile apps from well designed mobile applications which make you want to use them to poorly designed ones which are frustrating. So, what will make a mobile app attractive to a user or customer. Here are a few must have features for mobile apps that can help them catch the customer's eye-
1. Simplicity- A mobile app should be easy to navigate as most people will lose interest if it is too difficult to access information easily. An uncluttered screen which has clear instructions will encourage customers to continue to use the mobile app.
2. Speed- Mobile apps which take a long time to load leads to customers getting frustrated and bored. This might lead them to seek a better app. Hence it is important that a mobile app is able to load fast.
3. Flexible- Any mobile app should be able to operate on the main operating systems iOS, Android, and Windows. It is better to test on all operating systems for different screen sizes and resolutions before uploading the mobile application on App Store.
4. Security- A mobile application must have strong security to protect itself against any attempts to place malware, intercept any personal information or steal bay data.
5. Search options- Most business or variety based mobile apps must have robust search options for the app or internet as many users use these features.
6. User feedback- It is important to know the user experience of using the mobile app hence any user feedback is a good way to make your app better and take into account users' expectations from the app.
7. Updates- It is necessary to keep updating your mobile application to keep it relevant for the customers. Updates ensure that you have a better product but can respond to any issues that they come up.
Mobile app updates: The factors that influence mobile app updates are
Any new technology that the mobile app can utilize
Any negative feedback from users that requires correction
What are the benefits of mobile apps for small business?
Mobile app development can offer any large or small business valuable opportunities to reach out to the customers and put you ahead of the competition. Mobile apps are a way for the business to provide customers easy access to company information and keep them connection and up-to-date.
Here are some benefits of mobile application development for a business-
1. Communication and engagement- A mobile app is a great way for a business and customers to communicate and engage with each other. A mobile app will provide a business a wealth of information about the customers such as shopping behaviour and buyer personas which can help a company build better marketing strategies. Customers also get a quicker channel of communication with a business to talk about their concerns and get a response and it is also easier to leave a review.
2. Better brand awareness- Any mobile app can be considered as an extension of the business and gives you better opportunities to build your brand awareness on a different digital platform in an innovative way. It can also help your business get more exposure and awareness. As mobile apps are a relatively new development, they also present a new opportunity to reach new audiences.
3. Marketing channel- A business can send information in a jiffy about exclusive deals and offers and new products on a mobile app via notifications to customers. A mobile app works as an excellent marketing channel and helps you get loyal customers who value using the mobile app.
4. Loyalty programs- A mobile application is a great way to introduce a loyalty program to encourage sales. A mobile app is helpful in building and creating a community of customers who can then be rewarded by the business for spending via loyalty programs, making it more likely that they will come back.
5. Being better than competitors- A mobile app is very relevant in today's technology and a business can stay ahead of their competitors by being the first mover or offering a better user experience.
What does Mobile App Development mean?
Mobile app development is the process of creating a software that will run on mobile devices and is built to take advantage of the features and hardware unique to those devices. Mobile application development is a constantly evolving process as there is a new version of the operating system every six months. The cost for mobile app development can start from $5,000 plus the cost of development and maintenance. If Android or iOS releases any operating system update then you have to modify your app or it will become incompatible.
Let us now look at the process of developing a mobile application-
1. Idea- Before trying to create a mobile app consider the following questions What is the purpose of the mobile app, what problems will it solve, who is the target of the mobile app, what features you want in the mobile app and how relevant they are to the target audience and the most important, are there any similar apps in the market and what does your mobile app offer that competitors don't.
2. Development- After considering the above questions, if your app idea is still relevant, then you write the code for the app, develop the code and carry out preliminary testing.
3. Testing- After you are done developing the app, you need to test the mobile app to check its quality, if there are any malfunctions and any improvements that can be made.
4. Launch- After removing the bugs from the mobile app, it is ready to go and you can put it up on app stores like Google play store and Apple app store.
5. Marketing- Once your mobile app is available on app stores, you need to create a marketing strategy to create awareness about your app and get people to download your mobile app and provide feedback.
Mobile app store optimization: The factors to keep in mind for Mobile app store optimization are-
Mobile app title and description
Mobile app icon
Screenshots to serve as previews to the mobile app
Mobile app rating
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5 Platforms for building Mobile Apps
Gone are the days when you needed to have coding knowledge or had to run around to get a code developer to build a mobile app for you. Nowadays there are many low code and no code applications and services that can help you build your own mobile app. We have listed five platforms that can help you build the mobile app that caters to your unique needs-
1. Appery.io- It is a cloud based low code application development platform that helps create hybrid apps, web apps and progressive web apps. The platform has a visual editor where you can drag and drop new user interface components into your app and it generates code for these components.
2. Mobile Roadie- The self service platform claims to be the world's first mobile app builder for iOS and Android' and helps businesses create native apps at low cost. It works with various media, including RSS feeds, Twitter and Google News and allows you to send out push notifications and pulls data from various sources.
3. GoodBarber- The platform is an intuitive mobile app builder that allows users who have no tech or coding skills access to app technology to create their own mobile apps. The mobile apps can be built for iOS or Android mobile device and can also be optimized for desktop and tablets.
4. Appy Pie- It is a cloud based DIY app building platform which allows you to create and publish a mobile app for any platform even if you have no programming skills. They help build light and fast native apps and have the capability to deliver content even when there is no internet connectivity.
5. AppMachine- The app building platform allows you to create your own custom mobile app by accessing its pre-coded building blocks and design features. It also offers mobile app testing, so you can see how your app will on mobile devices and note changes that need to be made.
10 Best Mobile Apps for You
After discussing the need for mobile apps and how they can benefit your business, let us now look at 10 mobile apps in the market-
1. Zip Schedules- It is a restaurant scheduling app that help business owners and staff implement efficient time management. The app includes communication tools, auto scheduling, labor cost tracking, and shift swapping and schedule adjustments tools. It also has tools app that allows employees to record their time and makes sure that the employee is compliant with labor laws.
2. 7shift- It is a cloud based scheduling and labor management mobile app that manage your labour costs and streamlines your workforce communications.
3. Avero- The mobile app gives restaurant owners insights into business operations and sales. It can be integrated in the restaurant POS and has tools for staff performance tracking, inventory management, revenue management and more.
4. BlueCart- It is a web and mobile app that allows you to streamline the ordering process. You can do shelf-to-sheet ordering and return damaged products.
5. Bonusly- It is a platform that helps to offer employees incentives to improve their performance. The app allows co-workers and managers to send points' that can be redeemed for prizes and gift cards.
6. Buffer- It is a mobile app that helps you manage the restaurant's social media accounts on one platform. It allows you to plan and schedule posts ahead of time and measure social media performance from your phone.
7. Chowly- The mobile app combines third-party online ordering platforms like GrubHub with the restaurant's point of sale system. The mobile app helps you reduce errors and the time spent on manually entering orders.
8. Feedly- The app allows you to access publications about restaurant news into one easy-to-access format in a single place.
9. Food cost calculator- Food Cost Calculator is a mobile app that helps you calculate your food cost percentage based on actual data by sharing popular items (and their price breakdown) on similar restaurants' menus then it allows you to calculate each item's food cost. It is available only on web.
10. Incentivio- It is a cloud based mobile app that helps restaurants acquire new customers, increase customer spend and engagement. It allows you to launch native apps and loyalty programs easily.
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