By Simon Anquetil
- October 10, 2015
What are the ways that you can harness the power of mobile apps?
If you decide to have an app built for your business, it’s important to be clear about your objectives from the start and strategise around them:
1. To disrupt a market (or prevent you from being disrupted).
According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disruptive_innovation
), disruptive innovations are those that “improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect, typically first by designing for a different set of consumers in the new market and later by lowering prices in the existing market.” Experience has shown that you want to be the one doing the disrupting (just ask Kodak or Encyclopaedia Britannica). The Economist (http://www.economist.com/node/21530920
) estimates that there will be 20 billion mobile connected devices by 2020, this provides app developers with direct access to most of your customers. You could consider mobile devices as viruses infecting your customers and apps are the payload. Uber (https://www.uber.com/
) is an example of an app which is disrupting the limousine/taxi business. It provides a better service (the app knows where you are and you can see where your vehicle is in real time) and creates customer stickiness. Uber knows who the customers are and manages payment (taking their percentage off the top), the Limousine Companies no longer own the relationship which is the beginning of the end. Could someone do this to your business?
2. Apps provide another channel into your business. Mobile is quickly becoming the preferred e-commerce channel. 7 out of 10 online consumers access multi-channel retailers through one or more digital channels. In addition, there is a growing trend towards self service. Most call centres are experiencing year on year 20-30% decreases in phone calls, as customers move their enquiries to other channels (e.g. web and mobile). People expect to be able to change their preferences or order a goods or service no matter where they are or what time it is. If you don’t provide this capability, your competitors will.
3. An app can help build brand strength.
Intuit have built an app called Mint (https://www.mint.com/what-is-mint/
) that aggregates your financial life in one place. The Banks need to be careful that they don’t become a commodity. Any time someone gets between you and your customer, you have lost control of the relationship and of the customer experience. This makes it very easy for you to be replaced by someone else. Conversely, Domino’s have built an app which gives you a pizza store in your pocket. It allows you to browse through all the products on their menu, customise your own pizza (1.8 billion pizza combinations!), design your order, choose pick up or delivery and best of all track exactly when your order is ready in store or when it’s going to arrive at your front door. This app creates customer loyalty.
4. To deliver additional revenue. If the preceding reasons haven’t convinced you then perhaps a business case will. How can a business be confident that the financial return justifies the initial investment and ongoing expenses? I’m afraid that only you can put together that business case but the 900,000 apps on iTunes and a similar number on Google Play suggest there is something there. Some factors to consider, when building your business case:
- Increased sales by having a one to one relationship with customers;
- Elimination of inbound calls through customer self service;
- Reduced handling time and mistakes through automated process; and
- Increased revenue through advertising
5. It allows you to compete with anyone anywhere. The last reason for you to build an app is that it provides you with a force multiplier. This is a concern for large established business and an opportunity for new start ups. In the new digital world, you don’t need expensive property in the main street of town to be successful. Anyone can develop a professional app which is a window to your services. Apps (and web sites) are the great equalisers. More and more goods and services are being procured and fulfilled electronically. Your business needs to embrace this trend.