Blog no 1 of this series showed how research was the first step to determine the direction in which one should proceed with regards to getting the right app for their business. Step no 2 was to anticipate what users would want, and step no 3 to ensure versatility and ethos in design and application, and step no 4 was the choice of platform. Step no 5 was to know what features customers expected apart from the ones they anticipated, and step no 6 was to keep abreast with change by systematically polishing and rectifying it according to the need.
You might have come to the decision that having a mobile app for your business is of strategic importance to your sales and for the general reinforcement of your brand’s name. So now to the business of choosing the right kind of app that doesn’t end up being a disservice to you, in this 7-blog series we have listed some of the cardinal questions you need to be asking yourself in order to make well-informed choices.
The last step, Step n°7, brings us to the final stage in the decision, and what can be a deal maker or breaker. Are you getting your money’s worth? Is this app bringing in more business – either directly or tangentially – and overriding your app development or monthly subscription costs? An app gives you online visibility, ensures customer loyalty and proximity, establishes the brand name, yada yada. But the bottom line function of the app is to increase sales.
Firstly, how much money are you going to pay for an app, and how much money will the app be responsible for bringing in? Some app making companies might offer you the right package of features and design layouts but end up weighing down heavily on your otherwise predictable sales. You have to be cautious of the pricing plans, set-up fee and monthly subscriptions. Choosing a package with fanciful features that really are unnecessary is a bait not to get hooked on to.
Pricing will firstly depend on whether you are making a native or cross-platform app. Native apps are naturally a tad more expensive as the developers make two versions of the app – iOS and android. Some app makers charge an extra fee to set-up the app while some don’t. Some companies charge you a whack to build the app and hand it over to you once they finish, while others build it but offer it to you as a service. With the latter, technically speaking you don’t own your app. You pay a monthly subscription to the app making company to keep it live and functional. Ceasing payments ceases the life of the app. Most companies work on this model as it benefits both parties. It allows for businesses to demand changes, updates, modifications and so on without being vexed by having to do it themselves, and it ensures a continued revenue for the app makers.
Depending on your needs you can choose a package offered by the company. Now the monthly subscriptions will cover some standard features and themes. Additional charges carry for supplementary features, add-ons etc. You should have the choice to upgrade or downsize as you wish, paying for only what you choose that month. Make sure your app-maker charges you accordingly, and not equivalent to rate for setting-up an app from scratch.
Then comes the sales brought in by the app. An app can deliver direct sales through purchases made on mobile devices, or can be the catalyst in driving that sale through secondary or indirect functions. For e.g. a customer receives a notification about a flash sale and immediately goes to the store to shop.
If your app isn’t bringing in the numbers, something must be changed or the app is failing its entire purpose.
And with this vade mecum of sorts, we hope you are armed with the basics to make informed decisions about an app for your business. Welcome to the shiny new age of mobile commerce!