Whether you run a mom-and-pop store or a sprawling retail enterprise, integrating mobile apps into your business’ marketing strategy is a smart move. Since most apps don’t do much beyond wrap a mobile browser in app form and take users to a mobile Website, designing an innovative app is an easy way to make your business stand out from the pack. Market penetration in the mobile sector for smartphones will reach more than 50 percent at the end of the year. That’s a lot of opportunities to get your apps onto devices and in front of your potential customers. While it’s a big market, it’s also full of businesses who have the same ideas you do. Instead of rushing an application to get it on the market, take a look at these three unconventional apps and how they paid off big time for the companies that developed them:
Originality in apps counts for a lot. You don’t have to have perfect execution for your app, as long as it’s attractive and useful to your demographic. Your app should be related to your core business. You might be tempted to make a mobile game to get a lot of eyes on your app for marketing purposes, but if it has no direct relation to the products or services you offer, much of your branding effort will be lost. Instead, take a look at the mobile app strategy Starbucks took.
The Starbucks app is a mobile-wallet solution that allows customers to pay for coffee through the app, which has prepaid funds. When you’re under-caffeinated and don’t want to worry about anything but getting your hands on coffee, this is a great app. Plenty of people agree, as more than 7 million people worldwide use it, reports Mobile World Live. The main factors for app success in this case involve Starbucks’ focus on making it simple to purchase their products, as well as making it easy to use the app for payment. If Starbucks didn’t have a widespread rollout of card readers in its stores, the app wouldn’t have gained the ground that it did. Don’t just stop the development process at the app itself — be aware of other tools it needs to succeed, such as in-store card readers, and make them highly accessible to users.
If your business focuses on a service instead of a product, take some direction from Nationwide. The Nationwide app allows users to create a profile so they can access their account information. If users get in a wreck or have another reason to make a claim, they can do it directly through the app. The app also stores your insurance information in case of card loss, but need to prove you have insurance on your vehicle. When designing your business app, think about the most pertinent customer needs you can fill beyond the desktop — what will your consumers be doing away from their computers, when all they have are their smartphones?
You wouldn’t initially think of WordPress as being a great example of a mobile marketing app, but WordPress continually builds its brand with an incredibly easy-to-use app that fosters loyalty for the WordPress brand with its exemplary usability. Their powerful smartphone tool makes it easy for business owners to adapt their Web sites to consumer demand, whether the site is powered through Sharepoint hosting or a Windows server. Not only does the free WordPress app allow users to make changes to content on sites, it also allows for commenting. Business owners can stay engaged with their customers, no matter where they are or what device they have. WordPress is smart to offer a free app for its nearly 60 million sites worldwide, since the app ensures users continue to develop their sites on the WordPress platform, no matter where they are. The app is successful in introducing new functions in the mobile platform. Take a cue from WordPress, and make your app elegant and simple to reach the widest audience possible.
What business’ mobile app has impressed you? Share your thoughts in the comments.